Marker in Downtown Fargo celebrates 100 years of women’s right to vote

On August 18, 1920, the 19th amendment, which granted women the right to vote was passed.

FARGO, N.D. – Helen DeLendrecie was a well known suffragist in the Fargo-Moorhead area who fought for women’s right to vote during the early 1900s.

She and her husband O.J owned DeLendrecie’s Department Store on Main Avenue which is now an apartment building.

“She said, ‘We’re willing to offer you free office space to have the office of the North Dakota Women’s League here,” Associate Professor at NDSU Ann Braaten explained.

The organization operated on the third floor of the department store from 1912 to 1918.

“During that time period they organized over 200 suffrage clubs across the state of North Dakota that supported votes for women,” The North Dakota Coordinator of The National Votes for Women trail Susan Wefald said.

Having the right to vote and run for office would help them be policymakers and be involved in a way they could.

“Before they had the vote, they were classified with children and with the mentally disabled. You know, people that were incompetent in taking care of themselves. And so, they felt that they were as capable as men in making decisions,” Braaten said.

On August 18, 1920, the 19th amendment, which granted women the right to vote was passed.

As decades passed by, the historical footprint left by these women did as well.

“There’s very few historical monuments or markers dedicated to the work of women in North Dakota’s history,” Wefald said.

A century later, a marker program is trying to make women’s history visible.

A history that Helen DeLendrecie was part of.

“The Pomeroy Foundation is funding 250 markers across the United States that are significant to the gratification of the 19th amendment,” the Executive Director of the William G. Pomeroy Foundation Paula Miller said.

Five of those 250 markers are in North Dakota.

One of them stands outside the DeLendrecie’s building.

For the organization, the marker will remain a testament to those contributions for generations to come.

“We want people to walk by that marker and know that voting rights are still a very important issue,” Wefald said.

Categories: Community, Local News, North Dakota News