Quilt display in Johnson County honoring 100 years of women’s right vote

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Celebrating the centennial: It’s been 100 years since women earned the right to vote in an election and they’re celebrating by voting.

Inside the Johnson County Arts and Heritage Center, on the way to the polls, there’s a quilt display honoring 100 years since women fought for the right to vote and won.

Museum Director Mary McMurray said each individual block in the exhibit tells the story of the Women’s Suffrage Movement. 

“For some of them you can pick up and see an American flag on the back,” McMurray said. “It gives us a sense of empowerment to continue our own march in our daily actions.”

They’re community-created quilts by the “Starlight Quilter’s Guild.” 

The squares are made with parts of a banner that was a replica of what Alice Paul, herself, made 100 years ago. 

Paul helped secure a woman’s right to vote through the 19th Amendment. 

“People dedicated their lives so much they were harmed to get the right to vote,” McMurray. “So watching a woman, as she just did, walk in right now to got vote, each one of us carry on that torch of the women who came before us.”

Dorothy Taylor, 72, said she’s proud to vote in a year that is also celebrating the 100th anniversary of women getting to vote. 

“I thank my ancestry sisters who fought to get us to where we are today,” Taylor said. “This is, I think, the most important election of the century and everybody should get out there and really for a handicapped person like myself they really make it easy for you inside. So that’s not something to be feared.”

This is only the 25th time women have been allowed to make their voices count in a U.S. presidential election.

“It’s always been my whole life, but when think of it in terms of history it really hasn’t been that long,” Beth Sanford said. “I think it benefits our culture and I’m very grateful for all the changes we’ve made as a country. We’ve come a long way.”

Sanford believes the women who fought for us in 1920, and years prior, would be proud of the progress women have made, but she said there’s still plenty of room to break the glass ceiling. 

“I think they would say, good job, right on, keep going. don’t give up and keep the fight going. Because there’s still a fight for women,” Taylor said.

There’s also a digital exhibit called Women and The Vote. It highlights women and their fight to vote nationally and locally on the Kansas level. 

The quilt display at the museum will be up through Jan. 23, 2021.

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