1920 was the first election that my grandmothers, Fannie Mae Turner Graham and Pearl Doris Reed Cleage, were able to vote. It was also the first election in which my grandfather Mershell C. Graham was able to vote. Before that election he lived in Alabama, where black people did not have the vote until the 1960s.

My grandfather Albert B. Cleage had been living in the north since 1907, and so would have been able to vote in the 1908, 1912, 1916 and 1920 elections.

Family members who still lived in Tennessee and Alabama, men or women, still could not vote in the 1920 election.

With all the voting rights and demonstrations happening during the 1960s, I cannot believe I never talked to my grandparents about how they felt when they could finally vote.

An article from the Detroit Free Press about the women’s vote.

The 1920 election seemed to be about as confused and contentious as today’s election.

22 thoughts on “E – ELECTION 1920

  1. Yes, we never manage to ask our grandparents enough questions!

    It must have been a super heady moment in history, both on the personal front and the grand national.

  2. They opened up online newspaper archives for this week in Hungary, so I’m doing some research of my own! Exciting stuff. Good idea to look into elections…
    Also was Mignon her real name?

  3. This year we have a living example of how important federal elections are — literally a matter of life and death to vulnerable populations. The 1920s were an landmark in the fight for the right to vote — a struggle that, sadly, is still needed.
    (hit the post button too soon!)

  4. Oh my goodness, I want one of those posters “A Woman Living Here…” So cool! My kids are pretty excited to be able to vote for the first time this November, so I can only imagine how much more momentous it would be if you thought you’d never be able to vote.

  5. Sigh at the commonality of not finding out more from grandparents about their lives.
    Enjoyed the well put together video and realise how little the world of politics has changed. Or for that matter, the world at large.

  6. Have the electoral rolls survived, are you able to check if they enrolled to vote? One of my great grandmother’s first cousins was a passionate suffragette but my great grandmother Beatrix and her husband were fined for not being enrolled – enrolment became compulsory in Australia. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-03-01/compulsory-voting-federal-election-the-good-bits-of-politics/10825482
    My father used to say that compulsory voting was important, especially for minorities like Australian Aboriginal people, as anybody who prevented them for voting would be guilty of breaking the law and thus everybody in Australia gets the chance to vote which might not be the case if it was optional – our system has to make sure that everybody votes.

    1. I have not found any election rolls but I am fairly certain that all of my grandparents would have voted whenever they had the chance. We need a compulsory voting law here so powerful groups could not use various methods of preventing people from voting.

  7. I’ve researched the women’s vote for my challenge too, and I see the article you posted confermes what I’ve found.
    Really loved the video. It also confermed that there are lots of similarities betwene the 1920s and the 2020s. LOL.

    The Old Shelter – Living the Twenties

    1. I liked that video too. And I didn’t know most of the stuff in it before. There were more interesting news articles, but you can only put so much into one post!

  8. I cannot imagine what it must have been like to have no voice in an election. We complain all the time that votes don’t seem to count half the time, but at least we have a chance. Wonderful photos as ever.
    Tasha ?
    Virginia’s Parlour – The Manor (Adult concepts – nothing explicit in posts)
    Tasha’s Thinkings – Vampire Drabbles
    P.S. Apologies for being late to comment – it was utter madness running around yesterday checking everything for the podcast launch.

  9. It must have felt great to finally be able to vote. The right to vote is so easy to take for granted nowadays, but it’s just as important as ever.

    Someone needs to reprint that “a woman living here has registered to vote” poster!

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