Explore history and activism with the Library and Engage 2020

Enjoy access to important historical resources and artifacts through the Library's Engage 2020 program.

Be a part of the conversation. The year 2020 marks the centennial of the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment, which granted women the right to vote. In celebration of this historical achievement, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library partnered with the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) to launch the Engage 2020: Look Back, Move Forward program which focuses on civic engagement and more. Engage 2020 connects the community in a conversation about the history of voting in the United States, past and current civic and social trends, and spotlight the history of voting rights. The Library and DPLA built a collaborative digital collection to tell the stories of women, particularly Black women, engaged in the suffrage movement and encourage everyone to look back at what has been accomplished in the past and to move forward with empowerment to make a difference in one's own community. 

Learn more about Engage 2020 here

View the list below for historical resources and artifacts available for FREE with your Library card (or ONE Access ID number for CMS students and select schools):  

Engage in Your Community – This OverDrive booklist of e-books and e-audiobooks for all ages includes titles on women’s activism, civil rights and the Nineteenth Amendment.



Engage 2020 List of Lists – You’ll find lots of great information here staff to support the Engage 2020 program, including booklists, podcasts, videos and more on civic engagement, women's voting rights, and current social and civic trends.



HistoryMakers Digital Archive – Check out stories from the people who made history! HistoryMakers is an oral history collection highlighting the accomplishments of individual African Americans and African American-led groups and movements.  Hear from Katie Booth on her civic involvement in Chicago during the 1970s, or Reverend Dr. Jacquelyn Grant speaking about the division between black and white women in the abolitionist and women’s suffrage movements. 



Digital Public Library of America (DPLA)

Digital Public Library of America offers first-person audio and visual resources on women’s suffrage and women’s right to vote. This is an extensive collection with over 2,200 results returned on the women’s suffrage movement, including primary-source documents and fact sheets to images, news articles, sound recordings, program recordings from shows like North Carolina Now and moving images. There is even a collection of “Women’s Activities – Suffrage – Washington DC” images by the War Department that have been housed in the National Archives. 

Visit the DPLA website for a one-stop digital discovery experience with access to millions of materials from a large national network of partners.

Access the Digital Public Library of America


North American Women’s Letters and Diaries

This resource provides fascinating and insightful information on sources such as Susan B. Anthony’s letters, entries from Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s memoirs and other leading figures of the suffrage movement. Under the advanced search option, select terms “women’s rights” and “voting rights” in the topic/theme field. Searching “Women’s Suffrage” yields 65 results of original-source documents including:

  • The Life and Work of Susan B. Anthony: Including Public Addresses, Her Own Letters and Many from Her Contemporaries During Fifty Years, Vol. 1
  • Elizabeth Cady Stanton, As Revealed in her Letters, Diary, and Reminiscences, Vol. 1
  • The Grimke Sisters: Sarah and Angelina Grimke, The First American Women Advocates of Abolition and Woman’s Rights (Letters & Diaries)
  • Letters from Mary McLeod Bethune written by Mary McLeod Bethune, 1875-1955 (1902), in Mary McLeod Bethune: Building a Better World, Essays and Selected Documents, edited by Audrey Thomas McCluskey and Elaine M. Smith. (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1999).
  • Letters from Frances Ellen Watkins Harper written by Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, 1825-1911 (1859); edited by William Still, 1821-1902 in The Underground Railroad Records: Narrating the Hardships, Hairbreadth Escapes, and Death Struggles of Slaves in Their Efforts for Freedom, edited by William Still. (Philadelphia, PA: Porter & Coates, 1872).
  • Narrative of Sojourner Truth: A Bondswoman of Olden Time, With A History of Her Labors and Correspondence Drawn from Her Book of Life written by Sojourner Truth, 1797-1883; edited by Olive Gilbert (Battle Creek, MI: Privately Published, 1878),
  • James and Lucretia Mott: Life and Letters written by Lucretia Coffin Mott, 1793-1880; edited by Anna Davis Hallowell, 1831-1905 (Boston, MA: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1884)

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NCpedia is an online encyclopedia for exploring connections between specific topics and North Carolina. Search “women’s suffrage” and “women’s voting” to find various articles, books, photos and more about the women’s suffrage movement in NC. Also, from the main resource page under “Selected NC topics,” find a featured link to Women’s History which connects to various subtopics and links such as a timeline of major events.

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