Marble House to Celebrate 90 Years of Women's Right to Vote
Alva Vanderbilt Belmont, a noted suffragist, called Marble House her "temple to the arts," and used the house as a setting for suffrage rallies in the early years of the 20th century. On Thursday, August 26, the house will be the backdrop for a celebration of the 90th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, granting women the right to vote.
The Preservation Society of Newport County will host the event in partnership with the League of Women Voters of Rhode Island, YWCA Northern Rhode Island, Women's Fund of Rhode Island, the Newport Restoration Foundation and the Newport Historical Society.
Taking place on the terrace of Marble House, where Alva once hosted rallies to raise funds for the suffrage movement, the celebration will include poetry, music, and readings from historical documents. Participants will include Rhode Island State Senator June Gibbs; the state's Poet Laureate, Lisa Starr; Amber Rose Johnson, the 2010 Poetry Out Loud National Champion from Classical High School in Providence; and Lt. Colonel Jayme M. Sutton, Naval War College Military Professor of National Strategy Decision Making.
The festivities will begin at 11 a.m. The event is free and open to the public.
"Alva Vanderbilt Belmont was a rebel right from childhood, and despite becoming one of the leaders of Newport and New York high society, she never lost her independent spirit," said Preservation Society CEO and Executive Director Trudy Coxe. "Alva used her position in society to raise money and lobby for the right of women to vote, so she would be very proud to see her beloved Marble House hosting this celebration today."
"Women got the vote through struggle, by organizing themselves, talking with politicians and marching in the streets. The League of Women Voters continues the struggle by telling all that voting is the mainstay of democracy," said Joanne DeVoe, President of the League of Women Voters of Rhode Island. "We also work out consensus positions on issues and then publicize and lobby for these positions. The League thanks the Preservation Society for opening the grounds of Marble House to remember the women who were part of the struggle. Could there be a better place in Rhode Island for this celebration?"
"The example that Alva Vanderbilt Belmont set for women of her day, and the women of ours, is unmatched," said Marcia Coné, Executive Director of the Women's Fund of Rhode Island. "The Women's Fund of Rhode Island is so pleased to be a part of this important event and to celebrate her legacy."