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Johnstown to celebrate women’s rights

City a stop on new history trail

August 30, 2009
By ZACH SUBAR, The Leader-Herald

JOHNSTOWN - The city is gearing up for a celebration that will begin next spring to mark the 90th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote.

City resident Linda Hinkle, a graphic artist, has designed banners that will be displayed throughout the city's streets in 2010. They will first be hung in the spring, according to Mayor Sarah Slingerland.

The banners will say: "Celebrating Elizabeth Cady Stanton & the Right to Vote." The words "Women's Equality" run down the banner's right side.

Article Photos

(Photo courtesy of Debra Kolsrud)

Graphic artist Linda Hinkle, left, speaks Wednesday in Johnstown about the banner she designed for next year’s celebration of the 90th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. Johnstown Mayor Sarah Slingerland looks on at right.

Below the writing is a golden check mark inside a white box, intended to resemble a ballot. Purple, gold and white are the same colors used on the 1917 suffragist flag, and purple and gold are Johnstown's city and school colors.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton, one of the 19th century's foremost champions of women's rights, was born in Johnstown, and the Elizabeth Cady Stanton Hometown Association has spearheaded the effort to put the banners up.

"It happened right here," association Chairwoman Debra Kolsrud said of the suffrage movement. "This is the epicenter."

The group hosted a gathering Wednesday, which was Women's Equality Day, to commemorate the 89th anniversary of the 19th Amendment. Slingerland read a proclamation at the event next to a plaque commemorating Stanton encouraging city residents to celebrate the city's history with regards to the suffrage movement.

In March, President Obama signed into law a bill that in part created the National Park Service's "Votes for Women History Trail Route Project." The project establishes a commemorative trail that links important landmarks across New York state that are part of the history of women's suffrage. Johnstown is one of the stops on the trail, as is Seneca Falls, the site of the first Women's Rights Convention in 1848.

"That's a humongous deal for Johnstown and the whole area," Kolsrud said.

Kolsrud owns the house at 9 S. William St. where Stanton and famed suffragist Susan B. Anthony worked together to write the third volume of their "History of Women's Suffrage" in 1884. Kolsrud plans to nominate the house for inclusion on the history trail.

Beginning next year, the banners will be displayed annually from March, which is Women's Equality Month, through Women's Equality Day, which is Aug. 26.

The Elizabeth Cady Stanton Hometown Association is leading a sponsorship effort for the 27 banners that will appear along Main Street in the city. Individuals or groups can donate $75 per banner in one's memory or honor.

If interested in being a banner sponsor, write to ECSHA, PO Box 753, Johnstown, NY 12095 or call Kolsrud at 848-3552. Those who submit requests are asked not to send money in the mail. Sponsorship requests will be honored on a first come-first served basis.

Zach Subar can be reached at



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