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Kentucky Women Honored For Suffrage Work

Posted at 5:18 PM, May 28, 2019

MADISON COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — Markers are being placed across Kentucky telling people about the work of Kentucky women in the suffrage movement.

A visit to White Hall tells a story of Kentucky’s history, one that includes ambitious women.

Laura Clay is a woman many know about, but it was her sister, Mary Barr Clay, who historians say got Kentucky on board with suffrage.

“She hasn’t been as well remembered, but she’s really the one that set the ball in motion for Kentucky to start considering suffrage — which was in 1870s a really radical, far out there idea,” said Melanie Goan, an assistant professor of history at the University of Kentucky.

Historians say that Mary Barr Clay brought Susan B. Anthony to Kentucky and she and her sister were key to getting Kentucky on board with the suffrage, because in the 1800s, the sisters were somewhat famous because of their last name.

“You said that name, and everyone took notice. National suffrage leaders said, ‘Hey, if we can get the Clay women on our side – this is our key to unlocking the South,'” said Goan.

Goan says that the role the Clay women played changed history.