Recap: VoteTilla and Suffragist City Celebrates 100 Years of Women’s Voting in New York

Rochester, New York recently celebrated the centennial of women’s rights with a unique Suffragist City weekend. Also taking advantage of the bicentennial of the Erie Canal, a flotilla of boats traveled from Seneca Falls, NY to Rochester’s Corn Hill Landing. After arriving in Rochester, the procession marched down Main Street to the home of Susan B. Anthony herself.  Suffragist City was a celebration of women’s voices and winning the right to vote in New York State, and these events are as timely now as they were a century ago.  Continue reading for a recap of VoteTilla, Suffragist City, and how you can continue to be involved.

Erie Canal VoteTilla 2017

If you remember your history, the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, giving women the right to vote, was passed in 1920. However, here in New York, women gained their right to vote in 1917, three years before the ratification of the 19th Amendment. In large part due to the actions of Rochester Suffragist Susan B. Anthony. Oh, and Susan B. happened to be back in town for VoteTilla and all the festivities of Suffragist City weekend.

Erie Canal VoteTilla 2017

On Friday, July 21, the fleet of canal boats departed Pittsford, NY carrying its band of reenactors including: Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Clara Barton, and more.  They headed through Erie Canal locks 32 and 33 en route to the Genesee River.

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As the fleet neared their destination, airplanes flew overhead pulling banners proclaiming “Votes for Women!”

Erie Canal VoteTilla 2017

And before long, the first canal boats steamed under Rochester’s Ford St. Bridge completing their five day journey from Seneca Falls.

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The 19th Century dignitaries were greeted by the 21st Century residents of Rochester followed by a program of historic speeches from Suffragists of the era.

Erie Canal VoteTilla 2017

(Above: L-R) Re-enactors portrayed Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton

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Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren presented Deborah L. Hughes, President and CEO of the Susan B. Anthony Museum & House, with a special proclamation for the day.

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On Saturday, July 22, festivities continued with a Suffragist City Parade, where nearly 400 participants marched from Court Street to Madison Street and on past the Susan B. Anthony Museum and House.

Suffragist City Parade, RochesterSuffragist City Parade, RochesterSuffragist City Parade, RochesterSuffragist City Parade, RochesterSuffragist City Parade, Rochester

If you missed the events of VoteTilla and Suffragist City, don’t worry.  You still have another chance to be a part of the celebration.  “Because of Women Like Her… Winning the Vote in New York State” exhibit in Harold Hacker Hall of Rochester’s Central Library.  The exhibit contains historical artifacts from well-known leaders such as Susan B. Anthony and Federick Douglass, but also lesser known locals who worked tirelessly with less acclaim and attention to win the vote.  The ROC Suffrage Exhibit runs through October 14, 2017.

Susan B. Anthony Park, Rochester

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About Dave Parfitt

Married, father of two girls, and living in the heart of the Finger Lakes. I'm a runner with a PhD in neuroscience and a passion for travel.