Kansas is well known for its proud participation in the Women's Suffrage Movement. Early in the battle, the National American Woman Suffrage Association recognized Kansas as a liberal and forward thinking state. In honor of the state, the Association adopted the Kansas state flower, the sunflower, as its emblem. The sunflower became a well known sight and easily recognized symbol during suffrage campaigns.
Three feminists, Clarina Nichols, Mother Armstrong and Mary Tenney Gray, attended the Wyandotte constitutional convention, representing Shawnee and Douglas County women's groups, to seek equal suffrage's inclusion in the new state's constitution. They were not allowed to speak, but were granted the unprecedented right to acquire and possess property and to retain the equal custody of their children.
The first state legislature gave women the right to vote in school elections.
Equal suffrage became a statewide controversy, with the legislature submitting an amendment to the Kansas electorate to enfranchise white women. This made Kansas the first state in the Union to consider woman's suffrage, although the women's amendment was defeated.
A women's convention was held in Topeka to revive the cause.
The state's Prohibition Party endorsed women suffrage.
In Lincoln, the state's first woman suffrage organization, the Equal Suffrage Association (ESA), was established.
A statewide ESA was founded.
A bill was introduced to grant women municipal voting rights.
"Municipal suffrage" was won, allowing women to run for office in all city elections.
April 4, 1887
Susannah Medora Salter was elected mayor in Argonia (Sumner County), becoming the first woman mayor in the nation.
Oskaloosa, Cottonwood Falls, Rossville, Elk Falls, and Baldwin had women mayors in that order.
Canton, Edgerton, Kiowa, Haddam, Pleasanton, Gaylord, Ellis, Jamestown, and Beattie had women mayors in that order.
The suffrage amendment was resubmitted to the legislature and passed by a vote of 94 to 28.
Pioneer Woman by Joanna L. Stratton, Touchstone Books, 1981.)