This month marks the 100-year anniversary since the U.S. Constitution was amended to include a guarantee of women's right to vote, and the Missouri Capitol has some new features to commemorate that milestone.
Missouri House of Representatives Speaker Elijah Haahr, R-Springfield, and the Women's Foundation unveiled a bronze bust of Annie White Baxter on Wednesday to be included in the Hall of Famous Missourians at the Capitol.
Baxter was the first Missouri woman elected to public office — elected in 1890 as the Jasper County clerk and the first female county clerk in the entire country.
Wendy Doyle, president and chief executive officer of the Women's Foundation — a Kansas City-based organization that works to eliminate economic barriers women face — said Baxter oversaw elections she could not even vote in.
Doyle said, for too long, women like Baxter have been underrepresented in public spaces, but she hoped the bust would help women see themselves in the history of change-makers and barrier-breakers.
The Hall of Famous Missourians also includes at least seven other women: Sacajawea; women's suffrage activist Virginia Manor; Ginger Rogers; Betty Grable; entertainer and civil rights activist Josephine Baker; Laura Ingalls Wilder; and Rose Philippine Duchesne.
Gov. Mike Parson's office also announced Wednesday the Capitol Dome would be lit purple that night from sunset until sunrise today to commemorate the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage.
"Today, we remember the dedication of the strong women who overcame obstacles to secure this right (to vote) and honor the contributions all women have made to every aspect of our development as a nation," Parson said in a news release.
Parson's news release added the Women's Suffrage Centennial Commission is "coordinating with hundreds of buildings and landmarks across the country to light up purple and gold for this once-in-a-lifetime campaign named in honor of the historic suffrage slogan, 'Forward through the Darkness, Forward into Light.' Due to technical reasons, the Missouri State Capitol dome may only be lit one color, and purple was selected."
Pictures of the Capitol lighting were encouraged to be shared on social media using #ForwardIntoLight.