The Jeannette Rankin You May Not Know

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“Introducing the Jeannette Rankin You May Not Know”

The Peace Center’s namesake, Jeannette Rankin, was a tireless campaigner for women’s suffrage, not only leading the movement in Montana that won women the right to vote in 1914, but also working for the cause in New York, North Dakota, South Dakota, Missouri, Nebraska, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Tennessee, Alabama and Florida. Rankin was the first woman elected to the US Congress, where she voted against US entry into WW1. In her second Congressional term, she voted against US entry into WW2. In later life, Rankin led a peace march against the Viet Nam War.

The New York Times described Rankin this way: “Given her electric presence, she was eminently suited to symbolize the emergence of women in national politics.”

Who was the woman behind the image?

Rankin was born and raised right here in Missoula, and is our most famous native daughter. It’s no wonder we have generated a set of common beliefs about her life that have built up an image of Rankin as an egalitarian Montanan of high integrity on issues of women’s rights and peace. In actuality, Rankin was a product of her family and the times. A closer look at her life, her actions and words reveal the contradictions and failings of a real person grappling with the need to make a life of meaning for herself and sometimes succeeding, other times falling short.

The Jeannette Rankin Peace Center, together with the League of Women Voters of Missoula, are co-hosting “Introducing the Jeannette You May Not Know: The Life and Times of Jeannette Rankin,” a free public lecture:

When: Wednesday, November 20, from noon to 1:00 pm,
Where: Missoula Public Library large meeting room.

The presentation and discussion feature James Lopach and Jean Luckowski, authors of the book “Jeannette Rankin: A Political Woman.”. In writing their book, Lopach and Luckowski did extensive research into the correspondence of Rankin’s family members and contemporaries. What they found gives us a more realistic picture of Rankin, one that makes her less iconic, more human and imperfect.

Come join us on November 20th and meet the Jeannette Rankin you may not know.

Nancy Leifer, member Jeannette Rankin Peace Center and co-president, Missoula League of Women Voters