The fight for women’s equality has roots all across America, but many of its most important moments have taken place in Washington, DC. In addition to local activists who fought not only for women’s suffrage but for suffrage for all DC residents, women came from all over the country to DC to campaign for their rights. National organizations such as the National American Woman Suffrage Association and the National Woman’s Party, and later organizations like the National Council for Negro Women, have worked out of DC while lobbying the federal government for their rights and gathering resources and supporters.
Many sites throughout the city attest to this long, rich history of activism. Landmarks such as the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument and the homes of suffragists Mary Church Terrell and Charlotte Forten Grimké offer a look into some of the key figures who promoted women’s suffrage and equal rights in DC. However, the suffragist sites listed in the DC Inventory of Historic Sites and the National Register are limited in number and do not tell the full story of how women’s suffrage advocates in Washington, DC came to win their fight for political representation.
There is no doubt that other historic sites throughout DC can help flesh out the complex story of the campaign for women’s equality— including the untold stories of many underrepresented female activists. The development of a context study will identify critical themes in the movement within the District of Columbia; organize a timeline of events; name critical players; and establish a preliminary list of places that define this time in history. Once the study is complete, a framework is set for nominating sites to the DC Inventory and National Register—a significant step towards honoring the contributions of generations of women throughout American history.
DCPL seeks proposals from qualified consultants interested in undertaking research to identify and document historic resources associated with the Women’s Suffrage Movement in Washington, DC. The selected Consultant will produce a context study to thematically address the Women’s Suffrage Movement in Washington, DC from 1848-1973 and present the study to the public and to the DC Historic Preservation Review Board.
Deadline for submission: January 31, 2021