Monthly Archives: February 2014

Upcoming Alice Paul book author claims new approach to suffrage leader

Book about Alice Paul: Claiming Power

Alice Paul: Claiming Power by J.D. Zahniser with Amelia R. Fry is an upcoming book expected to be published in September 2014 by Oxford University Press. Suffrage leader Alice Paul may have preferred to be remain out of the limelight as she organized the picketing of the White House and other controversial actions that resulted in the passage and ratification of the 19th amendment that granted American women the right to vote in 1920.

Scholarly works about Paul have been few and far between in recent years. One biographer simply gave up and said that Paul didn’t leave enough personal resources behind to be useful for historians. This upcoming book will be examined closely because Zahniser is expected to offer a new perspective about Paul’s entry into suffrage activism. She uses oral history resources gathered by historian Amelia Fry, as well as interviews with Paul’s friends and family. Fry’s extensive oral interview sessions with Paul are available online.

Upcoming: Women’s History Month in March and International Women’s Day on March 8th. Encourage young people to step forward!  Sign a petition and help high school students in California focus attention on the Equal Rights Amendment. Go to ERA web site and follow the progress (or lack of it) and how you can push things along.

Interesting links to articles to share: A provocative article from the Huffington Post about the sex lives of the founding fathers. A history of American women can be read between the lines, as well as directly. #1.  A novel by Sue Monk Kidd deals with the human issues associated with being a strong and independent woman during the time of slavery. #1.  A senior citizens blog recommends Seneca Falls, NY as a travel destination.  #1. #2.

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Meryl Streep will be headliner in new “Suffragette” film in UK

Suffrage Wagon News ChannelNext week the cast and crew for the UK film Suffragette will be busy as the cameras roll. Meryl Streep will play suffrage activist Emmeline Pankhurst in the Ruby Films drama. In February, the national League of Women Voters celebrates its 94th birthday since its founding following the passage and ratification of the 19th Amendment.

Every time a posting arrives in my box from the Montana women celebrating their state suffrage centennial, I’m excited. What’s a recent story? The Montana web site, “Women’s History Matters,” highlights real people from Montana, people on the grassroots, our friends and neighbors, or they would have been if we’d lived in those times and places. It’s a tender and respectful, and let me say a “sweet” acknowledgment of those who might have been in our families and communities, and they certainly fit into the larger human family. Take the article, “Rose Gordon: Daughter of a Slave and Small-Town Activist,” for example. I love it!

In Rose Gordon, I can see myself and many others who persisted in spite of the odds throughout life. When I write about my suffrage activist grandmother Edna Kearns, I’m also writing about the tens of thousands of women across the nation who put themselves on the line and made a mark, even if they didn’t realize it in the moment. The Montana suffrage celebrants are doing a terrific job. We stand on the shoulders of women like Rose Gordon.

For news about suffrage centennials, check out suffragecentennials.com

Follow the Suffrage Wagon for news and views of the suffrage movement. Celebrate women’s freedom to vote.

Suffragette fashion highlighted at New York Fashion Week

KAREN WALKER LOOK 1-0Marguerite's MusingsYeah for suffrage history and the way in which it is penetrating the mass culture. Just when I’m thinking that it can’t be possible to marginalize suffrage history any more, I’m surprised. The word is getting out. Like, there’s a suffrage focus on the History Channel during the month of March, and how about a top New York fashion designer who unveiled what she’s calling a glamorous fashion inspired by our grandmother’s and great grandmother’s generations?

I don’t have the shape to show off wearing such outfits, but I’ll tip my hat to those who do. A woman designer from New Zealand, Karen Walker, isn’t the first designer to tap into our women’s suffrage past. And she won’t be the last. The awareness of our history is happening. Every week across the nation, in communities large and small, so many suffrage-rekated events are scheduled that I can’t list them all in terms of exhibits, plays, conferences, lectures, art exhibits, forums, and much more.

Other updates from Suffrage Wagon News Channel: Madison Kimrey, the 12 year old identifying herself as part of a new generation of “suffragettes,” confronted the NC governor about making voting difficult for young people, and then she set up a Facebook page.

NC Youth RocksThe Facebook page highlights past and current activities that respond to guidelines relative to rolling back voting rights for young people.

