Old State Capitol to be lit in purple, gold, and white this Saturday
BATON ROUGE - This Saturday evening, Louisiana's Old State Capitol building on North Boulevard will be lit in purple, gold, and white in celebration of the 100th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote.
Purple, gold, and white were the official colors of the suffrage movement when women demonstrated and lobbied for the right to vote.
Their efforts led to the ratification of the 19th amendment in 1920.
Purple symbolized loyalty, white stood for purity, and gold reflected purpose.
All three colors were used on pins, banners, and clothing. When members of the National Woman’s Party participated in parades, the women often wore sashes with these colors over white dresses.
A century later, women continue to wear the color white to pay tribute to the suffragists and the continued fight for women’s rights.
Louisiana’s Old State Capitol played a pivotal role in women’s suffrage.
It was in the old statehouse that Elizabeth Saxon became the first woman to address the Louisiana Legislature on women’s rights. Saxon and her colleague, Caroline Merrick, pointed out that women paid taxes but were denied the right of representation.
They lobbied for the new state constitution to include women’s suffrage but instead, the final draft only allowed women the right to vote in school elections.
In the early summer of 1920, the Capitol was the setting for several heated debates on the passing of state or federal suffrage.
On June 2, people packed the House of Representatives for a five hour-long hearing on ratifying the federal amendment.
Thirty-five states already ratified the 19th Amendment with one final vote needed for it to take effect nationwide. In the end, the House and the Senate could not agree so neither federal nor state suffrage was passed.
In August of 1920, Tennessee ratified the 19th Amendment and full women’s suffrage went into effect nationwide.
So, on Saturday, September 26, the colors associated with the suffrage movement will light the Old State Capitol building in a resplendent yet somber reminder of the hundreds of women who fought for the right to vote and saw the fruitage of their efforts in 1920.