In honor of the centennial of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, Dakota Wesleyan University will be hosting a virtual celebration on Tuesday, Sept. 22 from 11 a.m. to noon.
Ruth Page Jones will serve as the keynote speaker for the event, and deliver her speech, “A Century Celebration: Woman Suffrage in South Dakota 1868-1918,” celebrating the century birthday of women’s suffrage in South Dakota in 1918, and throughout the United States in 1920.
Jones will touch on key moments, individuals and issues that helped women achieve their equal voting rights in the United States, and more specifically, in South Dakota 100 years ago.
Jones wrote the chapter on school suffrage for the 2019 book “Equality at the Ballot Box: Votes for Women on the Northern Great Plains” that was published by the South Dakota Historical Society. She also participated in several conference panels in 2019 and 2020 throughout the United States on the topic of woman suffrage.
She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in German and political science from the University of South Dakota, as well as a Bachelor of Science degree in applied computer science from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. Jones went on to receive her Master of Arts degree in history from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, completing a thesis that studied rural women in South Dakota in the early settlement years. Following careers in computer technology, political advocacy and charitable nonprofit work, she is now pursuing her interest in discovering and documenting local histories of communities and women in South Dakota.
“One of the more striking things I’ve learned in helping orchestrate this event in conjunction with the McGovern Center [at DWU], is that the struggle for women’s suffrage lasted much longer than I thought,” said DWU religion professor, Joel Allen. “A whole generation of suffragists died before seeing this dream become a reality. Our enfranchisement, male or female, is enriched and endeared by their tenacity and perseverance.”
The event will be live streamed at www.dwu.edu/live.