Century of Action Kicks Off in Style

What a Difference a Century Makes!

Over eighty people packed into Room 50 in our State Capital Building March 8 to kick off the countdown to the centennial of voting rights for Oregon women. Featured speaker former Gov. Barbara Roberts set the tone for the 2012 centennial by noting that previous generations of women endured discrimination and hardships—they “carried our water”—to lay the foundation for the rights women enjoy today. Roberts encouraged everyone there to make five commitments for the Century of Action centennial: learn about women’s history, share your knowledge with others (especially girls and women), acknowledge those who “carried our water,” encourage women to step forward and lead, and “take extra pride whenever you quote Oregon’s official state motto: “She flies with her own wings.”

Century of Action Project Director Janice Dilg launched the official centennial website, noting it addresses key goals of the centennial project: raising awareness of the history of woman suffrage in Oregon, educating Oregonians about that history by making historical documents available to all, and highlighting collections of women’s materials held at libraries and archives around the state and available for research.

Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown showcased the new Oregon Blue Book for 2011-2012. The color insert for this edition features Oregon woman suffrage history through photographs, memorabilia, and artifacts. The Blue Book is celebrating its own centennial, and in honor of its hundredth year, a reprint of the 1911 edition is also now for sale. An expanded Blue Book exhibit can be found online at http://bluebook.state.or.us.

Kimberly Jensen, professor of History and Gender Studies at Western Oregon University, and students from her Honors Seminar were a highlight of the evening. The students contributed significant content to the website with their Documents Project. Their work reading 1912 news articles; analyzing them for how the stories addressed some major themes, people, groups, and events in the movement for woman suffrage in Oregon; and writing essays about those themes to accompany groups of transcribed articles.

The evening closed on a high note, when the Coordinator of the Oregon Heritage Commission Kyle Jansson read the official Statewide Heritage Proclamation for the Oregon Woman Suffrage Centennial.

Take action for the centennial today, by following Governor Roberts’s suggestions, and make a difference in this century!

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