Category Archives: women

New suffragette feature film in UK: Suffrage Wagon News Notes

NewsNotesA lot on our plate: The Brits are ahead of us with an announcement about a new feature film about the suffrage movement under production! #1. #2. Do you know about the Suffragette Cocktail? #1 #2. The “anti” suffrage forces are on the move –the same old thing and with the attitude of a former generation. #1. #2. 

Video on how to make the best roast corn for your next cookout. Introducing Suffrage Wagon Cooking School. It’s part of our suffrage centennial series, and 2013 is the centennial of the “Spirit of 1776’s” first journey. You’ll love this way of cooking from Chef Cutting. Make your next cookout a sensation!

August is perfect to begin planning for a high tea in early November to commemorate the Night of Terror. A quick refresher. This may seem early, but it’s also when planning should be underway on how to celebrate Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s birthday on November 12th.  And also, there’s the Night of Terror in November. It’s a possibility for a gathering of friends because there’s more possibilities for a program about our history that will have guests sitting on the edge of their seats.

Norway is having its suffrage centennial this year. The June events may be over, but there’s an international conference in November 2013 that promises to be interesting. For more information. Chick History has news items worth subscribing to. #1. #2. Women’s issues that haven’t changed since 1911. #1. #2. Activist school in UK was once called Suffragette Summer School. #1.165 years since the Seneca Falls convention of 1848. #1. #2.

And if you haven’t ever traveled to Seneca Falls, NY, it’s still warm weather right now. Visit our page on Seneca Falls resources.

Video of the Declaration of Sentiments, 1848, reading by Amelia Bowen. Video about the “Spirit of 1776″ resolution that declared July 1, 2013 Wagon Day in NYS. Ode to the “Spirit of 1776″ wagon.

News items to think about: Bad jokes about women’s rights aren’t funny these days. #1. #2.  Long Island exhibit includes women’s suffrage. #1. #2. And what about Votes for Women on the east end of Long Island? #1. #2. The Women’s Equality Agenda highlights. #1. #2. NOW impatient with politicians with histories of objectifying women. #1. #2. Another suffragist ancestor honored. #1. Illinois suffrage centennial produces play. #1. #2.  The force feedings are still remembered. #1. #2.

Suffrage Wagon has its own YouTube channel. We’re posting new videos all the time. Visit Suffrage Wagon’s feature platform.

Susan B. Anthony is a corker! Find out for yourself!

Cartoon of Susan B. Anthony

They called her Aunt Susan and she had so many adopted nieces, people couldn’t keep count. That’s why this post features a ten-minute audio clip from “Jailed for Freedom” by Doris Stevens, published back in Grandmother Edna’s day, that gives you a feeling of almost being there.

Susan B. Anthony died before the ratification of the 19th amendment that gave women the right to vote in 1920. So when August 26th comes around this year, at a time when people aren’t usually thinking about Aunt Susan, consider the possibility of having a party. There are lessons to be learned by putting on a skit about Susan. How about courage? Vision. Inner strength. She had her eye on the prize of women voting and wouldn’t give up. These themes are eternal.

I didn’t even have a script when I directed and produced my own Susan skit back in 2010. I went to the primary sources, lifted lines straight from the record, recruited the cast, and everyone had a blast with dress ups. The audience got the point.

So if you’ve been toying with the idea of putting on a program for August 26th (Women’s Equality Day) or a special fundraiser or other event for your friends, organization, or club, try Susan B. Anthony’s arrest in 1872 and her trial for voting. The trial was a hit at the Susan B. Anthony birthday party I organized in February of 2010, and it’s especially relevant for other special events because it’s an example of nonviolent civil disobedience. Susan was arrested for voting, and everyone knew back then that women couldn’t vote.

The audio clip on this post is a wonderful resource, plus the internet is a great resource for finding quotes from Susan, as well as her speeches, for reading out loud.  Here’s Susan B.’s petition to Congress in January of 1874. And resources from Susan’s trial record. Think about it! It’s a great way to introduce young people to Aunt Susan and there are great parts: Susan, the officer who arrests her, the district attorney, and the judge. Drama, conflict, plenty of action. Great lines.

Now –see how you do on a quiz about Susan B. Anthony.

Alice Paul: the most overlooked civil rights leader of the 20th century!

Alice Paul is finally getting the recognition she deserves. Yet, during her lifetime she wasn’t interested in glory. She kept her eye on the prize: women’s rights and the vote. This video fills in a great deal. And keep in mind that author Mary Walton never heard of Alice Paul before a newspaper editor brought Paul to her attention. Meanwhile, this interview highlights where Walton calls Paul “the most overlooked civil rights leader of the 20th century.”

