Women’s Suffrage Video Being Released

NEWS RELEASE

Zena Dreier, from the National Archives

The Indian River County Historical Society will debut their new short documentary about the right of women to vote on Thursday, March 26th at the historic Courthouse Executive Center in downtown Vero Beach. The event begins at 7:00 p.m., is free and open to the public. The event is one of many planned in the United States this year to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment granting women the right to vote

The Florida Commission on the Status of Women and the Florida Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission are partnering with the Historical Society for the event.

Beginning in the late 19th century, women worked for broad-based economic and political equality and social reforms, and they wanted the right to vote. Ruth Stanbridge, President of the Indian River County Historical Society and County Historian stated “The City of Fellsmere played an important role in women’s suffrage. Fellsmere was the first place in Florida, or anywhere south of the Mason–Dixon line, where women were allowed to vote.”  In a municipal election on June 19, 1915, resident Zena M. Dreier became the first woman to legally cast a ballot in the American South. “This was five years before the 19th Amendment established women’s suffrage nationally” said Stanbridge.

Local women interviewed for the video include former Indian River County Commissioner Fran Adams, Indian River County Commission Chairman Susan Adams, Indian River County Tax Collector Carole Jean Jordan, Executive Director of the Gifford Community and Cultural Resources Center Jonnie Mae Perry, county historian and Historical Society President Ruth Stanbridge, Indian River County Supervisor of Election Leslie Swan, and high school students and first-time voters Charlotte Feagin and Kylie Oakes

Sophia Eccleston, external affairs manager at Florida Power and Light Company, will represent the Florida Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission at the event. Eccleston was one of 11 women appointed to the commission by Gov. Ron DeSantis. She also serves on the Florida Commission on the Status of Women.

Cara Carlton Perry will represent the Florida Commission on the Status of Women at the event. Perry is the Assistant Vice President of Communication for Florida Atlantic University’s Northern Campuses, which include Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute in St. Lucie County and John D. MacArthur Campus at Jupiter.

No reservations are needed to attend the event. The Courthouse Executive Center is located at 2145 14th Avenue in Downtown Vero Beach.

For over thirty years, the Indian River County Historical Society has contributed to preserving the historical and environmental resources of Indian River County, the Indian River Lagoon area, and the State of Florida. The Historical Society office is located in the 1903 Vero Beach Railroad Station on 14th Avenue in historic downtown Vero Beach. In addition to the railroad station property, the organization owns, operates and maintains the 1918 Hallstrom House on Old Dixie Highway. Both of these properties are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and are open to the public.

For more information or to volunteer with the Historical Society, call 772-778-3435 or email indianriverhisto@bellsouth.net

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