Pelosi celebrates new National Archives exhibit on women's vote
© Getty | National Archives Foundation

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiRepublicans will pay on Election Day for politicizing Trump's impeachment Trump chooses high-profile but controversial legal team Trump: Impeachment timing intended to hurt Sanders MORE (D-Calif.), on Wednesday night, celebrated the opening of a new exhibit at the National Archives on the movement to win women the right to vote.

“This is emotional for all of us to see," Pelosi, the first woman to serve as Speaker, said at the event hosted by the National Archives Foundation. "The sacrifice these women made, the vision they had, they knew what they wanted to accomplish and they attracted other people to get what they wanted done.

"It is patriotic," Pelosi said of the exhibit. “It’s about America becoming more American.”

Pelosi was joined by fellow female lawmakers and supporters of the National Archives Foundation at the event.


The exhibit, “Rightfully Hers: American Women and the Vote” opens to the public Friday and is intended to honor next year's 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which prohibited states from denying women to right to vote.

The exhibit features a host of historical documents, including legislative records from the debate over the 19th Amendment and letters between suffragist leaders as they worked to ensure its passage.

One of the most memorable parts of the exhibit is a multimedia display that shows the percentage of women in Congress, starting at zero before reaching its current high of 25 percent.

National Archives Foundation Vice Chairwoman Cokie Roberts, a former journalist and the daughter of two former lawmakers, said that the exhibit highlighted how much progress had been made, even while 25 percent may seem low to some.

“I understand the discouragement, but we’re getting there,” Roberts told The Hill. Her mother, the late Lindy Boggs, was a representative from Louisiana.

Roberts said her favorite part of the exhibit was the makeshift voting booths by the exit, where visitors could register to vote.

At an event with the press on Tuesday, David S. Ferriero, the archivist of the United States, said the exhibit "tells the story of women’s struggle to vote as a critical step for the women’s suffrage movement."

"But it also reminds modern day citizens of their responsibilities and encourages all to be election ready and exercise their right to vote,” he added.

Corinne Porter, the exhibit's curator, said she took care to make sure it recognized minority women who were part of the movement, such as Latina activist Adelina Otero-Warren.

At the event, Pelosi also touched on her own legacy, sharing her thoughts when she first visited the White House as the leader of the House Democrats. Sitting at a table for talks, Pelosi said she "realized that on that chair was Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, Alice Paul, Sojourner Truth."

"They were all there right on that chair and I could hear them say, ‘at least we have a seat at the table,’ ” she said to applause.

The exhibit is in the Lawrence F. O’Brien Gallery of the National Archives Building.

This story was updated at 1:41 p.m.