Monthly Archives: August 2012

New York State to cash in on tourism related to history

The conference held this week in Albany, New York attracted about 200 people from around the state to discuss the potential of natural, cultural, and heritage tourism in New York and to announce new signs erected on the state thruway and elsewhere directing travelers to various sites. This is excellent for artifacts such as the suffrage campaign wagon now on exhibit at the state capitol through the end of summer. A state policy supporting historical resources and funding programs makes it more likely that the suffrage wagon won’t gather dust in the state museum warehouse. This is good news for Grandmother Edna and a lot of other people.

For more information about this week’s meeting in Albany, NY: Link #1   Link #2

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Suffragette descendants hit the streets in the UK & at the Olympics

Who would have thought that a suffrage parade would attract mass attention in 2012? This happened in the UK recently when descendants of suffragettes and others marched at the Olympic opening ceremonies. It’s not the best video (see link below) possible, but it gives a feel for how it must have been for the suffrage marchers. It’s not surprising that the event was a life-changing experience for most, propelling them to future involvement in the political process, just as their grandmothers and great grandmothers were involved.

Take a look at some of these articles from the UK. English women are also planning to continue with the suffrage theme and march on Parliament in October 2012 to draw attention to the backsliding relative to women’s rights!

Here are several links to brighten your day: Link #1  Link #2   Link #3

This isn’t the first time when protestors have showed up dressed as suffragettes. Check out this example in the UK in 2010.

Photo: 1913, arrest of suffragette. London. Library of Congress. Subscribe to Suffrage Wagon News Channel for news and stories of the Votes for Women movement. Visit SWNC central.

Happy August 26th and celebrate with a new video!

Women have been voting in the United States for 92 years. To celebrate, here’s a new video to help us make the most of the day! It’s from the National Women’s History Museum.

The National Women’s History Project has wonderful resources for the celebration of August 26. Highlights include a downloadable brochure, August dates for women’s history observances, a first-person story by Maud Wood Park about the suffrage movement, and much more! When planning any sort of event or community program, you can count on the NWHP to have lots of links and resources on its web site.

Subscribe to Suffrage Wagon News Channel for news and stories of the Votes for Women movement that interests, delights and builds leadership for these times. SWNC posts twice a week. And we have an issue of our quarterly newsletter in the works for the fall. The SWNC 2012 summer issue is still available.

Celebrating the stuff of our suffragist grandmothers and others!

  

August 26th isn’t Women’s Equality Day in the UK because they didn’t have to amend the constitution like we did with the 19th amendment. But there’s an upcoming grandmother celebration in the UK that’s worth featuring for several reasons: 1) the family’s pride in sharing the archive of Grandmother Alice Hawkins’ suffrage memorabilia 2) public interest in the subject matter. Alice’s great grandson Peter Barratt has a variety of digital resources on the web site devoted to Alice Hawkins, family member, working woman, and suffrage activist. Peter speaks at community events about his great grandmother. In the U.S., events like this are increasing, but they’re by no means as developed as in the U.K. as with this news item from Edinburgh.

There’s a lot to celebrate on this side of the Atlantic. Special events for Women’s Equality Day (August 26th) are scheduled throughout the U.S., and in New Mexico, in  particular with “Mujeres Presente: New Mexico Women Who Rocked the Vote.” And if you’re wondering about a special gift for someone for an upcoming birthday or holiday, check out the Alice Paul suffragist gold coin.

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Cake and lemonade, buttons and propaganda . . .

Article about suffragists in 1912 fills in some of the details of the Long Island campaign. This is where you find out about cake and lemonade, buttons and propaganda.

Suffragists at Long Beach, Long Island, 1912

Antonia Petrash’s upcoming 2013 book about Long Island suffrage movement (45 seconds) will add more to what’s known about the movement in the metropolitan NYC area. Here are some examples. . . Antonia gives highlights of her upcoming book about Long Island suffragists (32 seconds of audio). Edna Kearns’ contribution to suffrage movement on Long Island ( 44 seconds). The importance of New York’s suffrage movement (35 seconds). Why the suffrage movement story has been buried (39 seconds). The influential role of Long Island (NY) women (40 seconds). Celebrating the New York State suffrage centennial (42 seconds).  How Antonia became interested in the subjects of equal rights and suffrage (59 seconds). Two books Antonia wrote previously about extraordinary women in New York and Connecticut (56 seconds). Why the suffrage movement is inspiring. (60 seconds ). More stories by Antonia Petrash are featured on Votes for Women Salon on Suffrage Wagon News Channel.

IN OTHER NEWS: The New York State Museum is now open on Sundays, but is closed on Mondays. It has been closed on Sundays since 2011. With the experience of the NYS capitol attracting thousands of visitors to its exhibits, the state museum is cashing in on this increased tourism. Good work!

New life for an old logo: Women’s Equality Day!

Every week the planning moves forward for the August 26th celebration. Events can be large or small. Private or public. With big budgets or a process of assembling what’s around the house. There’s an updated logo for Women’s Equality Day from WomenArts in San Francisco from that’s based on the  bugler used by the suffs on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. See above. It’s available on buttons, stickers, t-shirts from Cafe Press. Even if you only wear one button to set the mood, it’s worth it. Get busy!

The history? Well, here it is, plus some background. August 26th celebrations are fun, informative and necessary!

A fairy tale story of suffrage

My Aunt Serena Kearns was known as Nassau County’s “youngest suffragist.” If there was a poster child for woman’s suffrage, it was little Serena. Her image was preserved when sitting in her mother Edna’s suffrage campaign wagon, the “Spirit of 1776″ with the large bow in her hair. Yes, this is the same wagon on exhibit on the second floor of the New York State capitol through the summer of 2012.

