With the national eye on Texas during the suffrage movement, Texas and the Houston area were fortunate to have prominent Suffragists such as Minnie Fisher Cunningham and Mary Ellen Ewing to lobby local, statewide, and national efforts toward the ratification of the 19th Amendment. Through their efforts, Texas became the first southern state to ratify the amendment in June of 1919.
Minnie Fisher Cunningham
Minnie Fisher Cunningham (1882-1964) was a leading suffragist in Texas, elected president of the Galveston Equal Suffrage Association in 1910, and traveled throughout the State of Texas to campaign for the cause. She subsequently served as president of the Texas Woman Suffrage Association, opened state suffrage headquarters near the Capitol in Austin, and successfully campaigned for the 1918 legislative approval of woman suffrage in state primary elections. In 1919, the president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, Carrie Chapman Catt, persuaded her to lobby the United States Congress for the passage and ratification of the 19th Amendment.
Mary Ellen Ewing
Mary Ellen Ewing (1862-1919) was an activist and suffragist in Houston. Her life was characterized by public and philanthropic service. She served as the Chairman of the Legislative Committee of the Harris County Equal Suffrage Association and Honorary President of the Child Welfare League. In addition, she was the first Vice President of the State Congress of Mothers and the State Humane Society. She was also known for her advocacy work and feminist activism as she fought for public school reform and advocated for women to be on the Houston school board. Photograph circa 1913.