In 1917, women from around the country picketed outside the White House demanding a federal woman’s suffrage amendment. Among the picketers were thirteen alumni of Goucher College, a Baltimore women’s school. Goucher had the honor of having the largest delegation of any school at the picket. Over 100 years later, the college is honoring its suffrage ties with a new roadside marker.
The new marker indicates Goucher College’s inclusion on the National Votes for Women Trail, a project led by the National Collaborative for Women’s History Studies. The trail project identifies site related to suffrage history and makes information about these sites accessible on a mobile-friendly website. The ultimate goal of the project is to honor the many different participants in the suffrage movement.
Goucher’s significant place in suffrage history was not known until very recently. In 2016, Dr. Tina Sheller, an associate professor of visual and material culture, was approached by Thomas Dublin, a historian at Binghampton University. Dublin wanted to include information about Goucher students in a report on women’s social movements in the United States. This prompted Sheller and her students to dig into the institution’s history. They presented this information the following year at a ceremony marking the centennial of the White House picket. Sheller said that information about the college’s suffragettes was not well-known before; however, this information has important ramifications for the school today.
“One of the major themes of college life at Goucher is a commitment to social justice. This [marker] refocuses the spotlight on an earlier social justice movement, and connects Goucher’s past and present to the same type of commitment,” Sheller said.