Latinx Women in the U.S. Women’s Suffrage Movement

In California, the inclusion of Latinx women into the fight for the right to vote was critical to the success of the movement.

One of the major leaders of the Suffrage movement in California was Maria Guadalupe Evangelina de Lopez. Lopez (1881-1977) was a leader in the California suffragist movement, the first person to translate suffrage speeches into Spanish, an active clubwoman, and educator in Los Angeles. 

Prior to her teaching years, Lopez attended Pasadena High School and went on to earn her higher education at Los Angeles Normal School, in preparation for teaching.[1]  Lopez started off her teaching career by teaching English as a second language at Los Angeles High School. Later on she went on to become a translator at UCLA. 

Her time working in hight education was groundbreaking. In 1902, Lopez became the youngest instructor to teach at UCLA and also has the honor of being the very first confirmed Latina instructor at the university.  By the 1930’s, Lopez served as president of UCLA’s women’s club for faculty.[2]

Maria Lopez, , among other like-minded women of her time, was an active a member of the Votes for Women Club.[3]  One of Lopez’s major contribution to the suffrage movement was her continuation of her previous translation service. The Votes for Women Club held a large rally in 1911, the year Californians were to vote on women’s suffrage and during the rally Lopez rose up to give her speech in Spanish, which was unprecedented at the time.  One of her most notable contributions to the movement was her Spanish translation work throughout the 1911 campaign.  This opportunity, combined with her previous experience, launched her further in making her mark on the world. 

The campaign worked and on October 10, 1911 California Proposition 4 passed, granting women California women the right to vote. California was the sixth state to give women the vote in the United States, nine years before the 19th amendment.

That same year, Lopez became the president of the College Equal Suffrage League, while also publishing an article in the Los Angeles Herald making the bold claim that men and women deserve equal rights, that should not be distinguished by gender, under the foundations of democracy.[4]  Lopez must have left a lasting impression on the staff of the Los Angeles Herald and later on in 1913, the Herald published that Maria Lopez ought to be selected as a suffragist representative California that would march in the 1913 Suffrage Parade in Washington, D.C.[5]

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Pamphlet of the Los Angeles Political Equality League translated into Spanish by Maria Lopez[6]


Sabrina Reichert, Women’s Museum of California intern

Bibliography

“Angeleno Beauties Proposed for Place in Suffrage Parade.” Los Angeles Herald 12 April 1913, April 12, 1913. https://cdnc.ucr.edu/?a=d&d=LAH19130412.2.59&srpos=1&e=——-en–20–1–txt-txIN-“angeleno beauties proposed for place in suffrage parade”——-1.

Leonard, John William, ed. Women’s Who’s Who of America: A Biographical Dictionary of Contemporary Women of the United States and Canada. New York, NY: The American Commonwealth Co., 1914. https://archive.org/details/womanswhoswhoam00leongoog/page/n8/mode/2up.

Los Angeles Political Equality League. “Pamphlet of the Los Angeles Political Equality League by Maria Lopez.” Claremont, CA, 1911.

Martinez, Roberta H. Latinos in Pasadena. San Francisco, CA: Arcadia Publishing, 2009. https://books.google.com/books?id=2zE2BjHkC94C&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false.

“Los Angeles Citywide Historic Context Statement Context: Women’s Rights in Los Angeles.” Los Angeles, October 2018.


[1] Roberta H. Martinez, Latinos in Pasadena (San Francisco, CA: Arcadia Publishing, 2009),                                   https://books.google.com/books?id=2zE2BjHkC94C&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false), 42.

[2] “Los Angeles Citywide Historic Context Statement Context: Women’s Rights in Los Angeles” (Los Angeles, October        2018).

John William Leonard, ed., Woman’s Who’s Who of America: A Biographical Dictionary of Contemporary Women            of the United States and Canada (New York, NY: The American Commonwealth Co., 1914),                         https://archive.org/details/womanswhoswhoam00leongoog/page/n8/mode/2up), 499.

[4]Ibid.

[5] “Angeleno Beauties Proposed for Place in Suffrage Parade,” Los Angeles Herald 12 April 1913, April 12, 1913, p.             3, https://cdnc.ucr.edu/?a=d&d=LAH19130412.2.59&srpos=1&e=——-en–20–1–txt-txIN-“angeleno                beauties proposed for place in suffrage parade”——-1).

[6] Los Angeles Political Equality League, “Pamphlet of the Los Angeles Political Equality League by Maria Lopez”              (Claremont, CA, 1911).

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