Pelosi Remarks on Centennial of House Passage of the 19th Amendment

John Boehner

Washington D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks at a reception in Statuary Hall to celebrate the 100th anniversary of House passage of the 19th Amendment, on May 21, 1919.  Below are the Speaker’s remarks:

Speaker Pelosi.  Good afternoon!  Yes, indeed, this afternoon is very much a cause for celebration and cheering for what happened 100 years ago today in the House of Representatives.  I want to thank the U.S. Army String Quartet for making it so pleasant for us.


I am honored to be here with Leader McCarthy and bipartisan Members of Congress, mostly our women Members of Congress.  We salute our Co-Chairs of our Bipartisan Caucus for Women’s Issues, Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence and Congresswoman Debbie Lesko.


And let us welcome Cokie Roberts, a trailblazing force for women in journalism and her daughter, Rebecca, an outstanding journalist in her own right, writing about women.


As many women Members know, the Lindy Boggs Room, the only room named after a woman in the Capitol, is named for Cokie’s lovely mother and Rebecca’s grandmother, Lindy Boggs.  Let us thank Lindy Boggs for her leadership.


Further acknowledgments – we thank the Bipartisan Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission for their leadership to educate the American public about the suffrage movement.  We are honored to have Kay Coles James, the Chair of the Committee, Senator Barbara Mikulski, the Vice Chair and Rebecca Kleefisch, the Executive Director, here with us today.  Let us acknowledge them.


And to each and every one of you, I could name you all for the contributions you make in expanding freedom and opportunity in our country, especially today as we acknowledge that for women.

How wonderful it is to see so many yellow roses, bright in this room – such a beautiful symbol of the courage of the men and women who fought for and won the right to vote.  We are all inspired by the purple ribbons that we see, a lovely tribute to the unsung women of color who led the march for suffrage for all women.

Emancipation Hall, as you may know, a few years ago, we installed a bronze bust for Sojourner Truth, commemorating her immeasurable contributions to the cause of equality and that of all women of color who fought for suffrage.  We are pleased to see Sojourner Truth take her rightful place in the Capitol along with Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott and Susan B. Anthony.

Here we are, 100 years since that eventful day since suffragettes succeeded in having that resolution pass the House of Represenatives.  And here we are, 100 years after that day with over 100 women serving in the Congress of the United States.


That’s pretty exciting!  Almost as rowdy as the suffragettes themselves.  We welcome all of the Members of Congress present and former and, especially, the women Members.

So, 100 years ago, that resolution, the House passage of the 19th Amendment passed the House.  Earlier today, we passed a resolution observing that historic vote.  In two weeks, the Senate will pass their resolution, 100 years since the passage in the Senate.  And then, states across the nation will join in celebrations for the ratification through next August – one hundred years since the 19th Amendment.  So, for about a year and a half, we will be hard at work celebrating the passage of the 19th Amendment.

When this Amendment first passed – the press wrote, ‘Women Given the Right to Vote.’  That couldn’t be further from the truth.  Women weren’t given anything.  Women earned, worked for, marched, fought, starved, were starved, sacrificed everything for expanding freedom in our country.

Since the birth of our democracy, women have not waited for change, but have worked for change.  Now, we stand on the shoulders of suffragettes, we call them suffragists now, as we fight to protect the sacred right to be heard at the ballot box for all Americans.

The promise of suffrage remains unfulfilled until every woman can exercise the right to vote – every American really.  Thank you all for your leadership.  To those who are helping us commemorate it, for a brighter, more equal America and thank you for the joy that your presence brings to this celebration today.

Just think back 100 years when that vote took place in this House of Representatives, I do believe that any one of us has served or is serving now are colleagues to those women – well, the men who made the vote there – for women to have the right to vote.  Think of the cheers that went up in the gallery.

Now, let us welcome the distinguished Leader of the Republicans in the House of Representatives, Congressman Kevin McCarthy of the great state of California.  Thank you all!


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