Secondary Source

Documentary: California Women Win the Vote!

California Women Win the Vote! Directors: Martha Wheelock, Marita Simpson. Performers: Melanie Jones, Maggie McCollester, Anne Perrah, et al. Ishtar Films, 2011.

Era: Post-Suffrage Era | Media: Documentary Film

This short documentary, narrated by Bonnie Franklin, tells the history of the suffragist political campaign that resulted in California becoming the first US state to grant women the right to vote, setting the stage for similar efforts across the country, and culminating in the 1920 ratification of the 19th Amendment, which granted voting rights to women nationwide.

The following description comes from IMDb:

Using both historical materials and live re-enactments, this film presents the dramatic suffrage campaign that won the Women of California the Right to Vote nine years before the Federal amendment. The Campaign becomes a role model and motivation for the rest of the country. Today the tactics and spirit of these women are a guide and inspiration for citizen activism in a democratic society. No Matter from what state you hail, this right to vote battle shows how to embrace diversities and interests for a common cause. This is history and personalities, art and argument, a foundation of civil rights here and throughout the world.

You can purchase various DVD versions of the documentary here, via the publisher, Ishtar Films. Ishtar Films also produced a “Study Guide” for those interested in using the film as a teaching resource.

For more on suffrage in the early years of the silver screen, see Kay Sloan’s documentary Suffragettes in the Silent Cinema.

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