Members of dozens of women's organizations will march in a Suffrage Parade in downtown San Diego Thursday in honor of the 92nd anniversary of a woman's right to vote in the United States.
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Women secured the right to vote on Aug. 18, 1920, with the ratification of the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Today's parade, an annual event now in its sixth year, kicks off at 5 p.m. Participants, many dressed in period costume, are expected to gather at the statue of Kate Sessions near the Laurel Street Bridge and march to the Spreckels Organ Pavilion, where they will be saluted by the San Diego Women's Drum Circle and listen to a concert by the Dixie Express Jazz Band.
Women were allowed to vote in California nine years before they could go to the polls in national elections. That followed a vigorous campaign that began in the late 1800s, bringing Susan B. Anthony to San Diego.
The leader of the women's suffrage movement in San Diego was Dr. Charlotte Baker, the region's first female physician, according to Ashley Gardner of the Women's Museum of California, which is helping to coordinate the parade.
The highlight of her campaign was a three-day driving tour to outlying communities such as Oceanside, Fallbrook and Ramona by three suffragists led by Baker, over rough and dusty roads -- in a car driven by a girl who was about 16 years old, Gardner said.
She said they believed that rural men would approve of a woman's right to vote because they toiled in the fields together.
"Rural men really appreciated the idea of women as equal partners," Gardner said.
Outlying areas ended up providing the key votes that passed a measure to allow women to vote in California, according to the San Diego History Center.
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