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10 1893 The Texas Equal Rights Association A group of men and women under the leadership of Rebecca Henry Hayes of Galveston gathered at the Windsor Hotel in Dallas on May 10, 1893, to form the state's first organization for equal suffrage, the Texas Equal Rights Association (TERA). Mrs. Hayes, who had been a Texas resident for twenty years and who had worked as a girl in the suffrage cause under Susan 6. Anthony, was Texas vice-president for the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). She had been advised to organize a state society and to elect delegates to the NAWSA Convention which was to be held during the World's Fair in Chicago. Elizabeth Fry, Sarah Acheson, and Margaret Watson were chosen to attend the national convention. Watson, who was also TERA's recording secretary, reported that the Association was well received at the convention in Chicago : "When the minutes of the first organization were brought out for distribution , the house went wild with cheers for Texas." ("Development of Suffrage in Texas," Galveston Tribune, 14 June 1913) DOCUMENT* MINUTES OF THE FIRST SESSION OF THE TEXAS EQUAL RIGHTS ASSOCIATION. HELD IN THE PARLORS OF THE WINDSOR HOTEL, DALLAS, TEXAS, MAY 10, 1893. Pursuant to a call made by a circular letter, of which the following is a copy: "Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed." GALVESTON, TEXAS, APRIL 8,1893. Believing it is necessary for the advancement of the cause of Women to organize, that we may work in harmony, we the undersigned join Mrs. Rebecca Henry Hayes, Vice-President of the National American Suffrage Association, in a call for a convention of men and women interested in the enfranchisement of women, to meet in Dallas, May 10, to organize an Equal Suffrage Association for the State of Texas, and elect *From: "Minutes of the First Session of the Texas Equal Rights Association, 10 May 1893." Texas Equal Rights Association Scrapbook, Jane Y. McCallum Family Papers, Austin History Center, Austin Public Library. 87 88 CITIZENS AT LAST pSiliriiiii^^^""^ S^H^^^HI^, SflSMI^^^BftlMi^Wii^^Pi^ (Courtesy Jane Y. McCallum Family Papers, Austin History Center, Austin Public Library.) DOCUMENTS 89 delegates to the World's Fair Convention of the National American Suffrage Association. MRS. REBECCA HENRY HAYES, Galveston, Vice-President for Texas of the National American Suffrage Association. MRS. ELIZABETH A. FRY, San Antonio, Superintendent of Suffrage Department for Texas of the W.C.T.U., also member N.A.S.A. GRACE DANFORTH, M.D., Granger. MRS. AMELIA MOHL, Editorial Staff Houston Post, Houston. MRS. SARAH C ACHESON, Denison, General Vice-President State W.C.T.U. MRS. ELIZABETH STRONG TRACY, Houston, Late State Reporter Union Signal, Chicago. MRS. W. S. HERNDON, Tyler, Northeastern Division President, W.C.T.U. MRS. MARGARET L. WATSON, Beaumont, Correspondent New Orleans Delta. MRS. BETTIE GAY, Columbus, Of Texas Alliance. MRS. MARY E. PENDERGAST, President Mexia W.C.T.U. ELLEN LAWSON DABBS, M.D., Fort Worth. All callers welcomed by Mrs. Hayes and Committee at the Windsor, Tuesday morning, May 9, from 9 o'clock to 1 o'clock. Promptly at 10 a.m. the meeting was called to order by Mrs. Rebecca Henry Hayes, of Galveston, members and sympathizers being present from all parts of Texas and one from the state of Louisiana. The old inspiring song "America" was sung by both soprano and bass. Mrs. Elizabeth Fry, of San Antonio, raised her clear and beautiful voice in prayer for the enfranchisement of women. Mrs. Rebecca Henry Hayes, as chairman, called Dr. Ellen Lawson Dabbs, of Fort Worth, to act as secretary pro tern. Then, in a strong speech, she stated the object of the meeting as follows: "During the past year I have accomplished a vast correspondence, addressing, and receiving replies from prominent men and women in every section of the state, including those actively engaged in political and public life. I have met with the warmest sympathy for my views and was myself surprised at the rapid growth of equal suffrage sentiment among conservative people. Only one woman among those I addressed was antagonistic to political equality, while the opinion of the gentlemen 90 CITIZENS AT LAST were unanimous in its favor. Many political men had pledged their efforts and vote toward furthering a suffrage bill in the Texas legislature , should it be properly presented and pushed. I do not believe in conventions or associations with closed doors and caucuses; gentlemen are made...


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