VIRGINIA LOUISA MINOR WAS BORN ON on March 27, 1824, in Caroline County, Va. In 1845, her family moved to St. Louis, Mo.The Minors were avid supporters of the Union during the Civil War. At the close of the war, Minor and other women who had labored in support of the cause turned their energies toward securing rights for women.
Both Minor and her husband worked actively for the suffrage cause in Missouri for the remainder of their lives. Minor is credited with being the first person to take a public stand for women’s suffrage in the state. In 1867, she circulated a petition to the state legislature asking that a proposed amendment to the state constitution permitting African American men to vote be extended to include women. This petition was overwhelmingly rejected by the state legislature.
In 1872, Minor attempted to register to vote, and when denied this right, she and her husband filed a test case against the St. Louis registrar who had rejected her. After losing their case in the lower courts, the Minors appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States. In 1874, the court ruled unanimously to uphold the lower courts, stating that citizenship for women did not necessarily include suffrage.
Minor was a founding member of the Woman’s Suffrage Association in Missouri in 1876, and its first president.