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story.lead_photo.caption Sean Clancy, Paper Trails columnist

Squint your eyes and you might just see Kathleen Pate on New Year's Day during this year's Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena, Calif.

Pate, who lives in Pine Bluff, will be among the 100 "out-walkers" behind a float commemorating the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote.

The float won't be hard to miss. It features a 30-foot-tall Statue of Liberty holding a tablet of the 19th Amendment and sporting a purple, white and gold suffragette sash.

Pate and the other walkers will be decked out in white, which is what suffragists like Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Ida B. Wells and Susan B. Anthony wore when they were crusading for women's rights and the right to vote.

"I tell people all the time that I am not an expert on women's suffrage, but that I am a suffrage enthusiast," Pate says. "Voting is not just a right, but a responsibility."

The 19th Amendment was ratified on Aug. 18, 1920. Before it was passed, some states did provide women the right to vote. In 1917, Arkansas became the first Southern state to grant women the right to vote in primary elections.

"Forty-thousand women voted in the 1918 Democratic primary in Arkansas, which was basically a one-party state," Pate says. "I'm not an academic, but I think you can draw a line from those women voting in the primary election to Arkansas senators and representatives and Gov. Charles Hillman Brough ratifying the 19th Amendment early on."

Arkansas was the 12th state to ratify the 19th Amendment on July 28, 1919.

Pate, 50, serves as chairwoman of the Arkansas Women's Suffrage Centennial Commemoration Committee.

When she heard about plans for the Rose Bowl Parade float, she knew she wanted to take part, but it's something she is doing on her own and not in any official capacity.

While she will be dressed in period-appropriate, white attire, she is working on customizing her hat to reflect the Natural State with a pin or perhaps the number 12.

Pate says she is looking forward to hanging out with other suffragist fans.

"I can't wait to meet the people from other states and hear about what they are doing. There's a lot of excitement and a lot of energy. And then just to be in the Rose Bowl Parade! That is insane. Never in my life have I thought: 'I could be in the Rose Bowl Parade.'"

email:sclancy@arkansasonline.com

SundayMonday on 12/15/2019

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