Be the first on your block to know!

Check out these Suffrage Wagon News Channel tidbits: The Alice Paul Institute has a YouTube Channel about its mission and activities.

Back in 1910, marching in the streets was a radical idea. The idea was so outrageous that enormous crowds turned out as spectators. Activist Harriot Stanton Blatch, who organized the first New York City suffrage parade, summed up the impact of a good parade by saying nothing “. . . could be more stirring than hundreds of women, carrying banners, marching –marching –marching.” For some women, the idea of marching was simply unacceptable, and they wanted nothing to do with it. Many others loved the drama and the downright impact of a good march. The New York Times called a 1912 suffrage parade “the like of which New York never knew before.”

REMINDER: On September 20th, “History Detectives” will feature a substantial segment on the suffrage movement in upstate New York. Education is a slow process and perhaps some day people won’t stare back with quizzical expressions on their faces when we mention the woman’s suffrage movement. Remind friends and family members to tune into PBS.

“Let them wimmin get the vote and stop making so much fuss!”

This story is from a New York Tribune article from Grandmother Edna Kearns’ archive documenting her woman’s suffrage activism on Long Island and New York City.

When Edna’s suffrage campaign wagon was presented to the state suffrage organization in 1913, a big crowd was in attendance, and the event received considerable media attention. 

Free download of suffrage music

Music. You gotta have music on August 26th, even if it’s from your own boom box. For starters, performer Gerri Gribi has a free download of “Oh, Dear, What can the matter be?” which is direct from the suffrage movement.  And playing “Fall in Line,” a suffrage march, will give your High Tea an air of authenticity. Formal invitations aren’t necessary. Surprise your guests by phoning them personally.

The program (below) is also from the February 1915 tea at the Hotel Biltmore honoring Susan B. Anthony and Dr. Anna Howard Shaw. It’s an example of the effort poured into movement tea parties and receptions. Check out the video about Rep. Bella Abzug who sponsored federal legislation for the creation of Women’s Equality Day in 1971.  The August 26th observance acknowledges the Votes for Women victory in 1920 and makes a bridge between the past and the present.

Woman’s suffrage is going national!

Find out more about “History Detectives” and Louise Bernikow’s appearance on the program.
Feedback I’ve been getting suggests that training is necessary in the art of High Tea. The Atlanta Board of Education produced a training film for young women that covers the basics of putting on a tea. Films like this aren’t being made any more. It covers “correct behavior,” proper form and dress, “etiquette and taste, where the tea-pot should be placed and more. Also, check out other training films in the archive of the Suffrage Wagon News Channel.

I like to use the program for the 1915 tea in honor of Susan B. Anthony and Dr. Anna Howard Shaw as an example of how to organize a similar event, even if it’s just you in charge of the organization. The enlargement for the image above may be slow in loading, but it’s worth the wait because the size is 100 percent. On the right page of the program, there’s the who, what, where and when. The suffrage quotes speak for the issue and justify the importance of the occasion, as do the patrons who are an integral part of the fundraising. If you think I’m pushing the 1915 tea, you’re right! Grandmother Edna was on the planning committee.

Don’t forget to put September 20th on your calendar in 2011!

A great story about California’s women singing for the vote . . .

There’s an excellent audio documentary prepared for “The California Report” about the upcoming state’s 100th anniversary suffrage celebration. You can access it with a click right here. There’s a great deal going on in California these days. The following news items are just a few examples, including a report about the League of Women Voters of California and a suffrage exhibit.

The 100th suffrage anniversary in California is a terrific backdrop to ongoing preparations for celebrating Women’s Equality Day on August 26th. Some folks are organizing the full-tilt high tea reception. Others are moving toward such a commitment gradually by meeting a friend at a local coffee or tea house. However… we’re all gonna have a good time.

Little-known fact: Women hissed a U.S. President

The suffragists didn’t take the insults by U.S. President William Howard Taft lightly when he addressed their organization, the National American Woman Suffrage Organization– back in April of 1910. Taft had been known to oppose women voting, but perhaps he’d at least be polite in addressing their convention. Instead, he launched into a tirade about how extending the vote to women would be a disaster. The audience hissed, to which Taft said that self restraint was part of the game. Later, the organization officially apologized to Taft, but the point had been made. The women were up against very powerful individuals and interests.

Is this story true? A two-minute suffrage podcast.

