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More than 1,000 Students Visit ACC’s Women’s Suffrage Centennial Exhibit

Well behaved women seldom make history

Alamance Community College’s exhibit honoring the centennial of Women’s Suffrage brought more than 1,000 students and other visitors to campus on March 6. Students from ACC, the Alamance-Burlington Early College, and local schools learned about the fight for women’s voting rights during an informative, hands-on, and wide-ranging exhibit.

visiting students lined up at the literature station

The hundreds of student visitors ranged from elementary school to college. The public was invited to attend in the afternoon.

some north carolina artifacts from the suffrage eravisitors viewing the north carolina artifacts from the suffrage era

The “She Changed the World” exhibit, courtesy of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, featured a display of ten historic documents, photos, and paraphernalia relating to women’s suffrage. This included the original copy of the 19th Amendment sent to North Carolina for ratification in June 1919, which is usually housed in a vault to protect the 100-year-old document. That exhibit also included anti-suffrage and pro-suffrage propaganda, hand-held fans, facsimiles of legislation, political cartoons, and a suffragist’s sash. Representatives from the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources were on hand to explain the significance of the artifacts to students as they toured the exhibit.

The archival exhibit was only the first stop for visitors. Among the other sites and activities:

costumed participants holding a banner asking "mister president, how long must women wait for liberty?"

Women from North Carolina Historic Sites brought their skills as historic actor-interpreters to interact with students as they described women’s role in the Civil War, World War I and World War II.

visitors gathered around a costumed speaker

visiting students

Students learned about early 20th Century Political Campaigns through a series of hands-on activities, in which they had the opportunity to create buttons, sashes, rosettes, fans, and write postcards.

costumed wonder woman and captain marvel asking for your votecostumed suffragettes

Visitors of all ages were invited to vote for ACC Suffrage President in specially-made voting booths where they marked ballots for either Wonder Woman (portrayed by ACC alumna Sally Newcomb in a homemade costume) or Captain Marvel (portrayed by ACC student Cheyenne Collins). By day’s end, Wonder Woman had won the mock election.

clothing on display from the suffrage era

Vintage women’s clothing, telling the story of women’s fashion since 1920, were on view for all to see as they toured other exhibits.

volunteers greeting visiting students

Horticulture Technology and some of its female instructors engaged with students to tell about ACC’s Women in Science Programs and explain the variety of STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) careers.

visitors at the scott collection opening reception clothing on display in the scott collection exhibit

The College’s Scott Collection opened its latest exhibit to coincide with the Suffrage event, highlighting Jessie Rae Scott and Elizabeth Scott Carrington. On display there are the 1969 Inaugural gown worn by North Carolina First Lady Jessie Rae Scott at the inauguration of her husband, Governor Robert W. Scott. Artifacts and photos relating the impact of Elizabeth Scott Carrington, aunt of Gov. Scott, and for whom ACC’s main campus and Carrington Hall at UNC-Chapel Hill are named.

costumed choral singers holding suffrage era signs

The ACC Student Chorus, under the direction of Dr. Roger Lane, perform suffrage songs dressed in period costumes from the early 20th

The entire exhibit and host of activities was coordinated by ACC’s student History Club and its advisor, Sherri Singer, Department Head of Social/Behavioral Sciences.

“Not only did the more than one thousand students learn from and enjoy the event and the displays, the other visitors, faculty, and staff and our own students felt great pride in knowing the trials and tribulations women had to endure to gain the right to vote,” said Dr. Algie Gatewood, ACC President. “And that is a right that must always be respected and exercised.”