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19th Amendment Centennial

In honor of the centennial of the 19th amendment we are pleased to offer several programs and resources designed to engage you and your students in important conversations about suffrage, women, and advocacy.


Rhode Island State Archives

Votes for Women

Free timeline poster

This free timeline highlights federal and state milestones including Elizabeth Buffum Chace’s 1867 petition for women’s suffrage to the Rhode Island General Assembly and Rhode Island’s ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment on January 6, 1920. It also highlights post-1920 suffrage victories that gave more Americans access to the ballot box.

Email [email protected] to request your timeline. Timelines are available on a first come-first-served basis.


Extraordinary Women

Poster contest for 4th and 5th graders

We invite all Rhode Island students to participate in a state-wide poster contest celebrating extraordinary women in Rhode Island’s 39 cities and towns. Students will select a woman from their community and demonstrate her leadership and community commitment in a three-panel display board. Winning entries will be displayed at the Rhode Island State House.

Teachers, if you plan to have your class participate in this contest, please email [email protected] and let us know.

Download a PDF with contest information.

+ Poster contest guidelines

Rules:
  • Any RI student in 4th-5th grade (or equivalent) may participate.
  • The “Extraordinary Women” may be from any era.
  • We encourage students to think beyond their immediate family to someone who has made a significant impact in their community.
  • Submission is a 36 x 48” tri-fold poster that explains why the student selected this woman. How has she contributed to the community? (Remind students that contributions don’t have to be material. The person could be a community organizer, advocate, or lead by example). The content may include images and text (300 word maximum).
  • Contest rules are subject to change at the sole discretion of the Department of State.
Selection process:
  • Teachers in participating classrooms will be asked to select up to three winners from each of their classrooms by April 15. 
    • Teachers should submit photographs of the top three posters to [email protected].
    • Use “Extraordinary Women Poster Contest” as the subject line of the email.
    • Use the following naming convention for the digital file: FirstNameLastNamePoster  (so Elizabeth Buffum Chace’s submission would be ElizabethChacePoster).
    • Please include teacher’s name, grade level, and school name in the body of the email.
  • Home-schooled students, or students not associated with a classroom, should photograph their work and submit their entries digitally to [email protected].
    • Use the following naming convention for your digital file: FirstNameLastNamePoster  (so Elizabeth Buffum Chace’s submission would be ElizabethChacePoster)
    • Use “Extraordinary Women Poster Contest” as the subject line.
    • Include your name and age in the body of the email.
+ Honoring winners

  • Winning submissions will be exhibited at the Rhode Island State House in May 2020. (Space constraints may result in only one poster per classroom being displayed.)
  • Winners will receive a citation from Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea.
  • Students and their teachers will be invited to a reception at the Rhode Island State House in May 2020.

Shall Not Be Denied

Essay contest for 7th and 8th graders

We invite all Rhode Island 7th and 8th grade students to participate in a state-wide essay contest inspired by the passage of the 19th amendment:

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.

Essays may address topics such as: why voting matters; present-day barriers to voting; reasons for low voter turnout; or advocacy more broadly. State-wide winner(s) will receive a cash prize and will be invited to read their essays aloud during an event at the Rhode Island State House.

Teachers, if you plan to have your class participate in this contest, please email [email protected] and let us know.

Download a PDF with contest information.

* This contest is sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Rhode Island.

+ Essay contest guidelines

Rules:
  • Any RI student in 7th-8th grade (or equivalent) may participate.
  • Submission is a 300-500 word essay.
  • Essays must be typed, double spaced, and in 12-point font.
  • Contest rules are subject to change at the sole discretion of the Department of State.
Selection process:
  • Teachers in participating classrooms will be asked to select three winners from each of their classrooms by April 15.
  • Teachers should submit the three top essays per class to [email protected].
    • Use “Shall Not Be Denied Essay Contest” as the subject line of the email.
    • Use the following naming convention for the digital file: FirstNameLastNameEssay (so Elizabeth Buffum Chace’s submission would be ElizabethChaceEssay)
    • Please include teacher’s name, grade level, and school name in the body of the email.
  • Home-schooled students, or students not associated with a classroom, will submit entries digitally to [email protected].
    • Use the following naming convention for your digital file: FirstNameLastNameEssay  (so Elizabeth Buffum Chace’s submission would be ElizabethChaceEssay)
    • Use “Shall Not Be Denied Essay Contest” as the subject line.
    • Include your name and age in the body of the email.
  • Winning essays will be reviewed by the 19th Amendment Centennial Committee. The Committee will select the state-wide finalists and a winner.
+ Honoring winners

    State-wide winners
    • One state-wide winner will receive a $100 prize, sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Rhode Island.
    • One second place winner will receive a $50 prize,  sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Rhode Island.
    • The top three state-wide finalists will be invited to the Rhode Island State House to read their essays aloud.
    • Teachers of state-wide winners will be invited to lunch with Secretary Gorbea.
    • The Department of State will work with state and local media to have winning essays printed and read on the air.
    Classroom winners
    • Authors of the top three essays in each classroom will receive a citation from Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea.

    Be A Voter

    Special thanks to the League of Women Voters for sponsoring this contest!


Be A Voter

Be a Voter Memes

Contest for older students

This competition is targeted to high school and college students, although all entries will be considered. The memes should focus on the power of voting and our civic obligation to vote, but more than anything, be relatable and funny. Memes should be non-partisan, and not issue based. Winning entries will be used, and their creators acknowledged, on the Department of State’s nationally recognized RIVotes Instagram and Twitter accounts throughout 2020.

Download a PDF with contest information.

+ Meme contest guidelines

Rules:
  • Your work must be original, although you may use existing meme templates and formats in your design.
  • You may submit as many entries as you like.
  • Memes must be non-partisan and not associated with any political issue other than getting out the vote.
  • Violence, profanity, sexually explicit content, libel and/or attacks on individuals or organizations may not be depicted in any form.
  • Memes should not invade privacy, reveal other people’s personal information or exhibit predatory behavior. 
  • Memes must not contain material that promotes discrimination based on race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, or age.
  • The Department of State reserves the right, at its sole discretion, at any time, to disqualify any entry it deems to be offensive, inappropriate, derogatory, and/or libelous or not in keeping with the competition theme, or that is otherwise not in compliance with the contest rules.
  • Memes may be submitted until Election Day, Tuesday, November 3, 2020.
  • Contest rules are subject to change at the sole discretion of the Department of State.
Submission and selection process:
  • Submit your entry by emailing [email protected].
  • Please use the following naming convention for your digital file: FirstNameLastNameMeme  (so Elizabeth Buffum Chace’s submission would be ElizabethChaceMeme)
  • Digital files should be in one of the following formats:  .jpg, .tiff, .png or .mov
  • Use “Be A Voter Meme Contest” as the subject line.
  • For your entry to be considered, include the following in your email:
    • Your name
    • If you are a student, your school and grade level
    • Your Instagram and Twitter handles
  • The Department of State Communications team will review all memes.
+ Honoring winners
  • Winning entries will be used, and their creators acknowledged, on the Department of State’s nationally recognized RIVotes Instagram and Twitter accounts throughout 2020.
  • Up to ten winning memes may be selected on the basis of their popularity on Twitter and Instagram and Department of State staff judgement.

Resources

Women and Suffrage in Rhode Island

Women and Suffrage in the United States