Celebrating the Voting Rights Act of 1965
August 3, 2020
We’re thrilled to have two temporary art installations up this month celebrating voting rights in Utah! The Voting Rights Act became law on August 6, 1965 to ensure that all people had access to the ballot, regardless of race. Our interactive art pieces celebrate the women of color who fought for equal voting rights here in Utah and nationwide. We can honor their legacy by using our hard-won right to vote and engaging to make our communities better.
Ogden artist Tamia Green created our first interactive art piece, hosted by Ogden Contemporary Arts at the Platforms on 490 25th Street in Ogden. Three large wooden frames are covered with colorful cloth pieces, symbolizing diversity and unity. Tamia asks visitors to write the answers to these questions on the cloth: What change would you like to see in your community? How will you help make it happen? Tamia’s installation will be up through August 26th, which is Women’s Equality Day.
Our second interactive art piece was created by Centerville artist Tawnie Richman. This mosaic invites community members to reflect on what the right to vote means to them. Visitors can select a rock with a reason why they vote to place in the “ballot box,” or write their own reason on a blank rock. Tawnie’s installation will be up through August 16 in William R. Smith Park at 300 N. 100 E. in Centerville. It will also be on display outside the Farmington Museum from August 17-31, at 110 N. Main Street in Farmington.
We hope you’ll visit these installations in August, add your voice, and take a few minutes to learn about women of color who worked for the vote here in Utah and elsewhere! Here are some helpful resources:
- “Black Women’s Political Participation in Early Utah,” – shares research from our BD2020 history team.
- “Hard Won, Not Done: Celebrating Voting Rights in Utah” video conversation – Better Days 2020 hosted Dr. Kathleen Christy, Tarienne Mitchell, Amy Tanner Thiriot, and Dr. Jackie Thompson for a virtual discussion highlighting important Black women in Utah history who made our state a better place.
- “The Voting Rights Act was Signed 55 Years Ago. Black Women Led the Movement Behind It,” USA Today.
- Biographies of Black women who worked for equality in Utah: Elizabeth A. Taylor, Lucille Bankhead, Mignon Barker Richmond, Anna Belle Weakley, and Alberta Henry.
- “Truth Be Told: Stories of Black Women’s Fight for the Vote” – curated by Allison K. Lange and sponsored by Melinda Gates’ Pivotal Ventures.
- “The Suff Buffs,” the history blog series from the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission, featuring articles on various leaders of the suffrage movement including women of color, Indigenous activists, and Black leaders.
Funding for this project was provided by a grant from the Charles W. Redd Center for Western Studies at Brigham Young University.