League members decorated the yard of member K Wentzien for the Webster Groves Reverse Parade to celebrate our centennial and help voters prepare for 2020 elections. On July 4, they checked voter registrations and offered spectators VOTE411.org bumper stickers, Medicaid Expansion palm cards and beads.
The League used the display to recognize the role of two Black suffragists: Ida B. Wells and Beatrice Grady. Wells was recently honored with a pusthumous Pulitzer prize "[f]or her outstanding and courageous reporting on the horrific and vicious violence against African Americans during the era of lynching." She famoulsy defied racists who tried to exclude her from suffragist parades. Many suffragists turned their back on African-American women who couldn’t vote until after the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Grady led a thriving Colored Division of the St. Louis League of Women Voters in the 1920s. Edna Gellhorn invited her to join the board “so we might learn together.” Grady worked with Carrie K. Bowles to encourage African Americans to register and vote. According to historian Anne Firor Scott, “The League of Women Voters of St. Louis distinguished itself as one of the most progressive League branches on racial concerns and interracial cooperation.”