Last Sunday dawned bright and beautiful, a perfect day for our suffrage parade in Ronkonkoma. Over 100 people showed up to share in the experience, and honor those brave suffragists who fought for political equality.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Lake Ronkonkoma Free Library, whose local history room was recently named in honor of Lillian DeVere from Lake Ronkonkoma. Lillian was an avid suffragist, who collected books on suffrage in her home, and later oversaw the building of the library to house them. Some of the first suffrage meetings were held in her home as well.
We met at the Ronkonkoma Fire Station and walked the ½ mile up to the Lake Ronkonkoma Historical Society, (transportation was provided for those who wished it) where we listened to some inspiring speeches, and enjoyed a wonderful concert from the Island Hills Chorus. We then marched back down to the Fire District Building, past the historic DeVere home, waving our placards, proclaiming our fervor for “Votes for Women.”
Back at the fire station we listened to an interesting presentation from Ann M. Becker, PhD, on the history of the women suffrage movement, enjoyed our box lunches, and viewed a fascinating exhibit of photographs and artifacts illustrating the history of the woman suffrage movement in Ronkonkoma.
Sincere thanks to Dr. Ann M. Becker, the Suffolk County Police who closed the roads and escorted us, Jack Manning for his wonderful photographs, all those who came to march, and especially to Ellyn Okvist and her daughter Michelle for all their hard work organizing the day – the exhibits, the road closings, the speakers, and the suffragists. The Long Island Woman Suffrage Association if fortunate to count them as friends and we look forward to partnering with their organization, the Lake Ronkonkoma Heritage Association, for a long time to come.
Watch your email for the announcement of our next parade, the Memorial Day parade in Glen Cove, on May 30.