Australian currency

What country followed New Zealand in granting women the right to vote on Planet Earth? Australia. This doesn’t mean that suffrage history is taught better in Australia than in other places around the world. I stumbled on a great blog article that addresses this point. The blog commentator noted:

“Most people know in a vague way that Australia was the second country to grant all women (except Aboriginal women, in some states) the right to vote after New Zealand, and if you didn’t know that, we super did and go us. That’s pretty much everything you learn about Australian women’s suffrage at school, which makes it seem like women were just gifted the vote without having to do anything. That’s wrong, sister — the suffragettes worked their petticoated butts off, touring the country and collecting thousands of signatures on petitions…”

Follow the Suffrage Wagon for news and views of the suffrage movement.

Help a high school class gather signatures for the ERA!

We’re interested in bringing our fabulous suffrage history of the past together with the present day and then informing and inspiring the future. One way is by visiting suffrage historic sites. Birthdays are always a fun celebration, especially with it being Susan B. Anthony’s birthday this weekend.

What better way to celebrate than to help a high school women’s studies class in California move the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) forward. I signed their petition. Add your name. ERA buttonThe students’ goal is 5,000 signers. They have about half that amount as I write this. Show them your support!

VIDEO: about suffrage activist Susan B. Anthony. ARTICLE  I wrote in New York History about Susan B. Anthony in Rochester, NY and her many fans.

Continuing on with the celebration of Susan’s birthday, she would have been at One Billion Rising on February 14th, the annual international event that brings attention to the necessity of ending violence against women and girls. It’s a rush to attend an event in your own community. I did. What about you?

Subscribe to a weekly journal that highlights a great deal of what’s going on in women’s history. Women’s History Weekly Digest from Chick History does just that, and you’ll hear the news in the words of the newsmakers themselves. Every week I skim through the digest and have found some gems to share on Suffrage Wagon. Go directly to the source. It’s only one email a week, and it’s worth signing up!

News Notes: C-Span video about Elizabeth Cady Stanton is worth watching. The Huffington Post featured Louise Bernikow’s article about teaching the suffrage movement to school children. It’s an interesting take on what’s ahead relative to bringing this important part of American history to light. See: #1. #2.

Follow the Suffrage Wagon through news, views and features about the suffrage movement!

Video and article: Join Susan B. Anthony in Rochester

Marguerite's MusingsWho loves Susan B. Anthony? Thousands of people, and that includes hundreds who attended the annual luncheon of the Susan B. Anthony House in Rochester, NY. this week. Susan’s birthday is on Saturday, February 15th.

I wrote an article about Susan, her fans in Rochester, and how the Susan B. Anthony House will be launching a virtual tour of the house in order to meet the demand. The story is about Susan’s fans today, as much as it is about Susan. Rochester, New York and the Susan B. Anthony House demonstrate a novel and very effective living history tied to economic development and education.

See my article in New York History. Article in PDF.

Video of Susan B. AnthonyThe article also features the horse chestnut tree growing outside the Susan B. Anthony House on 17 Madison Street in Rochester and how many are concerned because the tree didn’t produce chestnuts last year. Get the Big Picture about the preservation district that includes the house where Susan and her sister Mary lived for 40 years, the “1872 Cafe” around the corner where Susan voted illegally, the statues of Susan and Frederick Douglass having tea in a park down the street and much more .

Video: Commentary by Doris Stevens about Susan B. Anthony in “Jailed for Freedom,” 1920.

Follow feature articles by Marguerite Kearns and the Suffrage Wagon for news and views of the suffrage movement. Suffrage Wagon News Channel.

Get ready for upcoming events, plus Suffrage Wagon news review

Grandmother's Choice quilt projectJoin an international movement that builds on women’s civil rights movements of the past. One Billion Rising for Justice is on February 14th in 2014. I’ll be participating. Check out what’s happening in your community and join in!

MARK YOUR CALENDAR: February 15th is Susan B. Anthony’s birthday. A special article is planned. The month of March is Women’s History Month, so participate in events near where you live. Also join in by hosting friends and family for a tea party featuring goodies from your kitchen. March 8th is International Women’s Day. March 29th is the Seventh International SWAN Day or “Support Women Artists Now” Day. There have been over 1,000 SWAN Day events in 23 countries in the first few years of this holiday.

Sad to see the end of the online suffrage quilt project. See photo above. Over the past year I’ve been following the Grandmother’s Choice quilt blog project that has inspired and involved all sorts of people with Votes for Women history and quilts inspired by this fabulous time in our history. The projects have been varied and fascinating. The above illustration called “Gerry’s Suffrage Crazy Quilt” is one example. It demonstrates a terrific way to combine art, history, civil rights, and fun. Quilting is an extraordinary networking opportunity. #1. #2. 

