From left: Janice Dilg, Adrienne Nelson, Kimberly Howard and Avel Gordly
The Century of Action committee and Friends of Lone Fir cemetery honored the brave Oregon suffrage workers who fought for the vote 100 years ago, in a colorful and moving ceremony, July 21. The event brought together about 200 people, to remember suffragists Hattie Redmond, Esther Pohl Lovejoy, Martha Cardwell Dalton and Harry Lane, who are all buried in Lone Fir Cemetery.
All four suffragists were portrayed in costume at the event. Rex Burkholder dressed as former Portland Mayor, Harry Lane. Melissa Sandoz played Martha Cardwell Dalton. Judy Litchfield portrayed Esther Pohl Lovejoy. Kimberly Howard took the role of Hattie Redmond,
Thanks to the Friends of Lone Fir Cemetery, Redmond and Cardwell Dalton, whose graves were almost overgrown, now have new headstones. Former Sen. Avel Gordly dedicated Redmond's headstone.
Century of Action is holding events and celebrations all year to mark the victory. Many young women today take the vote for granted, not realizing how hard our ancestors had to fight to obtain it.
Voting rights are still center stage, however, for many African Americans, The reason? Current laws, (such as those preventing felons from voting and voter ID laws) continue to prevent large numbers of people from voting, with poor people and minorities most affected.
Historian Kimberly Jensen argues that Oregon women won the vote in 1912 because they created a broad coalition of suffrage activists, across race and class divides.
"There were about seventy groups across the state and twenty-three in Portland alone, including neighborhood groups, the Men's Equal Suffrage League of Multnomah County, a Chinese American equal suffrage league, and a league representing African American suffragists, headed by Hattie Redmond and Katherine Gray," Jensen writes for Century of Action's website.
"The Portland Woman's Club Suffrage Campaign Committee, led by Sara Evans, Dr. Esther Pohl Lovejoy, Elizabeth Eggert, and Grace Watt Ross, helped coordinate work with national and regional leaders in NAWSA and a visit by Anna Howard Shaw. Lovejoy formed Everybody's Equal Suffrage League with a particular goal of including wage-earning women in the cause."
Hattie Redmond was the daughter of parents born into slavery. Research by genealogist Connie Lenzen has discovered her family lived in St. Louis before coming to Oregon. Her father Reuben Crawford was trained there as a ship caulker and worked in the Portland shipyards. The entire family was active in their church, Mt. Olivet, as well as in the social and political clubs of early 20th Century Portland.
Former Gov. Barbara Roberts spoke, quoting Pohl Lovejoy's speech to the Grange, an agricultural group of men and women, who became key supporters of women's suffrage. Pohl Lovejoy was a doctor, and a fierce advocate for votes for women. Her advocacy was fueled by the death of her son Freddie from "tainted milk." Like many other women of the time, she argued that if women had the vote, they would press for laws that would benefit women and children.
Judy Litchfield portrayed Esther Pohl Lovejoy