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Raising Your Voice, Casting Your Vote: Music of Suffrage

Now through December 31, 2020

Online only

Commemorating the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment by examining how music has accompanied the fight for the right to vote before and within the last century and supports that call today.

In music, we strive for a perfect union of melody, harmony and rhythm. In democracy, it’s more complicated.

August 18, 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which declared that voting could not be denied or abridged on account of sex. A week later it officially became law.

While acknowledging this achievement, we reflect on the role of music to promote the call for suffrage, not just for women, but also for black, indigenous, people of color. Though the ratification of the 19th Amendment ended the decades-long struggle for women to secure the right to vote in the United States, the battle for voting rights for non-white citizens continued well into the 20th century, and issues of voter suppression plague our democratic system to this day.

During these struggles, music strengthened the voice of the people, helping relay the message of suffrage, sway perspective, and rally supporters.

In this display, we examine not only the music of suffrage and the activists who raised their voices, using music to persuade, but also how their words and actions inspire music from new generations, tell the story of suffrage, and encourage participation in democracy.

Each image below connects you with different resources available to UMKC students, faculty and staff. Click on the picture to learn more about the resources and follow the links. We’ll also highlight resources and events on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.


Women's Suffrage artwork Marching band in street Women seated and standing arounda a table Illustration of women playing horned instruments and holding banners Black and white portrait of a woman Black and white photo of woman with armour and American flag cape Votes for Women advertisement Virgil Thomson album artwork Women's Liberation Around the World ebook cover Helen Hopekirk album cover Sheet music Red Bird Sings album cover Portrait of Sojourner Truth Paul Robeson album cover Portrait of Fannie Lou Hamer Ballads of Black America album cover Lift Every Voice album cover Portrait of Frederick Douglass A women's bare back, draped in the American flag Dixie Chicks album cover Young Latina girl with glasses Women standing together on a stage Karren Allyson Sextet album cover People sitting and standing amongst masked actors and Lady Gaga 21st Century Voices Black and white portrait of Asian-American woman Hand holding peace sign Sheet music Seneca Falls and the Origins Momen singing together Album cover Feminist Phoenix album cover Woman posing with large banner The Ten-Minute Stretch Break Artwork that says Songs in Black and Lavender Artwork that says VOTE

Additional Resources

  • Check your registration status and make sure your voting information is up to date

Local Programming

National Exhibits

Display created by Tracy Bass, Bryanna Beasley, Libby Hanssen and designed by Sean McCue.

Posted: August 05, 2020