Montana is moving full speed ahead with its suffrage centennial in 2014. It has a Facebook page, and the launch of media coverage. The Montana Historical Society points out that women didn’t serve on state juries until 1939, and the state celebration doesn’t include just “accomplished” women. A video gives an overview. For other suffrage centennial news from all over, follow suffragecentennials.com.

And now a Suffrage Wagon review of January. It was “Hot Tea Month” and we celebrated our past that’s tied to the present and future. January 3rd was Lucretia Mott’s birthday. She was featured on the New England Historical Society’s blog and there’s a new book out on Lucretia Mott by Carol Faulkner that I plan to read (another promise). For more information. Suffrage Wagon honored Joan of Arc’s birthday on January 6th with a special article from Kathleen Kelly about Joan and how the theme played out in the suffrage movement. Carrie Chapman Catt’s birthday in January didn’t go by on Suffrage Wagon without comment from one of her fans, Nate Levin, who shared a visit to Catt’s childhood home.

Follow the Suffrage Wagon. Postings twice a week. Facebook and Twitter. Vimeo and YouTube channels. Celebrate women’s freedom to vote.

“I walk on my suffragist grandmother’s carpet”: Marguerite’s Musings

Marguerite's Musingsby Marguerite Kearns

My writing space at home has two pieces of Oriental carpet –sections of the rug Grandmother Edna Kearns had in her home over 100 years ago. The carpet feels sturdy under my feet.  Though these remnants are now frayed and attract dog hair, I’d never expected this floor covering to have  lasted so long. But it has, just like the suffrage stories  Grandmother Edna passed down to me through my mother and of course, Edna’s own articles, stories and writings.

I can identify only a few things as having been touched by my grandmother. There’s the carpet, Edna’s tea tray, her silverware and letters, and suffrage archive. I walk on Edna’s carpet daily. Often I’m down on my knees tucking under frayed edges. When others mention how important it is to walk in other people’s shoes, I stand on Grandmother Edna’s carpet, listening to voices now faint (but growing louder) in this fast-moving world.

Suffrage stories are exciting. And they’re threatening. They’re a reminder of a time of grassroots organizing –people united in their determination to make change. We live in a time again of women rising, and at the same time, we are witnessing the last hurrah of a social system losing ground that no amount of legislation and other obstacles placed by backlash movements can change.

Grandmother Edna Kearns’ life has transformed me. The suffrage stories that have come down from her generation suggest the many ways in which it must have been a heady experience to have been involved in the suffrage movement. It represented a rush of sensation in a dead environment where education, marriage, political and personal power were limited, or for many, non existent. Women made many compromises, but the cat was out of the bag. Equality was on the horizon, and there was no turning back.

Women understood the value of working together, building constituencies, power and control through a nonviolent social revolution. As I walk on the carpet each day, I remember the legacy of our grandmothers and great grandmothers, as the power of their suffrage stories grow larger in spirit. The carpet’s surface is worn and beautiful in its strong threads.

Stay up to date with Marguerite’s Musings, plus news/views/stories  of the suffrage movement at the suffrage “go to place,” Suffrage Wagon News Channel.

Suffrage Wagon gathered speed in 2013 for women’s suffrage!

The "Spirit of 1776" suffrage wagonSuffrage Wagon News Channel celebrated a total of 350 posts since its inception in 2009. We have several platforms including the Suffrage Wagon blog and the web site. There’s a newsletter four times a year. I also post suffrage history on New York History, as well as Lets Rock the Cradle. Follow the suffrage wagon directly or touch in occasionally.

Edna Kearns is a 2014 National Women’s History Month nominee, as featured in the “Women’s History 2014 Gazette.”  New York Archives magazine article about the suffrage wagon, the “Spirit of 1776″ highlighted and summarized its history. And the “Spirit of 1776″ suffrage wagon was honored by a resolution by both houses of the New York State Legislature designating July 1, 2013 as Wagon Day in the state. During “Hot Tea Month” in January 2014, we featured videos on tea and the suffrage movement (See Video #1, #2), as well as Ken Florey’s articles about the role tea events had in organizing for the larger movement.

Tea for Two at Suffrage Wagon News ChannelWomen’s suffrage history isn’t a top draw, so considering what’s out in the marketplace for folks to consider thinking about, this is terrific. Suffrage Wagon News Channel has come a long way in the past four years as a multi-media platform about what it took for women to win the vote from 1848 to 1920. We also follow our sisters in the UK and around the world who have a passion for their history.

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