Berks County woman bringing history of suffrage movement to life

BERKS COUNTY (WPVI) -- This year marks an important anniversary in the fight for equality and Berks County resident Hallie Vaughan is making sure the women's suffrage movement gets its due.

It was a 72-year campaign for the passage of the 19th Amendment, which Congress ratified on Aug. 18, 1920. It officially took effect eight days later and granted women the right to vote.

Vaughan portrays the suffragist Alice Paul in several videos made to commemorate the milestone anniversary, which can be found online through the Berks History Center.

"She never stopped working. After women got the right to vote, she went right on working for the Equal Rights Amendment," Vaughan says about Paul.

The play, titled "System Shakers and Barrier Breakers: The Suffragists", was written by local women, including some members of the Berks Women's History Alliance.

Vaughan got involved with Daughters of the American Revolution in 1976 and spent her career teaching.

"I got interested in women's history, and found some fascinating stories," explains Vaughan.

She adds that the suffrage movement, "was sometimes called the war of the roses." She goes on to further explain that, "if you wore a yellow rosebud you were for suffrage. If you wore a red rosebud you were against suffrage."

Now in retirement, Vaughan says she enjoys sharing her knowledge with others through these historical portrayals.

"I do try to make it as realistic as possible," she shares.

Vaughan has a replica of the women's suffrage flag that she utilizes when playing Paul., who was known to sew a star on the flag whenever a state ratified the amendment.

Vaughan says she hopes to inspire others to learn more about the suffragists.

"It has been very rewarding," she says about playing Paul.

When in character, she reminds people about the fight for women's suffrage and to, "never take your right to vote lightly."

If you would like to see Hallie Vaughan as Alice Paul - the Berks County History Center is hosting a drive-thru event on Wednesday, August 26, known as Women's Equality Day. They will be distributing commemorative tote bags at the event to celebrate a century of Suffrage.

For more information, visit Berks History Center and for more on the event, visit Berks Suffrage 2020 Centennial.
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