Women’s suffrage documentary

news release

A new historical short film about the right of women to vote will premiere on Wednesday, August 18th at the Courthouse Executive Center on 14th Avenue in downtown Vero Beach. The event begins at 7:00 p.m.

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. On June 4, 1919, Congress passed the 19th Amendment and on August 18, 1920 the amendment was ratified granting women the right to vote. The Historical Society of Indian River County produced the short film in commemoration of the 100th anniversary. The film was originally scheduled to premiere in 2020 but postponed due to the pandemic.

Ruth Stanbridge (photo by Mark Holt)

Women interviewed in the short film include former County Commissioner Fran Adams, County Commissioner Susan Adams, Indian River County Tax Collector Carole Jean Jordan, Executive Director of the Gifford Community and Cultural Resources Center Jonnie Mae Perry, Ruth Stanbridge, Indian River County Supervisor of Election Leslie Swan, and Charlotte Feagin and Kylie Oakes who were first time voters in 2020.

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.

Indian River County Poet Laureate Sean Sexton will present his tribute to Alma Lee Loy at the event. Alma Lee had looked forward to being part of this video.

The suffrage video is one of over a dozen short films produced by the Historical Society and funded through Indian River County bed tax. Videographer is Nick Verola, Verola Media who is known internationally for his work.

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 owns, maintains and operates the historic railroad station in downtown Vero Beach and the Hallstrom House on Old Dixie Highway. Both properties are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and will re-open to the public after Labor Day. 

The public may purchase tickets at the Historical Society office (Old Railroad Station), 2336 14th Avenue on Friday afternoons leading up to the event. Or, at ABC Printing, 1547 20th Street, both in Vero Beach. There is a $10 suggested donation per ticket. Ticket sales are limited to 100 tickets. Tickets may also be reserved for pick up by calling 772-778-3435 or 772-562-3168, or email indianriverhisto@bellsouth.net

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