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Washington Memorial Chapel In Valley Forge To Participate in Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commemoration In 2020

The Washington Memorial Heritage, a non-profit secular arm of Washington Memorial Chapel in Valley Forge, has revealed plans for what is slated to be a historic Women’s Suffrage Centennial commemoration. Centered around the Chapel’s Justice Bell, which signifies the passing of the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote, the unprecedented commemoration is slated to kick off in August 2020 and will include a public champagne reception and sendoff of the bell from Washington Memorial Chapel in Valley Forge to Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia where a large scale event will occur in conjunction with Women 100: A Celebration of American Women presented by Drexel University’s Vision 2020.

According to Maria Bomersbach, President of Washington Memorial Heritage Board of Directors and Chair, Justice Bell 2020, the Justice Bell, also known as the Women’s Liberty Bell, is prominently displayed in the atrium of the National Patriots Bell Tower of the Chapel and was the brainchild and gift of Katharine Wentworth Ruschenberger of Strafford, Chester County, PA. In 1915 she commissioned the casting of a duplicate of the Liberty Bell, adding the inscription “Establish Justice” to call attention to the fight for women’s suffrage. Planning for the 2020 commemoration is in the initial stages and additional events and sponsors will be communicated as plans are finalized.

The Justice Bell has been located at the Chapel since the 1920s. The National Patriots Bell Tower and Carillon were finished in 1953 and built with the financial support of members of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).

“Women and men of all races and religions enabled the passage of the 19th Amendment so it is suitable that the Justice Bell’s inscription 'Establish Justice', which was used as a key message, remains as important today as it was when great Aunt Katharine communicated it,” said Alexandra Tatnall, Katharine Wentworth Ruschenberger’s great niece and Honorary Chair of the event.

Justice Bell 2020 is partnering with such esteemed organizations as Drexel University’s Vision 2020, Pennsylvania Society Daughters of American Revolution, Valley Forge Park Alliance, Chester County League of Women Voters, Independence National Historical Park, Chester County Historical Society, Cedar Crest College History Department, Breakthrough Philadelphia, Delta Sigma Theta and many other local and national organizations and individuals to ensure that their mission of education, historical preservation and unity is achieved on every level of the commemoration.

“Katharine Wentworth Ruschenberger developed an innovative plan to focus attention on the quest for passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution that would provide women with Justice. The bell that she commissioned, its travels, the chaining of its clapper and its celebratory ringing when the Amendment finally passed has created a history that will be commemorated during the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment. We are proud and honored to be a sponsor of this journey,” said Cynthia Sweeney, State Regent PSSDAR.

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About The Justice Bell
The Justice Bell began touring Pennsylvania in June 1915, covering more than 5,000 miles by November 2 of that year. While touring, the clapper was chained to the side of the Bell symbolizing the fact that women had no voice in choosing their government; it would not ring until 1920 when women won the right to vote. The tour was timed to support the passage of Amendment #1 to the then-current Pennsylvania State Constitution.

When Amendment #1 did not pass, and it became evident to suffragists that state legislatures were not going to pass voting rights, the Justice Bell was used to support the movement for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It traveled to Chicago and Washington, DC, as well as other localities. The 19th Amendment was proposed on June 5, 1919. Ratification took place on August 18 and was certified on Women’s Equality Day, August 26, 1920. On September 25, 1920, the clapper of the Bell was unchained at a celebration held in Independence Square in Philadelphia. A figure dressed as Lady Justice approached and rang the Bell to celebrate the passage of the amendment and Justice for women through the right to vote.

The Justice Bell makes it’s home at Washington Memorial Chapel Rt. 23, Valley Forge National Park, Valley Forge, PA. Rev. Mark Nestlehutt, Rector.

About Vision 2020

Vision 2020 is a national, non-partisan women’s equality coalition headquartered at Drexel University’s Institute for Women’s Health and Leadership. The coalition is comprised of individuals and organizations in all 50 states working together for women’s economic, political and social equality in the United States.

Vision 2020’s Women 100 is a celebration of American women during the year 2020, when we mark the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution: women’s right to vote. Throughout 2020, Philadelphia, the birthplace of American democracy, will be to home to programs and events while members of the Vision 2020 national coalition will host sister programs across the country in support of the centennial commemoration.

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Source: PRWeb
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