Thirty people gathered at the dedication of the suffrage marker at the Patagonia Museum on May 15. After a short business meeting, Museum President German Quiroga introduced historian Mary Melcher. Melcher was the lead historian for the Arizona Women’s Heritage Trail and served on the committee for the National Votes for Women Trail (NVWT), which “seeks to recognize and celebrate the enormous diversity of people and groups active in the struggle for women’s suffrage.,” according to its website.
Melcher described the struggles of early suffragists in Arizona, which culminated in an initiative to give women the vote that passed in 1912, shortly after Arizona gained statehood.
The historical marker at the Patagonia Museum, one of approximately 250 markers throughout the U.S., names two of the 23 women who voted at the site in 1915, Amalia Valenzuela and Mary Kane. In the audience at the dedication were several descendants of Mary Kane, who was born in Mexico in 1863. The women must have been able to read, according to Melcher, as a requirement for voting was the ability to read a line of the constitution in English.
“Today we honor these women,” Melcher said, noting the importance of continuing the fight for “voting rights for all.”