The Heroines

LWV Wichita

is honored with a Brick from the League of Women Voters Wichita - Metro.

Wichita is home to the first local chapter of the national League of Women Voters. According to an article in the February 15, 1995 issue of the Wichita Eagle, the Wichita league was preparing for the national organization's 75th anniversary in June, 1994 when it received confirmation that indeed the first local chapter was formed in Wichita on June 4, 1919, eight months before the national organization was launched on February 14, 1920.

As detailed by Jean Hays in the Wichita Eagle's article, the idea for a national league sprang from a March 28, 1919 conference of the National American Women's Suffrage Association in St. Louis. During that meeting, Carrie Chapman Catt, leader of the suffragettes, gave a speech calling for the establishment of a league to inform women about the issues on which they vote.

Jane Brooks of Wichita was elected to chair the new group and oversee its establishment. According to historical accounts, Brooks was chosen because "she was attractive, able and not tarred up as an old suffrage warhorse." Brooks returned to Wichita in June 1919 and formed the local chapter during a three-day conference on citizenship held at the Lassen Hotel.

For over 75 years, the league's mission - to inform the electorate - has never changed. It still sponsors seminars on issues and candidate forums.

September 5, 1998