Celebrate The Vote (And St. Louis History)

by Debbie Monterrey dcmonterrey@cbs.com

A bit of St. Louis history promises to be a bright spot in a presidential campaign season that could use some levity. This Labor Day weekend, “Celebrate the Vote” will pay tribute to the women a century ago who forced the issue of women’s suffrage onto the party platform at the 1916 Democratic National Convention in St. Louis. By 1920, women would have the right to vote.

Photo courtesy of St. Louis Public Library

Photo courtesy of St. Louis Public Library

Imagine the sight on the opening day of the convention as men had to walk through “The Golden Lane” on their way from the hotels to the convention center. This “Walkless, Talkless Parade” consisted of more than 3,000 women lining both sides of the street for 12 blocks, all wearing white, holding yellow parasols and yellow sashes that read “Votes For Women.”

Saturday (September 3), the Celebrate the Vote Festival honors that piece of St. Louis history and celebrates the suffragists with a parade in which many women will be in period dress and many others sporting yellow sashes (available by registering or day of event).

You can be part of the recreation of that historic event as people line the street once again!

Most of the festivities (live music, food trucks, art, speakers, shopping) will take place on the steps of Central Library on Olive and in the park across the street.

Another interesting piece of St. Louis history: Edna Gellhorn. This St. Louisan was credited for the success of the Walkless, Talkless Parade. When the League of Women Voters was formed in 1920, Gellhorn was asked to be its first president. She declined, but served as its first national vice-president. She was the first president of the Missouri League of Women Voters and served three terms as president of the St. Louis League of Women Voters.

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