Little Serena accompanied her mother, Edna Kearns, in New York City parades and on whirlwind campaigns for Votes for Women on Long Island.  This article from the Brooklyn Times on February 13, 1913 documents a suffrage story that Serena wrote:

“Once upon a time there was a fairy called Suffrage. Now it happened that the laws of the land did not suit her. She believed in equal rights. But in that land the men did not believe in the women voting.

“Now fairy Suffrage was a smart fairy: She went to the President. But she did not dress as a fairy. Oh, no! She dressed as a poor working girl asking for the vote to help her in her work. The President wouldn’t help.

“The next day while she was out walking she met an enemy of hers. His name was Ignorance. Ignorance began to say disagreeable things to her. ‘Ignorance,’ she said. ‘I will go to Justice, the queen of the fairies, for help.’ This she did. And Justice said: ‘I can help you because I dwell in almost everybody’s heart, while Ignorance lives in the hearts of so few people. I can overcome Ignorance with my wonderful power.’ Then Justice won the battle in the year 1915 and fairy Suffrage was saved.”

Poor Serena must have been disappointed as suffrage wasn’t approved in 1915 by New York State voters. However, it passed in 1917, which means the upcoming 100th anniversary is in 2017.

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Susan B. Anthony would be proud of heritage tourism moving forward

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I  need a long-term perspective when it comes to the day-to-day plugging ahead on an issue that few people know about (the suffrage movement), but I’m certain it’s only just a matter of time before everything about it breaks loose.

I sense that Susan B. Anthony is impatient with news of ongoing attempts to make voting more difficult in many states. But she’s definitely pleased that the Women’s Rights National Historic Park in Seneca Falls, NY will hold a public meeting to seek public comments on Wednesday, August 22, 2012 regarding the  Votes for Women History Trail Route project.

This proposed plan moves ahead an effort to bring more attention to New York State’s rich cultural and heritage resources (especially Votes for Women), hopefully in time for the state’s centennial in 2017. This increased awareness is happening all over the U.S., so I must keep the larger picture in mind when I’m focusing on the daily baby steps forward. All this effort and interest will amount to something spectacular, one of these days.

The Omnibus Public Lands Management Act of 2009 authorized the Women’s Rights National Historical Park (NHP) to administer a Votes for Women History Trail Route. Among the properties that could be linked in such a trail:

Susan B. Anthony Memorial, Rochester; Antoinette Brown Blackwell Childhood Home, Henrietta; Ontario County Courthouse, Canandaigua; M’Clintock House, Waterloo; Jane Hunt House, Waterloo; Jacob P. Chamberlain House, Seneca Falls; Lorina Latham House, Seneca Falls; Wesleyan Chapel, Seneca Falls; Elizabeth Cady Stanton House, Seneca Falls; First Presbyterian Church, Seneca Falls; Race House, Seneca Falls, Seneca Falls; Hoskins House, Seneca Falls; Harriet Tubman Home for the Aged, Auburn; Harriet May Mills House, Syracuse; and Matilda Joslyn Gage House, Fayetteville.

So send the players in this scenario good thoughts. Keep your eye on a celebration on August 26th. Encouragement for a Susan B. Anthony party can be found right here on Suffrage Wagon News Channel.

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Suffrage wagon storytelling with the Hudson River Playback Theatre

I hadn’t planned to be on stage with the Hudson River Playback Theatre. In fact, this  was the last thing I predicted the Monday evening I spent attending a performance for organizations attending Service Week at Omega in Rhinebeck, NY.  I’d been on the road the previous three weeks from Long Island to Albany to Binghamton and back to the Hudson Valley again in hot clammy weather.

I was tired, but relaxing in the audience wasn’t meant to be. Hudson River Playback Theatre is interactive story theatre for dialogue and connection. The cast creates memorable theatre on the spot based on the true stories of people in the audience.

“Go up and tell your story,” Susan Zimet urged. Susan sat next to me in the audience, and I ignored her the first time she poked. Then her plea became a kick and an order:  “Do it, now.” You don’t say no to Susan.

Well, okay. I could tell about visiting Albany, the second floor of the capitol, to see Grandmother Edna’s suffrage campaign wagon in the women’s exhibit around the corner from the Hall of Governors. I could talk about Grandmother Edna being part of the grassroots suffrage movement and someone who campaigned in her horse-drawn wagon called the “Spirit of 1776″ on Long Island and NYC.  Then I’d throw in how I’d grown up with this icon of the suffrage movement, mention how every summer when I was a kid, my mother would dress us up. We’d visit my Grandfather Wilmer Kearns and he’d drag the old wagon out of the garage and we’d have our photo taken. It was important to mention how Edna died in 1934, so I had to learn about Edna from my mother and plowing through my grandmother’s writings, speeches, photos, news clippings packed in stacks of boxes. She saved everything.

Sarah Urech, the theatre’s assistant director, interviewed me on stage and made this part of the process easy. Then she asked me to choose who would play me (Jody Santriani), who would play Edna (the theatre’s director Jo Salas), and Grandfather Wilmer (Mateo). Musician Dean Jones backed up the performance on the piano.

Eeverything flowed from that point on with few props other than a curtain, wood boxes, and several scarves. Grandmother Edna came alive on stage, directing traffic from her soapbox wagon, leading marches to Albany, standing firm in her position that all American women should vote. There were few words, other than “Freedom,” and the finale became me, up on the soapbox wagon after Edna had departed, carrying on the unfinished work of the American Revolution.

Sarah Urech’s a master in helping people tell their stories. I found out later that she’s a distant cousin of Jeanette Rankin, suffragist and the first woman elected to the U.S. Congress. So this story joins all the others because Susan Zimet poked me and challenged me to march up to the stage and live beyond the boundaries.

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