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Episode 1: New Mexico’s Road to the Vote

Illustration of torch-bearing woman labeled "VOTES FOR WOMEN" walks across the western U.S. into the east.

Illustration by Hy Mayer shows a torch-bearing female labeled "Votes for Women," symbolizing the awakening of the nation's women to the desire for suffrage, striding across the western states, where women already had the right to vote, toward the east where women are reaching out to her.

The American Southwest played a key role in the woman suffrage battle, as Western states led the charge to ratify the 19th Amendment. New Mexico’s fight to ensure women the right to vote, however, had a much different trajectory. After the Mexican-American War ended in 1848, the United States took over the territory once belonging to Mexico. Unlike other states that would be carved out of these lands, New Mexico had a lot of Spanish-speaking U.S. citizens, a legacy of conquest and colonization starting in the 1500s. That included women who were accustomed to more rights than women held in the United States. Host Megan Kamerick explores New Mexico’s unique history, and the key figures, many of them Hispanic women, who played an essential role in bringing the right to vote to the Land of Enchantment.

Guests

Cathleen Cahill, Associate Professor of History, Penn State

Dr. Sylvia Ramos Cruz, retired physician and women’s rights advocate

Robert Martinez, New Mexico State Historian

Virginia Scharff, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, University of New Mexico

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