Members of the Hancock County Federation of Democratic Women.

This year marks a century since women earned the right to vote in the U.S. and both the local Democratic and Republican women’s clubs are celebrating.

“After the 19th Amendment was ratified in 1920, African American women as well as white women voted in elections and held political office,” Dr. Barbara Mayfield-Coatney of the Hancock County Federation of Democratic Women said this week. “Many Southern states including Mississippi passed laws that prevented African Americans the Right to Vote. It took several decades before the Voting Right Act passed in 1965. This Act made voting much easier and more equitable for all people.

“Women of all races must be given not only the Right to Vote but should be represented at every level of government, local, state and nationally.”

Hancock County Federation of Democratic Women members are marching in several upcoming local parades to mark a century of suffrage.

We’re walking in honor of 100 years of women’s suffrage as a reminder that women and African Americans had to fight for the right to vote,” Wendy Sullivan said. “We walk to remind Americans that we all have the responsibility to use that right. In addition, we need to ensure that all Americans are able to exercise their rights to vote.”

Sullivan, a U.S. Army veteran, retired college professor and active community volunteer, puts her money where her mouth is. She participated in the nationwide Women’s March in Washington, D.C. in 2017, and has joined several other Hancock Democratic women in other marches here. They marched in the Martin Luther King Parade and Clydesdale parade last month.

Members of the Federation of Democratic Women are also scheduled to march in the Krewe of Real People Mardi Gras parade on Friday 25; and the Coast-wide 19th Amendment parade on April 17.

Any women who want to march with them are welcome. They dress in Democrat blue or 1920s hats and/or sashes. For more information, contact Barbara Coatney at

The Hancock County Republican Women’s Club is also honoring a century of earning the right to vote with a “Winning the Vote” celebration on Friday, April 17, in downtown Bay St. Louis from 3-7 p.m.

“The day’s events will begin with a mix and mingle buffet and cash bar, followed by a meet and greet with Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith,” according to a club press release.

At 5:30 p.m., women will parade through the streets with a celebration at the Hancock County Courthouse beginning at 6 p.m.

All proceeds from the celebration will benefit local non-profit organizations dedicated to the welfare of women, including the St. Vincent de Paul Community Pharmacy, Magdalene House, Community Care Network and United MSD Foundation.

The event is sponsored by the Hancock County Republican Women’s Club, Harrison County Republican Women’s Club, Jackson County Republican Women’s Club and the Coast Young Republican Women.

To register for “Winning the Vote,” please visit For more information, contact


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