Timeline of women's suffrage in Virginia

This is a timeline of women's suffrage in Virginia. While there were some very early efforts to support women's suffrage in Virginia, most of the activism for the vote for women occurred early in the 20th century. The Equal Suffrage League of Virginia was formed in 1909 and the Virginia Branch of the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage (later the National Woman's Party) was formed in 1915. Over the next years, women held rallies, conventions and many propositions for women's suffrage were introduced in the Virginia General Assembly. Virginia didn't ratify the Nineteenth Amendment until 1952. Native American women could not have a full vote until 1924 and African American women were effectively disenfranchised until the Voting Rights Act passed in 1965.

Virginia Congressional Union booth at the Virginia State Fair in 1916

18th century



19th century




  • November: Bodeker attempts to vote in a municipal election in Virginia.[2]



  • The Virginia Suffrage Society is formed by Orra Gray Langhorne.[3]


20th century






Suffrage speech April 10, 1916 near Norfolk, Virginia





  • The third state suffrage convention is held in Lynchburg.[7]


  • March: The House of Delegates rejects amending the state constitution to allow woman suffrage.[12]
  • May 2: Suffrage demonstration is held on the steps of the Virginia State Capitol.[7]
  • October: A monthly newspaper, the Virginia Suffrage News, is created.[11][13]
  • The fourth state suffrage convention is held in Roanoke.[7]
  • Another suffrage amendment is brought up in the House of the General Assembly.[5]


  • From May till Thanksgiving, women held "street meetings" on women's suffrage in Lynchburg, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Richmond, and Warrenton.[7]
  • May 1: A May Day celebration is held at the Capitol building, with suffragists hosting booths, selling buttons, flags and copies of the Woman's Journal.[7]
  • June 10: The Virginia Branch of the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage is organized in Richmond with Sophie G. Meredith as chair.[9]
  • December: The fifth state suffrage convention is held in Richmond.[7] Around 200 delegates marched to the governor's office.[14]


  • February: The House of Delegates rejects amending the state constitution to allow woman suffrage.[15]
  • October: Aviator, Katharine Stinson, drops women's suffrage leaflets on behalf of the Virginia Congressional Union over the Virginia State Fair during the airshow.[16]
  • The sixth state suffrage convention was held in Norfolk.[17]
  • A third suffrage amendment is proposed in the House and the Senate of the General Assembly.[5]


  • January 29 - February 2: Suffrage school is conducted in Richmond in concert with NAWSA.[17]
  • November: The seventh state convention on women's suffrage is held in Richmond.[17]
  • November 15: The Night of Terror takes place in the Occoquan Workhouse.[18]
  • December: Virginia sends the largest suffrage delegation to the National Suffrage convention in Washington, D.C.[17]


Virginia Equal Suffrage League convention photo from November 1919
  • August 13: The General Assembly came together for a special session and suffragists used this time to learn politicians' positions on women's suffrage.[19]
  • November: State suffrage convention is held in Richmond.[20]



  • February 12: The Virginia General Assembly votes against ratifying the Nineteenth Amendment.[21]
  • August 26: The Nineteenth Amendment is declared ratified.[22]
  • September: The Equal Suffrage League of Virginia dissolves and becomes the League of Women Voters (LWV) of Virginia.[11][23]
  • September 2-October 2: between 75,000 and 100,000 white and African American women register to vote in Virginia[9]
  • November 10: LWV of Virginia holds their first meeting. [23]






See also


  1. Harper 1922, p. 665.
  2. McDaid, Jennifer Davis. "Woman Suffrage in Virginia". Encyclopedia Virginia. Retrieved 2020-10-09.
  3. "Women's Suffrage in Virginia". Virginia Places. Retrieved 2020-10-08.
  4. Anthony 1902, p. 964.
  5. Harper 1922, p. 669.
  6. Graham 1993, p. 233.
  7. Harper 1922, p. 666.
  8. Journal of the House of Delegates of Virginia. Richmond, Va.: Supt. of Public Printing. 1912. p. 364.
  9. Tarter, Brent, Marianne E. Julienne, and Barbara C. Batson (2020). The Campaign for Woman Suffrage in Virginia. Charleston, S.C.: The History Press. p. 52. ISBN 978-1-4671-4419-3.
  10. Deal, John (2020-06-17). "Woman Suffrage - The Vanguard of Socialism". The UncommonWealth. Retrieved 2020-10-09.
  11. "Women's Suffrage in Virginia". W&M Women's Law Society. Retrieved 2020-10-10.
  12. Journal of the House of Delegates of Virginia. Richmond, Va.: Supt. of Public Printing. 1914. p. 872.
  13. Johnson, Olin (2017-07-12). "Virginia Suffrage News". The UncommonWealth. Retrieved 2020-10-10.
  14. Harper 1922, p. 666-667.
  15. The Journal of the House of Delegates of Virginia. Richmond, Va.: Supt. of Public Printing. 1916. p. 601.
  16. Julienne, Mari (2020-06-10). "'Freedom, justice and true democracy': The Virginia Branch of the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage". The UncommonWealth. Retrieved 2020-10-09.
  17. Harper 1922, p. 667.
  18. Coker, Kathy (2020-04-23). "A Glimpse at Virginia's Organized Woman Suffrage Movement: Part II". Richmond Public Library. Retrieved 2020-10-10.
  19. Harper 1922, p. 670.
  20. Harper 1922, p. 668.
  21. "Virginia and the 19th Amendment". U.S. National Park Service. Retrieved 2020-10-10.
  22. "Women's Suffrage: Tennessee and the Passage of the 19th Amendment". Tennessee Secretary of State. Retrieved 2020-10-10.
  23. Heymann, Amelia; North, Emma (2020-08-26). "1920 to 2020: 100 years of women's suffrage in Virginia". 8News. Retrieved 2020-10-10.
  24. "Suffrage Centennial Celebration". City of Fairfax, VA. Retrieved 2020-10-10.
  25. "Documentary Commemorates the Women's Suffrage Centennial in Virginia". VPM.org. Retrieved 2020-10-10.