Constitution Day 2020 to feature Montana history professor

Bookmark and Share

September 3, 2020

Anya Jabour

The College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University are recognizing the 100-year anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote during Constitution Day 2020.

University of Montana Regents Professor of History Anya Jabour will discuss “Claiming Rights, Championing Reform: Sophonisba Breckinridge, Women's Suffrage and Social Welfare” at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 17 via Zoom. To join the virtual event, the meeting ID number is 934 2433 4306.

Constitution Day and Citizenship Day is an annual celebration at CSB and SJU, each year featuring a different topic of discussion. It is observed each year nationally on Sept. 17 to commemorate the signing of the Constitution in 1787 and “recognize all who, by coming of age or by naturalization, have become citizens.”

Students will have the chance to hear Jabour’s lecture but also have the opportunity to ask questions throughout the presentation via the chat function on Zoom.

Jabour was chosen to lead CSB/SJU’s 2020 Constitution Day celebration because of her expertise on the history of the Women’s Suffrage Movement and her focus on how much time, dedication and persistence is necessary to accomplish fundamental social and political reform.

“She (Jabour) believes that is an important lesson for reform movements today, and I agree,” said Jim Read, professor of political science at CSB and SJU and chair of the department. “To be an effective reformer, it must be a long-term commitment.”

Jabour is a past co-director of the Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program at the University of Montana. She teaches courses in U.S. women’s history, family history and southern history as well as several upper-division writing courses.

She has authored four books: “Marriage in the Early Republic:  Elizabeth and William Wirt and the Companionate Ideal (Gender Relations in the American Experience);” “Scarlett’s Sisters: Young Women in the Old South;” “Topsy-Turvy: How the Civil War Turned the World Upside Down for Southern Children;” and “Sophonisba Breckinridge: Championing Women’s Activism in Modern America,” a biography of the educator and reformer, for which Jabour received a summer stipend from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Jabour has earned a number of teaching honors, including the University of Montana's Distinguished Scholar in 2013. In 2014, she received both the George M. Dennison Presidential Faculty Award for Distinguished Accomplishment and the Paul Lauren Undergraduate Research Faculty Mentor Award.

Read hopes that students are able to walk away from Constitution Day 2020 with a sense of how important and significant the right to vote is.

“American society today is plagued by deep and persistent injustices,” Read said. “I hope that idealistic young women and men at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University are likewise willing to make a lifetime commitment to bringing about a more just, inclusive and sustainable world.”