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26 1917 Minnie Fisher Cunningham Reports on State Suffrage Activities and War Work At the end of 1917, Minnie Fisher Cunningham, president of the Texas Equal Suffrage Association, prepared a report for the national association describing the activities of her fast-growing and effective organization. After the United States entered World War I, suffragists expanded their work to include active support of the war on the domestic front. Cunningham describes their food conservation programs, victory gardens, Liberty Bond sales, and anti-vice activities, as well as their efforts to influence their state legislators and congressional representatives. DOCUMENT* REPORT OF TEXAS EQUAL SUFFRAGE ASSOCIATION (SEPTEMBER 1, 1917, TO NOVEMBER 1, 1917.) Opening of downtown headquarters, following last year's Convention , having equipped us for greater service, our report will be better rendered under separate headings. LEGISLATIVE: Included writing and interviewing candidates before election, followed by congratulatory one to victors, with greetings at Christmas time. Headquarters established in Austin for attendance on Legislative session, (January and February) celebrated with a big Suffrage luncheon and evening mass meeting, presenting Miss Lutie E. Stearns of Milwaukee as the distinguished speaker; many legislators present and some converts to add to her laurels. Three bills introduced: In the House, for Submission of Constitutional Amendment , received seventy-six ayes and fifty-six nays on first ballot and died on the calendar because we would not let it be brought up again. Primary Bill in Senate came out of Committee adversely, with favorable minority. Unable to bring up again. Presidential Bill in House, out of Committee with favorable minority; managed to have printed, giving another chance, but investigation proceedings against our corrupt liquor governor forced abandonment. Several months of the *From: "Report of Texas Equal Suffrage Association (September 1,1917, to November 1, 1917)/' Minnie Fisher Cunningham Collection, Houston Metropolitan Research Center , Houston Public Library. 153 154 CITIZENS AT LAST summer consumed in vigorous work in Woman's Committee of Good Government Campaign, in which our legislative and political card index proved valuable aids in impeaching the corrupt Governor of Texas. WAR SERVICE: Emergency Committee formed following Mrs. Helen Moore's return from Emergency Committee meeting at Washington, in February, and activities vigorously pursued to date, including "Plant a Garden" movement. In Houston the local organization alone distributed gratis one hundred thousand cabbage plants and five thousand potato slips. Lots were listed and people solicited to plant them. Suffragists all over Texas registered for various forms of service. FOOD CONSERVATION: Pushed at first untiringly through headquarters . Now under guidance of Woman's State Advisory Committee, organized by State Food Administrator, through Emergency Organizer Miss Mary K. Gearing, Professor of Home Economics, University of Texas, our president being a mother. LIBERTY BONDS: Press Chairman, Mrs. E. B. Reppert, was appointed Chairman of the Eleventh Reserve District, accomplishing magnificent results, which called forth a tribute from Mr. J. W. Hoopes, Deputy Governor of Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, at a Banquet in Dallas, October twenty-sixth, planned as the annual Suffrage celebration during the Dallas Fair but converted into a patriotic Banquet, falling as it did on Liberty Bond Day. Met with pronounced success, with Liberty Bond speakers and many representing other branches of War Service. Services of our Field Secretary donated to speak and organize where emergency demanded; and State President spoke under federal direction for two weeks in last campaign. WHITE ZONE WORK: Started with preliminary stops on the Border through Mrs. Ella Pomeroy, Chairman of Twenty-third District, over a year ago. Stressed at Convention in May, when our president was chosen Chairman of a Committee to pursue this social service, and culminating in formation, June fifth, at San Antonio, of Texas Woman's Anti-Vice Committee, at a meeting of the heads of most of the women's organizations throughout the state, called by our Association . Our President elected Chairman of this Committee, vested with full power to act, and tendering our complete machinery for pursuance of the work. Mrs. Elizabeth M. Speer, who was made Chairman of the Educational Campaign immediately launched, rendered marked and creditable service, forming local committees in camp towns and others nearby and remote where participation in this forward movement was desired. This Committee has but recently disbanded , followed by formation of Texas Social Hygiene Association, DOCUMENTS 155 on October twenty-fourth, in connection with which our individual members intend to work in earnest cooperation. FEDERAL AMENDMENT: Covers entire fiscal year, beginning with letters to and interviews with candidates and those...


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