Today the Botanist proposed we visit the Michigan Women’s Historical Center and Hall of Fame, in Lansing, as a way to honor Mom and the equal-rights and conscientious-voter values she embraced. Specifically, he proposed we look at this display, which shows Michigan’s governor, Albert E. Sleeper, signing women’s suffrage into law in May 1917.
Behind the Governor, officiously seated at his high-top desk, among the assembled witnesses, is Mom’s grandmother, her mother’s mother, Belle Brotherton. (We differ on which one we think she is; I’m guessing she’s facing the camera behind the slope of the desk-side, with a good view of the Governor’s hand and pen.) Belle, along with many others, worked hard for this change, and, in 1919, she became the first President of the Michigan League of Women Voters. Several suffrage organizations joined together after the law was enacted and formed the League, so Belle must have been respected by her peers to become the Michigan League’s first President from, no doubt, many capable contenders.
After Mom had been a member of the Michigan League for fifty years, they conferred upon her a lifetime membership, in honor of her long participation. When I was in HS, she spent many elections at our township hall as a poll-watcher. She also was active with voter-information outreach efforts, although I don’t know exactly what that involved.