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THAT REMINDS ME: From 'please' to 'we demand' on women's suffrage

Skating rinks and toboggan slides were ready and waiting at Riverside Park in Grand Forks 100 years ago. But there was no snow until a light amount fell just before the new year 1914.

Skating rinks and toboggan slides were ready and waiting at Riverside Park in Grand Forks 100 years ago. But there was no snow until a light amount fell just before the new year 1914.

Central Park also was set for skaters by Christmas time. The first real snow fell on the last day of the year.

The Herald 100 years ago reported that the opening day of the new Grand Forks Curling Club was understood to be in the new year. Directors chosen for the new club were Dr. G.M. Williamson, F.L. Goodman, F.D. Cameron, E.J. Lander and M. Pelletier of Winnipeg. Pelletier was also named manager of the new rink.

"The great game of curling has many followers in the city who have played the stones in Canada," the Herald said. "Hockey is the national sport of the Dominion and is still a new game locally."

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As the year 1913 was ending, a Norwegian author and lecturer, Waldemar Ager, was the speaker at the Knights of Pythias Hall. He came to Grand Forks from Eau Claire, Wis.

Other events as 1913 was ending included:

n Rev. H.B. Thorgrimson, pastor of the First Lutheran Church of Grand Forks, was the speaker for a meeting of the Icelandic Society at UND here.

n Associated Charities and the Salvation Army were in charge of filling 100 baskets to make sure there were sumptuous Christmas meals for everyone in Grand Forks.

n States Attorney O.B. Burtness of Grand Forks issued a warning letter to grocers and small stores on the outskirts of the city urging the Sunday closing law be enforced.

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Women's Suffrage -- the right of women to vote and to run for office -- was a big issue 100 years ago. At a meeting early in 1913, leaders of the movement said there would be no more "please."

Instead, it would be, "We demand."

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In his "History of North Dakota," the late Elwyn Robinson said full suffrage for women met stubborn resistance in this state.

The Women's Christian Temperance Union asked for laws restricting the sale of obscene literature, providing for separation of first offenders from recidivists in prisons, limiting child labor and giving women the right to vote.

In 1883, Dakota Territory had granted women the right to vote in school elections. In 1892, the Independent party put women's suffrage in its platform. And the men elected Laura Eisenhuth as the first woman to hold state office as superintendent of public instruction.

Full suffrage for women continually encountered resistance. In 1914, North Dakota voters defeated a women's suffrage law by a vote of 49,348 to 40,209. The following year, the Legislature killed an amendment to the North Dakota Constitution the topic. The amendment had passed the previous Legislature.

Those opposed to women's suffrage were said to be foreign born (especially Germans), liquor interests, the McKenzie machine and the railroads.

Success came after the Nonpartisan League put women's suffrage in its platform. In 1917, the Legislature gave women the right to vote in local and presidential elections. In 1919, the Legislature ratified the federal women's suffrage amendment.

And it was on Nov. 2, 1920, that women of North Dakota for the first time had the full right to vote.

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