Taylor Corley, Campus Carrier arts & living editor
The League of Women Voters for Rome-Floyd county partnered with the Rome Area History Museum to host the Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum’s Traveling Wall exhibit in honor of the national league’s 100th year.
The national League of Women Voters was founded in 1920 in Chicago and has since grown, establishing chapters in all 50 states and in more than 700 communities. The league’s orientation consists of a national chapter, state chapter and local chapter.
The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan organization that “empowers voters” and “defends democracy,” according to their slogan. Members of the league, both nationally and locally, aim to educate the public on voting rights, the election process, other issues that each chapter adopts and they assist with voter registration.
Jackie Harrison was a member of the League of Women Voters in Blacksburg, Virginia, 25 years ago and has continued her advocacy work as a member of the Rome- Floyd County chapter for the past two years.
“What I like most about the league is that it really is a nonpartisan group,” Harrison said. “Many of us are very active in our political parties, but we’re very careful when we go out and register people to vote. We make it known that we don’t care what party anyone is from, we just want them to vote.”
The Rome-Floyd County league was resurrected in 2016 after the election of President Trump. It started out as a few women from different parties meeting in their homes to discuss the lack of voter participation in local and national elections.
“After the 2016 election, several ladies got together to resurrect the League of Women Voters in Rome-Floyd County,” president of the Rome-Floyd County League of Voters Dikie Hicks said. “The election was such a shocker and it really was a wake-up call for us.”
Hicks joined the local league in honor of her mother, who was also part of the League of Women Voters. She assumed the role of president in the fall and continues to encourage public education through events such as this exhibit.
“My mom was in the League of Women Voters back in the 70s, so I decided in her honor to go and see what it was about,” Hicks said. “I would like to see the league get more visibility through public education in the community, and I think events like this are really helpful. Our big thing is registering voters. The league focuses on voter education, voter registration and voter empowerment.”
The exhibit falls in line with the league’s mission to educate and inform. A timeline of women’s suffrage history, created by the Rome-Floyd County chapter, has been on display in the museum’s window since January and can now be seen inside the museum along with a wall of information and photos modeled after the Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum in Massachusetts.
“The League of Women Voters of Georgia wanted to encourage all of the local leagues to celebrate the 100th birthday of the 19th amendment and the centennial of the League of Women Voters in the United States,” Rebecca Moye, who helped start the Rome-FLoyd County League, said. “They coordinated for all the local leagues to have a replica of a wall from the Susan B. Anthony house, which came together nicely with our timeline and information about our local history to make a really nice display of suffrage history.”
The exhibit is on display from Feb. 17 to Feb. 28.
“Our hope is that everyone is interested in becoming an engaged voter and that’s what we want to promote,” Hicks said.