Ohio Woman Suffrage Association
The Ohio Woman Suffrage Association was an early woman's suffragist group in Ohio.
After the end of the American Civil War, some people believed that women would be granted the right to vote when former slaves were given the franchise. When this did not occur, women across the United States began to organize and call for the right to vote. By the 1870s, there were thirty-one different women's suffrage organizations in Ohio, each focused on one community or one county. At this time, there was no effective statewide organization.
It was not until May 1885 that the Ohio Woman Suffrage Association (OWSA) was formed in Painesville. To avoid partisan politics, its members chose not to affiliate the organization with any of the national woman suffrage groups of this era. Instead, they focused primarily on a campaign to change local and state laws that prohibited women from voting. Unlike many organizations of women in the late nineteenth century, the OWSA did not discriminate and encouraged African-American women to participate in its efforts.
In the early twentieth century, the Ohio Woman Suffrage Association became even more vocal. The group organized a woman suffrage parade in Columbus on August 27, 1912. In that same year, the association also began to campaign for a state constitutional amendment granting women the right to vote. Despite a number of fundraising problems and other challenges the Ohio Woman Suffrage Association continued to hold meetings and parades until the beginning of World War I. Although they were unsuccessful in obtaining their goals prior to the war, women ultimately received the right to vote with the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1920. Ohio was the fifth state to ratify this amendment.
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