Category Archives: right to vote

Plan a party for Women’s Equality Day!

Clear the decks for a party celebrating Women’s Equality Day on August 26th! Need some help when it comes to getting excited about the passage of the 19th amendment? If you’re planning high tea and you’d like a program or memorabilia to go with the sweets, the National Women’s History Project has a collection of materials you’ll find useful: “Women Change America” place mats, equality-day balloons, posters, banners, speeches, a 15-minute Powerpoint, CD with 17 songs, video presentation for grade 7 to adult, purple and gold sashes, and a Women’s Equality Day program kit. Or a program could be as simple as asking people to write the answers to the Women’s Equality Quiz.

Just create an invitation, decide on the place, your guests, the menu. And you’re on your way to hosting a party. If it still seems daunting, just think about the number of people who will tell you afterwards: “Thank you for doing this!” This is the first of several postings this month in preparation for a party celebrating women winning the vote. If you can’t get it together for August, start a “to do” planning list for parties in January (Alice Paul Day) and Susan B. Anthony’s birthday in February.

Point of view from a Canadian lover of suffrage history

Barbara Allisen

I don’t remember when I first learned about the Canadian suffrage movement at school, but I do remember that politics were often discussed in our home. We lived in a very small farming community and the community hall, where elections were held, was across the street. Not all members of the family had the same voting preferences and should one of the females express a different opinion, teasing would follow about how terrible things were since women had been given the right to vote. But voting was taken seriously, and it was fully expected that each person who could vote would do so. I remember some farmers whose X signatures had to be witnessed because they could not write their names. At school, we had Civil Studies and held class elections. Much of the information I know comes from stories about the lives of these and other pioneer women I read after graduating from college.

On January 27, 1914, Nellie McClung and several hundred supporters filled the Legislative Building in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Nellie delivered the message: “We are not here to ask for a reform or a gift or a favor, but for a right–not for mercy but for justice.”

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Lucy Burns donned an evening gown to get Churchill’s attention!

Lucy Burns.

Keeping the issue of voting alive and in the minds of politicians was an important tactic of the English suffragettes in 1909. It wasn’t one action that did the trick, but the constant reminders, in unexpected places, at unexpected times. Lucy Burns was an American, who with Alice Paul, was radicalized in the English front lines of suffrage. One evening she dressed in an elegant gown, socialized with the dignitaries at a fancy-dress ball, and then approached Winston Churchill. After waving a banner in  his face, she asked: “How can you dine here while women are starving in prison?”

The police removed her from the building, and Churchill got the message.

News from the NYS Museum

No one likes the belt tightening underway in organizations and institutions across the nation. And the distribution of pink slips in offices at the New York State Museum is no exception. The museum’s employees held their collective breath in 2010 when 12 staffers were laid off, and then again recently. There’s a breeze blowing through the museum these days when one considers that one third of its staff disappeared in just over a year due to layoffs, forced and voluntary retirements. In the past six months, the museum has closed its doors on Sundays, removed some exhibits and contracted its cafeteria out for cultural events. Some observers are wondering if the state museum will be able to carry out its legislative mandates.

How will this impact my grandmother’s suffrage campaign wagon that sits stored in a museum warehouse in the Albany area? No one knows at this point. With the 100th anniversary of women voting in NYS coming up in 2017, there are many reasons why New York should be planning an enormous celebration –one that will highlight the extraordinary accomplishment of New York women that was a tipping point in the national campaign.

All the more reason for us to continue gathering support for museum officials and those in the state’s executive chambers charged with budgetary matters to take the necessary steps to get the suffrage wagon out of the warehouse and on permanent exhibit. Let’s see what happens next!

That we always remember the “Night of Terror”

Dorothy Day was among the suffragists arrested after picketing the White House in 1917. She said: "Those first six days of inactivity were as six thousand years. To lie there through the long day, to feel the nausea and emptiness of hunger, the dazedness at the beginning and the feverish mental activity that came after. I lost all consciousness of any cause. . . I could only feel the darkness and desolation around me."

One day to go on Kickstarter campaign for suffrage documentary!

This is a reminder about the Kickstarter campaign for the suffrage documentary ends Friday afternoon, June 3rd. And this posting has some interesting web pages to look at after you’ve visited the Kickstarter site.

The suffrage movement was coming into its own at the time of film and moving pictures. Here’s a link to a suffrage video gallery. Enjoy!

If you aren’t aware of the Susan B. Anthony handbag, this article from the New  York Times will bring you up to date. And if you’ve ever wondered about suffrage collectables, Legacy America lays out what’s available and what it costs.

BUST Magazine Publishes Last-Minute Appeal for Suff Film

Check out “Bust Magazine” online for an affirmative last-minute appeal to raise the $5,000 slated to fund the production of a professional version of the story about the suffrage campaign wagon used by my grandmother Edna in the Votes for Women campaign. And please pass the word. I still believe in miracles.

Here’s the link!