The Ossoli Club of Corbin, together with Kentucky Chautauqua, will present Madeline McDowell Breckinridge: “Fight for the Right to Vote!” at the Corbin Public Library Thursday at 7 p.m. The event will be held in conjunction with the Meet and Greet for local political candidates that begins at 6 p.m. This entire event is free and open to the public.
Diane Mitchell, President of the Friends of the Corbin Library and a member of the Ossoli Club, said the “Meet and Greet” portion of the program fits nicely with the Chautauquo performance which details the efforts of one of Kentucky’s foremost women’s suffrage advocates.
“This will be an opportunity to meet the candidates running in the November 8 election and to find out how they feel about issues of interest to you,” Mitchell said. “There will be no speeches from anyone; this evening is a time to get to know each other in a pleasant, social setting.”
To emphasize the great importance of all people exercising their right to vote, the Ossoli Club of Corbin, in conjunction with the Kentucky Humanities Council, will provide a special treat for the evening’s event at 7 p.m. when Madeline McDowell Breckinridge, portrayed by Kelly Brengelman, will present her life in Kentucky before 1920
The great-granddaughter of famed Kentucky Statesman Henry Clay, Madeline McDowell Breckinridge was instrumental in the women’s suffrage movement both on a state and national level. A leader in the Kentucky Equal Rights Association and later with the national organization, Breckinridge worked tirelessly for the rights of women in the Commonwealth and throughout the United States.
While many suffragists retreated from the movement to prevent women’s voting rights to pass through federal amendment, Madeline worked more tenaciously to attain it, even when it meant butting heads with her own family members. Largely due to the efforts of Madeline McDowell Breckinridge, the Kentucky legislator ratified the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution on January 9, 1920, guaranteeing all American women the right to vote.
While putting together boxes for the poor, Madeline McDowell Breckinridge suffered a stroke and died two days later on November 25, 1920 at the age of 48. She was able to vote in one U.S. Presidential election.
Brengelman, who portrays Madeline McDowell Breckinridge for Kentucky Chautauqua, has been an actress for the Kentucky Humanities Council since 2005. Madeline McDowell Breckinridge is the third character Brengelman has portrayed. She previously portrayed Ruth Boone and Lucy Bakewell Audubon. She also works as an actor in documentaries, small films, and commercial performances, including Cassius Marcellus Clay: An Audacious American, Kentucky Governor’s Mansion: A Century of Reflection, Rara Avis: The Life and Art of John James Audubon, Surviving Guthrie, and many local, regional, and national commercials.
Mitchell said refreshments will be served at the free event and the public is encouraged to attend.
Kentucky Chautauqua is an exclusive presentation of the Kentucky Humanities Council, Inc. with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities and from: Christina Lee Brown, the Brown-Forman Corporation, the Carson-Myre Charitable Foundation, the Cralle Foundation, the Elsa Heisel Sule Foundation, Lindsey Wilson College, Morehead State University, Paducah Bank, PNC, and Toyota Motor Manufacturing North America, Inc.