Members of the Long Beach Suffrage 100 community group, during an open house in early August. The group is organizing a year of events celebrating the centennial of the women's suffrage in the U.S. Courtesy photo.

The date was May 17, 1911. The location was the high-class resort Hotel Virginia at the south side of Ocean Boulevard, between Chestnut and Magnolia avenues.

During a convention of the California Federation of Women’s Clubs at the Downtown Long Beach hotel, about 300 delegates voted unanimously to lobby the men in their communities to pass Amendment 8 to the state Constitution that October, which would allow women to vote, and they succeeded.

This Saturday evening, community members will remember that momentous occasion by gathering at Victory Park (where Hotel Virginia once stood) before marching about a mile west to Cesar Chavez Park with a brief stop at City Hall.

Hotel Virginia in Long Beach. Courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.

The procession, during which participants will be dressed in their “suffrage whites,” is the main event on the day that kicks off a year-long celebration marking a century since women nationwide received the right to vote.

The 19th Amendment was ratified to the U.S. Constitution on Aug. 18, 1920, and adopted eight days later. Aug. 26 has been known as Women’s Equality Day since the 1970s.

“I think it’s really important for us to know how we got the votes and the great sacrifices made,” said Zoe Nicholson, director of Long Beach Suffrage 100, which is organizing the yearlong celebration.

Women at the turn of the century and before suffered beatings, arrests, long hours protesting in front of the White House and more during their fight for the right to vote.

Nicholson, who is a local activist and member of the city’s Human Relations Commission, said the work isn’t over.

African Americans and Native Americans couldn’t fully exercise their right to vote until the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Other groups remain disenfranchised, she said: the poor, the incarcerated and others.

“I believe suffrage is unfinished business,” Nicholson said.

The kickoff celebration this Saturday, Aug. 24 will begin with suffrage-themed arts and crafts for kids at noon at Cesar Chavez Park, followed by the LB Suffrage Procession starting at 5:30 p.m. at Victory Park and ending at Cesar Chavez Park with a performance of “Tea with Alice and Me” featuring Nicholson at 7:30 p.m. followed by a tea reception hosted by the Willmore Baking Co. at 8:30 p.m.

If you can’t make it out this Saturday, check the Long Beach Suffrage 100 website periodically as organizers are planning events every month until August 2020, when a gala and public art display will close the centennial celebration.

Nicholson said Long Beach is the only known city marking the occasion for a whole year, while community groups in all 50 states are planning events for 2020 only. A Pasadena committee is scheduled to display a 50-foot float during the Rose Parade.

The public is also encouraged to nominate women, dead or alive, who have contributed to Long Beach over the years. Organizers hope to honor 100 local women from all nine council districts at the gala.

For more information on this Saturday’s kickoff click here. To access the nominating form click here.

Stephanie Rivera is the community engagement editor. Reach her at [email protected] or on Twitter at @StephRivera88.