South Mountain Community College Historic Walking Tour – Stop 5

President’s Office/Mission Wall

Historical Period: Arizona Territory, 1860s-1910s


Every day when he comes to the college, our president Dr. Richard Daniel passes by this wall. Dr. Daniel is passionate about the history of our college and our community, which you are learning about today. Since our college was founded in 1979, we’ve had several college presidents, vice presidents, faculty, staff, and administrators, many of whom reflect the diversity of the campus itself. Did you know South Mountain is home to the most diverse population of students and staff in the district? And, more than half of our student population identifies as female. Women help make South Mountain Community College what it is, just as they helped make our state what it is.


How do you think Arizona became a state?

Women helped to make Arizona statehood possible. In the mid-19th century, Arizona was stuck in territorial purgatory. The United States did not want to admit Arizona as a state because the territory lacked resources, attractive opportunities for farming and development, and a sufficient pool of white male voters and landowners. After decades of trying to convince the federal government, and after a brief period of Civil War statehood under the Confederacy, Arizona finally won official statehood in 1912.

Question: What were some of the tactics used to make it possible?

They did so using a couple of tactics. Their first was to prove they had enough voters to meet the standards of statehood. But not enough white men lived in Arizona to meet the quota. So, they granted suffrage to white women. Eight years before the 19th Amendment was passed in 1920. But this doesn’t mean that Arizona was a progressive state from the beginning. In fact, almost immediately, legislation was put in place to create employment and housing restrictions for people of color throughout the state.

Tour Map

Click the image to see the tour map.