Nevertheless, They Persisted Curriculum

Welcome to the Oregon Historical Society curriculum to accompany the 2020–2021 exhibit Nevertheless, They Persisted: Women’s Voting Rights and the 19th Amendment. Designed for middle and high school students, educators can use these lessons in the classroom with or without a visit to the museum. Although this curriculum is inspired by the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, it includes lessons that connect to women’s rights throughout U.S. and Oregon history and the broader contexts of civil rights, citizenship, and equality.

Helpful Tips for Using the Curriculum

  • Lessons focus on the Oregon story and contain links to content and lessons regarding the national context under the section titled “Connect to the National Story”
  • We have designed all of these lessons for both middle school and high school, although there are a few that are best suited for grades 7–12 or 8–12.
  • There are three “foundational” lessons. These lessons lay the groundwork for the other lessons. You can teach the rest of the lessons alone or in a sequence of your choosing. You can pick the ones that best meet the needs of your curriculum and your students.
  • Each lesson offers background information for the teacher, additional educational resources, suggestions for extensions and student supports, and more. Although each lesson has its own learning goals and guiding questions, the essential understandings below set an overall learning goal for the curriculum as a whole.;
  • We have listed the specific state standards that align with each curriculum at the end of each lesson overview.

Essential Understandings

  1. Suffragists overcame many obstacles over several decades to win the right to vote in Oregon. Oregon was a leader in the national suffrage movement. 
  2. Women came together across geographic, social, economic, and racial lines to employ a variety of strategies and tactics within Oregon's suffrage movement. 
  3. Women were not all united in the movement, nor did all women want suffrage; within the movement, there were many tactical disagreements, as well as competing ideas of what to accomplish once women achieved voting rights.
  4. Protest and activism are essential tools for achieving and maintaining equal rights within a democracy.
  5. The struggle for suffrage did not end with the constitutional amendment and not all women were able to vote in Oregon in 1912. The fight to protect voting rights and other civil rights for all citizens went beyond 1920 and continues today.

Menu of Lessons

Suffrage Movement in Oregon

Placing Oregon Suffrage in the Regional and National Context (Foundational Lesson)

Students examine a group of primary documents to construct a timeline of when Oregon women achieved suffrage within the national context. In part two of the lesson, students read a secondary source and identify places that connect to the primary documents they examined. Grades 6–12

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Arguments for and Against Woman Suffrage in Oregon (Foundational Lesson)

Students examine the 1912 Voter Pamphlet arguments for and against an amendment to the Oregon constitution to extend voting rights to women. Grades 6–12

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Strategies for Achieving Suffrage in Oregon

Students learn and compare different strategies used by Oregon suffragists to gain the right to vote. Grades 6–12

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Suffrage Songs as Tools of Protest

Students listen to examples of songs from the suffrage movement and try their hand at writing a verse for a present-day protest song. Grades 6–12

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Suffrage Propaganda Lesson

Students learn about different persuasive techniques used in propaganda and then apply them to documents from the woman suffrage era. Grades 7–12

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Overlapping Experiences: Ida B. Wells, Abigail Scott Duniway, and Beatrice Morrow Cannady

Students learn about the lives, experiences, and perspectives of three activists from the suffragist era through video, primary sources, and secondary sources. They then build a three circle Venn diagram to gain more insight into the similarities and differences between black and white activists. Grades 6–12

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Different Agendas: Why Did Women Want the Vote?

Students examine different Oregon women from the suffrage era who were leaders in political and social reform and consider the impacts they made on the state. Students also consider the women’s overlapping and competing agendas. Grades 7–12

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Beyond Suffrage

When Did All Women Achieve Voting Rights in Oregon?: Intersectionality and Suffrage in Oregon (Foundational Lesson)

Students study a timeline of voting rights for women to learn when different groups of women achieved suffrage in Oregon. Students then apply their findings to specific women in Oregon from 1912. Grades 6–12

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100 Years of Suffrage: Significant Achievements 1912–2012

Students study a timeline of events in the history of Oregon women and citizenship since suffrage to argue for what they see as the most significant event. Grades 6–12

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Women’s Equal Rights in Oregon and the 1973 Legislative Session

Students learn about the coalition of women in the 1973 Oregon legislature who passed laws to address sex discrimination. Students analyze primary documents to gain insight into types of discrimination and the coalition’s priorities and political strategies. Grades 7–12

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Suffrage and Civic Engagement: Bringing the Movement into the Present

Politics are Personal: Women’s Bodies and the Law

Students explore laws and policies that have restricted women’s bodies on the topics of sterilization, illegalization of birth control, and natural hair discrimination. They then watch student testimony from a Portland Public Schools board meeting about school dress codes and consider present day policies that affect girls’ and women’s bodies. Grades 8–12

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From Liquor to Timber: Corporate Funding in Elections

Students learn how money from the liquor industry influenced suffrage campaigns and connect this to the corporate funding of present-day Oregon politicians by analyzing and interpreting graphics. Grades 7–12

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Becoming Historians: Investigating the Past

Students learn how history is an evolving process and then investigate historical newspapers in Oregon to discover new information about women’s history. Grades 8–12

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