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8 1888 The WCTU Endorses Votes for Women In 1888 the Texas Woman's Christian Temperance Union, organized only half a dozen years earlier, became the first union in the South to endorse women's suffrage. The resolution, adopted at the state convention in Fort Worth, optimistically declared that "the ballot in the hands of women is the surest and shortest way to prohibition." A franchise department was added to the union's program of work, and Elizabeth Fry of San Antonio became the first chair. More than half of the women who signed the call that resulted in the founding of the Texas Equal Rights Association were WCTU members ; Fry, Sarah Trumbull, Sarah Acheson (state president 1888-1891), and Dr. Grace Danforth were among those who served prominently in both organizations . As late as 1893 the Texas WCTU was the only union in the South engaged in franchise work, and it kept the issue of votes for women before the public during the years when the state suffrage movement lapsed. State presidents Jenny Bland Beauchamp (1883-1888) and Helen M. Stoddard (1891-1907) contributed reports on the status of women in Texas to the History of Woman Suffrage, and Nannie Webb Curtis (1909-1920) lectured across the South on behalf of votes for women. DOCUMENT* WOMAN IS THINKING! AND CHURCH AND STATE WILL SOON HEAR SOMETHING DROP. Editor Sentinel: The State Equal Suffrage convention recently held in Ft. Worth placed the organization on a business footing, and we hope will result in bringing the question of woman's enfranchisement before the whole State during the ensuing year. As the National E.S.A. convenes in Atlanta, Ga., next February, between now and then we propose to have Susan B. Anthony and the Rev. Annie Shaw with us. Though less known in the South as an orator , Annie Shaw is fully equal to Susan B. in her ability to interest an audience. She is a single woman, much younger than Miss Anthony, and has her headquarters in the National Chautauqua building in *From: Grace Danforth, "Woman is Thinking/' People's Sentinel (Taylor), [1894] Texas Equal Rights Association Scrapbook, p. 25, Jane Y. McCallum Family Papers, Austin History Center, Austin Public Library. 79 80 CITIZENS AT LAST I The Texas Woman's Chrisitian Temperance Union was the first union in the South to endorse women's suffrage. Lufkin, Angelina County, WCTU members and supporters demonstrate "For a Dry Town" in 1915. (Courtesy Kurth Memorial Library, Lufkin.) DOCUMENTS 81 D.C. Her ready wit and pleasant repartee makes her a general favorite , while Susan B. is an orator of world-wide reputation. Immediately upon the heels of the Equal Suffrage meeting in Fort Worth, followed the State convention of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union in Taylor during the past week. This was the thirteenth annual meeting of this protest of woman against the poverty and misery she endures in consequence of the liquor traffic. Originated as an outcry against this one abuse, it has enlarged woman's vision, and she sees many things she little dreamed of when she organized for protest . The church feared this would be the outcome and has, with few exceptions, opposed the movement. The church has lent its aid to educating woman out of ecclesiastical domination by refusing the church edifices to woman speakers, forgetful of the fact her temples of worship are woman's handiwork very largely. Some times religious woman has been told she might "use the basement." Woman did not go into this work to learn, to her, the sad lesson that the church is no friend to her emancipation; but it is one of the most important results that so many have their eyes open to this fact. Some of the ministry have awakened to the fact that in such a conflict the church may get the worst of it, and are opening their doors even to the woman minister . I am proud to say we have a minister abreast of the times in Taylor, and that the doors of the Christian church—Christian in fact as in name—were thrown wide open both to the convention and on Sunday to Clara Hoffman, who gave a fine moral lecture at 11 a.m., which pleased the men, and an interpretation of woman's position in the scriptures, differing somewhat to that we are accustomed to receive at the hands of our male clergy, which pleased the women. The men care nothing for...


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