In 1887, Susanna Salter turned a joke by some men in the city of Argonia, Kansas, into a landmark moment for women in politics and elections. The story of Susanna, the first woman mayor in the United States, is now shared in a children’s book by author Karen M. Greenwald.
Mayor Treva Hodges, the first woman mayor of Charlestown, is set to read “A Vote For Susanna: The First Woman Mayor” on Read Across America Day on March 2, 2022. Readings take place at the Charlestown Public Library (10 a.m.), along with classroom visits at Jonathan Jennings Elementary School, Pleasant Ridge Elementary School, and St. Michael’s Pre-school (via Zoom).
In partnership with Ivy Tech Community College, 110 copies of “A Vote for Susanna” will be given out to students and each library.
Founded in 1808, Hodges took office as the first female Charlestown mayor in the city of 8,500 residents in 2020. In Kansas, women gained the right to vote in municipal elections in 1887. Thinking women shouldn’t have a say in their next mayor, men jokingly put Salter on the ballot. Salter stood up to her right and won the election, shocking Argonians.
At the readings in Charlestown, Hodges will recite the book and also share her experiences of being a woman in the role of mayor. The young constituents of Charlestown can learn about not only the history of women in politics, but also gender bias, bullying, and the importance of unity.
The irony of March 2, is it so happens to be Salter’s birthday. Plus, it’s Women’s History Month.
Greenwald brings the story of Salter’s 1887 election is a true story of a woman who stood up for her right to vote and accomplished much more.
Hodges’ introduction to the book and details of Salter’s story came to her when the book was released by Greenwald in 2021.