BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Maryland is marking the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment this August with a number of celebrations honoring those who helped push for women’s right to vote.

On August 26, the Maryland Women’s Commission is holding an online summit titled “From the Right to Vote to the Right to Lead.”

Nearly 1,000 people have registered for the free summit, which will begin at 9 a.m. and run through 12:30 p.m.

“This was the largest expansion of democracy in our nation’s history when finally the other half of the population was given the right to vote,” Judith Vaughan-Prather, the Executive Director for the Maryland Commission for Women, said.

After more than 70 years of struggle, the massive civil rights movement culminated with the signing of the 19th Amendment into law in August 1920. Retired Major General of the Maryland National Guard Linda Singh is the chair of the state’s commission to commemorate the anniversary.

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“I’ve learned more about the history of what went on 100 years ago that I didn’t know,” she said.

3rd February 1913: Suffragette marchers arriving in Washington DC from New York after a 250 mile march. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

It’s a history that, in Maryland, includes a largely segregated movement in which Black women formed their own suffrage groups. 

“Even though the 19th Amendment under the Constitution granted all women in our country the right to vote, in actuality, not all women had access to the ballot,” Vaughan-Prather said.

That fact and others will be topics of discussion at the summit. Vaughan-Prather said she talked to women across the state who are hungry for more female leaders.

“It is our time to shine and let the strength of women shine through and lead us through this pandemic,” she said.

Singh also wants people to remember the price paid by those who were arrested, jailed and beaten because they wanted the right to participate in the nation’s democracy.

“They put their lives on the line going to the polls,” she said.

She also stressed the importance of exercising that right.

“You need to exercise your right and your option to vote because that is part of your voice, and if you don’t vote, then you’re allowing your voice to not be heard,” she said.

To learn more about the event and to register, click here.

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