For more than 50 years Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony worked together, fighting for women’s rights.
Though Stanton died in 1902 and Anthony in 1906, their speeches and writings helped lay the groundwork for the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920. The amendment guarantees that the right of citizens to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.
Stanton and Anthony’s famous friendship was reenacted Wednesday by friends Ellie Hunt and Judith Kraines at the Berks History Center’s curbside celebration of the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage.
“It was only 40 some years later when I was allowed to vote for the first time,” Kraines, 75, said. “I got into this because I didn’t think our daughters appreciated what it took for women to get the vote.”
As members of the Berks Women's History Alliance, Kraines said, she and Hunt, 78, both of Spring Township, help to educate others of the struggle for women’s rights.
The alliance had been awarded a $25,000 grant to underwrite a series of events and lectures culminating with a celebration dinner that was supposed to take place Aug. 26.
When the coronavirus pandemic threw a wrench in those plans, the alliance partnered with the history center to present a safer drive-thru celebration.
The event was held on the parking lot of the center’s Janssen Library, 160 Spring St., Reading.
A steady stream of vehicles drove through the parking lot from 5 to 7 p.m., stopping briefly so their occupants could briefly chat to costumed reenactors and volunteers from a safe distance.
All went home with a free commemorative tote bag — one per family — stuffed with information and items celebrating the historic milestone.
The contents included a women’s history coloring book, the book "The Ladies of Readingtown" by Barbara Goda, and a video showcasing local suffragist reenactors.
“Thank you for doing this,” Rachael Romig called to the volunteers from her open car window.
Romig, 34, of Wyomissing is the director of Women2Women, a women’s empowerment program of the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance.
“I am just happy this could happen,” she said.