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Quakertown BPW Members Learn about the Justice Bell

           Celebrating National Women's Month, the Quakertown Business and Professional Women's Club was delighted to have Amanda Owen, Justice Bell Foundation Chair, share "Finding Justice: Untold Story of Women's Fight for the Vote" 

The Justice Bell

on March 22. She shared her award-winning documentary that provided the unknown symbol, the Justice Bell, that represented our Pennsylvania suffrage movement.

            It began before 1915 when the PA Woman Suffrage Association decided that they should develop a plan. They needed to draw attention to the men to the fact that they were serious about the right to vote. It was Chester County's Katharine Wentworth Ruschenberger who provided the idea of forging a bell in the likeness of the Liberty Bell. The Meeley Bell Company of Troy, New York was commissioned and paid $2000.

           "Equality" would be placed on this bell.

            It became a celebrated icon across the nation but none more than right here in Pennsylvania. A special truck was constructed to carry this two-ton bell that would visit all 67 counties in the commonwealth. It stopped at town halls, factories, farms, parks, and anywhere where women could attract the attention of the men to hear their appeals to win the right to vote.

            The effort was monumental, but the referendum lost in the election of 1915. It was also lost in the neighboring states of New York, Maryland and New Jersey. Thinking an amendment to the state constitution was no longer the way to continue, we saw the National Movement of suffragists move to the White House and picket. It took courage on the part of the suffragists but they brought attention to their efforts. Standing with signs that read, "Mr. President, How Long Do We Have to Wait?" the women were arrested as protestors.

            The attention that they were seeking was garnered across the country and, finally, action was happening. It was on August 26, 1920, when the right to vote was granted to women.

            It was on this day that the Justice Bell was finally rung in the city of Philadelphia. The clapper which had been tied until women received the vote was undone. There were 80,000 people who attended this celebration. There was hope that the Justice Bell might stay in Philadelphia, but this request was denied by the mayor.  He had the bell taken to a slaughterhouse. From there this famous symbol of the Pennsylvania Suffrage Movement became lost.

            Our speaker, Amanda Owen, discovered it in the Valley Forge Memorial Chapel in 2016. Owen wanted to learn what it represented in our Pennsylvania history. With her determination, many hours of research were conducted, a film was produced, and a replica of the Justice Bell was made, but a few pounds lighter.

            Owen shared that the replica will be in residence on the Delaware County Community College campus for the coming year. She also shared that we may join her newsletter subscription by searching

            The Quakertown Business and Professional Women's Club meets on the fourth Wednesday of the month at the McCooles's Arts and Entertainment Center on Main Street, Quakertown.  Please contact Judy, President, if interested in joining us at 215-536-5196.






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