Kentucky Woman Suffrage
Name of Historic Site:
Ben Ali Theatre (no longer standing)
Event(s)/Use associated with woman/group/site:
Fayette County Equal Rights Association invited the economist and author Mrs. Charlotte Gilman Perkins to speak in Lexington on November 3, 1913
Years of Importance:
The Fayette County Equal Rights Association invited the economist and author Mrs. Charlotte Perkins Gilman to speak in Lexington November 3, 1913. Mrs. Gilman was best known for her 1898 book, Women and Economics: A Study of the Economic Relation Between Men and Women as a Factor in Social Evolution. She also wrote a popular book of suffrage songs and poems that was published in 1911. She had recently returned from the seventh conference of the International Woman Suffrage Alliance which had met that year in Budapest, Hungary. The Ben Ali Theatre, built by horseman James Ben Ali Haggin to seat 1500 patrons, had opened in September of that same year across from the popular Phoenix Hotel. The building was originally designed for theatre and vaudeville acts, and included a balcony where blacks were to seated. By 1915 it had became primarily a movie house. In 1965, after protests led by the local CORE chapter and the passing of Kentucky’s Civil Rights bill, the theatre was closed and torn down to be replaced by a parking garage - and now is the site of the Fayette County Courthouse plaza.