When I was young, my mother told me that boys and girls were equal and that I could do whatever I wanted in life. I believed her. Of course there were occasions when I received mixed messages, such as the “woman driver” jokes I heard some older relatives tell. I assumed that these cynical opinions about gender were perversions. Given time and some education, these carriers of negativity would see the light. After all, Mother knew best. Boys and girls were equal.
It took years before I realized that the story of the suffrage movement and women’s role in history had disappeared into a deep dark hole and someone needed to do something about it. Me, for example. When I watch vintage film footage of suffragists marching in the streets today, I can’t help myself. Whether it’s the film Iron Jawed Angels or the documentary Not for Ourselves Alone, it doesn’t matter. I wipe away tears and think about how most of my life I’d also been influenced by the party line. You know –how the suffrage movement is yesterday’s news and an old fashioned movement without much to teach us today.
The more I dig into Grandmother Edna’s archives and papers, the more I’m certain that the suffrage story is finally coming into its own. I’m amazed at the persistence and sophistication of these marvelous activists. My grandmother was a grassroots mover and shaker who understood how to build personal and community power. She believed in and carried out the basic principles of community organizing. Tens of thousands of other suffrage activists like Edna led the way, so as women we have this in our DNA –whether or not we have a certified suffragist activist in our family line. Tens of thousands of women participated in the movement and their names will never be known. Which is why I persist in telling the suffrage story. Thank you for coming along with me for the ride.
“Marguerite’s Musings” appear on a regular basis in Suffrage Wagon.
I can’t tell you how happy I am to see the interest and attention increasing over the planned events March 1-3, 2013, in Washington, DC to commemorate the centennial of the 1913 big suffrage parade.
What a time. It’s when Grandmother Edna Kearns met Alice Paul for the first time, though they did have similar cultural roots as Quakers. Grandfather Wilmer marched in the men’s division. Young Serena Kearns marched with her mother Edna as part of a Quaker delegation, all of them in traditional dress. Edna wrote about it for New York City newspapers. The movement needed the press.
Suffrage hikers stormed into Washington (including Rosalie Jones, Elizabeth Freeman and others), excited from all the press coverage. The suffrage parade itself was a masterpiece of planning, vision, and symbolism. And the reaction and resistance to the suffrage message equally strong. People kept on talking about the suffrage activists who simply wouldn’t give up.
The centennial celebrations in Washington this year are expected to be great. And the year 2013 is the centennial for Grandmother Edna’s suffrage wagon. And everywhere I turn there’s something else.
“One Billion Rising” is set for February 14th this year, and it’s the dream realized from our suffrage ancestors. We’re participating. Make sure you do as well. LINK. I’m putting together a tribute to Susan B. Anthony this month. Make sure you’re subscribed to Suffrage Wagon. LINK. Alice Paul will get considerable attention during March and Women’s History Month because of the centennial celebration of the 1913 suffrage parade. Schedule and other information concerning this exciting upcoming event. LINK. New videos are posted regularly on Suffrage Wagon News Channel. Take a look.
Huddling under the covers mornings until the last minute like me because it’s so cold? Still trying to dig your way out of the snow in the driveway? Needing some last-minute gift ideas for the suffrage buff in your life?
It’s freezing here and the snow hasn’t cleared from my back yard. But more gift ideas are coming in. One idea is the music CD by Bob Warren featuring Susan B. Anthony. “Only the Message Mattered” is available on CD Baby and Amazon. You can listen to mp3 samples online. For more information.
Check out our special page with gift ideas for the suffrage buff in your life.
Find out about Grandmother Edna’s birthday on December 25th. She’ll be 120 years old.
Video wishing Suffrage Wagon News Channel a happy third birthday during December 2012.
Subscribe to Suffrage Wagon News Channel and don’t miss updates during 2013. Don’t forget to check out our regularly-updated magazine page.
Grandmother Edna was born on Christmas day in 1882. My mother told me how Edna hated having her birthday on Christmas. She claimed to always get shirt shrift as a child when it came to gifts and attention on her birthday.
For Edna, Christmas meant books as gifts; each book contained sweet messages from family members. Edna’s gifts of books to her two daughters on Christmases past ended up in my hands as an eager young reader with the date on the inside cover and a Merry Christmas from “Dearie,” which is how her daughters addressed her, and not “Mother.” Oh, what a scandal it was in those days not to call one’s mother by her role. I loved the Louisa May Alcott series starting with Little Women, all the way through to Jo’s Boys.
Christmas meant holly and mistletoe to Grandmother Edna, plus hand-made sachets of dried roses and lavender, storytelling next to the fireplace as holiday tree candles burned on Christmas eve and the kitchen buzzed with talk of fruitcake, candied pineapple and citrus… MORE of the article!
Marguerite’s Musings is a feature of Suffrage Wagon News Channel. Special feature for the upcoming holidays: Gifts for the suffrage buff in your life.
Big wins for women in 2012 election. LINK PDF See also: LINK Sign a petition designating a federal holiday to honor our suffrage ancestors. LINK. PDF. The election is over and women have made a mark on the landscape. Slide show of 92 years of women voting. LINK.
It has been quite a year. Women rising in all sorts of ways and in different directions. This weekend “Sister Giant” held an important conference in Los Angeles with an estimated 1,000 people in attendance and many more participating with streaming coverage.
I’ve been digging into Grandmother Edna’s stories. Reading her columns and the documentation of her suffrage organizing on Long Island and New York City has me submerged. When I come up for air — the story of Grandmother Edna Kearns continues. Yeah! Carry on!
The subject of suffrage won’t go away in the here and now. There’s plenty to consider in this news notes roundup. Seneca Falls Dialogues held in late October. LINK. PDF. Malala: the tragic case that reminds of serious work still to be done! LINK. PDF. One woman who opposes women voting today. LINK PDF.
“American Suffragist in Africa” was a three-lecture course at the University of Cape Town about Rebecca Hourwich Reyher (1897-1987). Link #1.Link#1a. Update on UK women’s library. Link #2. Women’s history digital library is live. Link #3. Link #3a. Digital collection of women’s posters from the Center for Women’s Global Leadership. Link #4. Link #4a. Primary source digital collections for women’s history. Link #5. Chapel that was key to suffrage movement. Link #6. Link #6a.
More on the suffrage quilt project. Link #7. Link #7a. Minnie Fisher Cunningham collection. Link #8. Link #8a. First woman to run for U.S. President. Link #9. Link #9a. Question as to why more women don’t run for public office. Link #10. Link #10a. Commentary about women as decoration in the past. Link #11. Link 11a. There’s nothing like the persistence of Bruce Dearstyne who’s holding New York State’s feet to the fire. See blog posting in New York History where Dearstyne poses provocative questions about New York’s commitment to its history.
Controversy about study claiming that women vote with their hormones. Link #12. Link #12a. A survey of women in advertising. Link #13. Link #13a. Important women’s suffrage lecture in Oregon. Link #14. Link #14a. Teaching accomplished women in college courses. Link #15. Link #15a. Seneca Falls Dialogues. Link #16. Link #16a. Importance of woman moderator at second presidential candidate debate. Link #17. Link #17a. Teaching about the suffrage movement can get sticky in Texas –review of a documentary. Link #18. Link #18a. Nominations for NYS women of history. Link #19. Link #19a. Writer Alice Walker has a new poem about “Democratic Womanism.” LINK. The Statue of Liberty is closed indefinitely in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. LINK. PDF.
There’s a live link, plus a PDF in the event the live link is no longer available. Goodbye to broken links when it’s a matter of staying up to date with suffrage news and events. Enjoy!
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