Virginia and Francis Minor: Forgotten Suffrage Pioneers
In Missouri, a husband and wife couple, Virginia and Francis Minor, were key early leaders in the quest for female suffrage. Virginia founded the Woman Suffrage Association of Missouri, the first organization of its kind in the country—possibly the world— in 1867, pre-dating the National Woman’s Suffrage Association (NWSA) founded by Susan B. Anthony and the American Woman’s Suffrage Association (AWSA) founded by Lucy Stone by two years. This unusual and forward-thinking couple were at the vanguard of women’s rights, developing a philosophy of how the gender-neutral language of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution inadvertently gave women the right to vote, an argument that would become the official position of the NWSA for nearly five years. In putting this theory to the test, the Minors went on to face the highest court in the land in defense of women’s voting and citizenship rights in the 1873 Supreme Court case Minor v Happersett. Although they were ultimately overruled, and their case isn’t widely-known, it helped shape the current definition of state and national citizenship and their associated rights. Learn about the impact of their case today, their role in the suffrage movement, and lesser-known aspects of the couple’s lives, including their service as civilians during the Civil War, Francis’ legal career, and Virginia’s efforts post-Minor that concluded only with her unorthodox funeral and the reading of her unusual will.
This event will be held at the Historic Hotchkiss Chapel inside Bellefontaine Cemetery and Arboretum.
Once you arrive at Bellefontaine Cemetery at 4947 W. Florissant, follow the directional signage to Hotchkiss Chapel.
This event is free, however, donations to the Friends of Bellefontaine Cemetery are gratefully accepted. To make a gift to the Friends of Bellefontaine, email Joe Shields or call our office at 314-381-0750.
Make a gift online