Citizens of a well functioning democracy should have an understanding of voting rights. In the United States, the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was passed in 1920 to give women the right to vote. To our young people today, it can be shocking to learn that just within the last century, more than half of the country was denied that fundamental right based only on their sex. But young people are not alone in having a limited understanding of the long struggle for voting equality. We can all learn from this complex period in United States history. The public needs access to high-quality information about the history of women’s suffrage.
That’s why, in March 2019, the National Archives Museum will launch an exhibit, Rightfully Hers: American Women and the Vote, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment. Visitors will learn about the history of suffrage in the United States, basic civics, suffragists, why voting matters, the women who were disenfranchised even after the 19th Amendment, and struggles that persist today.
When people learn about the centennial of the 19th Amendment through the National Archives or other means and want to learn more, their first stop will be Wikipedia. Wikipedia has a wealth of information about many topics, but some subject areas are better developed than others. Topics related to military history, for example, contain the most detailed and up-to-date information on Wikipedia. That’s because these topics are of interest to many of the volunteers who devote their time to creating and expanding Wikipedia’s content. Other articles, like the one about the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, don’t receive as much attention and are thus of lower quality. The only thing that’s stopping Ida B. Wells from having as high quality of an article as Robert E. Lee is finding someone interested in improving her article. You can be that person.
In collaboration with the National Archives, we’re offering a professional development course to train scholars to improve Wikipedia articles related to women’s suffrage. Become a Wiki Scholar and ensure the public has access to the highest quality information about the people, events, laws, organizations, debates, and other subjects related to the history of women’s voting rights in the United States.
Wiki Scholars will get face time with Wikipedia experts, learning how to add knowledge to Wikipedia successfully. They will join the online community of Wikipedians, utilize emerging modes of knowledge transmission, and make a broader impact with their scholarship by reaching millions. This immersive course presents opportunities for collaboration across disciplines and topic areas. You’ll build connections with like-minded scholars who are just as passionate about equitable, open knowledge as you are!
Pulling together Wikipedia experts, detailed Wikipedia training, and tips to navigate the National Archives’ extensive digital collections, this is the only skills-development course of its kind worldwide. Give voice to the millions of women who have struggled for a political voice in the century both before and after the 19th Amendment was adopted. Become a Wiki Scholar, add this history to Wikipedia, and educate the world.
Applications for this unique professional development experience are due by December 8, 2018. Accepted applicants will engage in the virtual course from January to March 2019. For course information and to submit an application, visit: http://bit.ly/NARAwiki