Mid-May saw America250 Foundation Vice President of Programs and Planning Anna Laymon briefly step away from her role planning thousands of initiatives for the ambitious and inclusive America250 effort and into her recent past. On Sunday, May 16, she attended the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial unveiling in Lorton, Va., and also participated in a National Archives Museum panel two days later titled, “Celebrating the Woman Suffrage Centennial: What Happened and What Have We Learned?”
Prior to joining the Foundation, Laymon served as executive director of the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission (WSCC), charged with commemorating the 100-year anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Congress established the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission (WSCC) to coordinate the nationwide effort celebrating this important milestone in American democracy.
“These women didn’t stop after the 19th Amendment,” said Laymon of the women’s suffrage movement. “They didn’t stop and insist that statues and monuments be built for them. Instead, they kept the battle for equality going. Now it’s up to us to recognize what they did and to insist that they be in the history books, that their monuments get built, and their legacies and stories be told.”
The new memorial, dedicated to generations of suffragists who fought for the right to vote, was built in partnership with the WSCC. The memorial is in Virginia’s Occoquan Regional Park on part of the historic prison grounds where suffragists were jailed for picketing outside the White House in 1917.
During the panel with the National Archives, Laymon reflected on the nationwide centennial commemoration, its successes, and where it fits into her current work.
“The women’s suffrage movement is one chapter in a much longer story of American democracy,” she said. “There are many more chapters before and many more chapters after. 2026 will be 250 years since the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. As we move towards this very significant milestone in American democracy, it presents us as a country with another opportunity to dig deep into our stories.”