It’s all in the telling, and the suffragists are believed to have written their own version of the tale. In March of 1913. U.S. President-elect Woodrow Wilson arrived at the train station in Washington, DC all geared up for his inauguration ceremony. He expected  to be the center of attention, but he wasn’t. “Where are the people?” he is alleged to have asked. The response: “On the Avenue watching the suffragists parade.”

Doris Stevens in her book, “Jailed for Freedom,” tells the story as fact. Here’s her story about the parade in a two-minute clip. The reading is brought to us by Librivox.

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.

Who gave her life for Votes for Women?

The English had their martyr –Emily Davison who threw herself in front of the King’s horse to bring attention to the cause of Votes for Women. In the U.S., Inez Milholland was well known for riding a horse in suffrage parades. Milholland died on the campaign trail when barnstorming in the West.  She was known as the couragous woman who died with the word of “Liberty” on her lips. Suffragists repeated her words often when confronting U.S. President Woodrow Wilson: “Mr. President, how long must women wait for liberty?”

NYC Mayor and NYS Governor Cite Suffrage Movement in Major Speeches

The suff movement has been acknowledged in recent public speeches by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo. In the course of expressing support for marriage equality in New York, these two officials highlighted the woman’s suffrage movement in New York.

In a letter to New Yorkers on May 26, 2011, Governor Andrew Cuomo said the following: “New York has a proud, progressive history as a national leader in bringing greater equality and respect for all. From the fight for women’s suffrage to the struggle for civil rights, New Yorkers have not only been on the right side of history, we have made history. . .” A brief clip from Cuomo’s speech.   Check out Cuomo’s full video message.

Noted Mayor Bloomberg: “And the question for every New York State lawmaker is: Do you want to be remembered as a leader on civil rights? Or an obstructionist? Remember, on matters of freedom and equality, history has not remembered obstructionists kindly. Not on abolition. Not on abortion. Not on women’s suffrage. Not on workers’ rights. Not on civil rights. And it will be no different on marriage rights.” A brief audio selection from the Mayor’s speech.

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!

Hanging In, While Making Another Dent!

Some days I have no idea if I’m making a dent when I write yet another letter about the Kickstarter campaign.

I stand on strong shoulders when remembering the suffragists’ persistence. When suff lobbyist Maude Younger approached Senator Irvine Lenroot in the halls of Congress, he snapped at her: “Nagging. If you women would only stop nagging.”

Maude also had a sense of humor about her determination. She described Senator Thomas Martin as someone who “…would not sit down and talk suffrage, nor would he stand up and talk it. The only way to discuss suffrage with Senator Martin was to run beside him down the hall.” She said that talking suffrage with the senator was “very good exercise.” Maude was well known for her card index of representatives which turned out to be a very effective and not-so-secret advantage when lobbying.

NOW, BACK TO REALITY. There are 23 days left and the Kickstarter project is only 16 percent funded. The clock is ticking!

Film Project Receives Grant From Puffin Foundation

Great news! One big step toward the reaching the dream of finishing the documentary about my grandmother and the woman’s suffrage movement was accomplished this week with the news that the Puffin Foundation has awarded $1200 toward the completion of the work. Don’t put away your pens. This doesn’t count toward the Kickstarter campaign that is underway until the beginning of June. However, it’s a huge leap forward, and one that strengthens my dream of having the news of Edna’s suffrage campaign wagon spread to large numbers of people.

Help Me Realize My Dream!

Grandmother Edna's suffrage campaign wagon

My dream is that my grandmother Edna’s suffrage campaign wagon will be put on permanent exhibit at the New York State Museum in Albany, NY. And that the edited documentary I’m in the process of producing will be played on a monitor next to the wagon. An unrealistic vision? I don’t think so. It’s my dream and I stand determined to reach the goal of raising $5,000 to professionally edit the work in progress. Which is why I’m cranking up the Kickstarter campaign. There are 31 days to go before the end of the campaign. Honor the hard work that went into the state and national Votes for Women campaigns.

“It is doubtful if any man, even among suffrage men, ever realized what the suffrage struggle came to mean to women before the end was allowed in America. How much of time, patience, how much work, energy and aspiration, how much faith, hope, how much despair went into it. It leaves its mark on one, such a struggle. It fills the days and it rides the nights. Working, eating, drinking, sleeping, it is there. . .”

Carrie Chapman Catt and Nettie Rogers Shuler (suffrage leaders)

The Whirlwind Campaign of Long Island: 1912

The women hit the streets, literally, when barnstorming Long island for Votes for Women in 1912. They also kept excellent records, took charge of their own publicity, and understood the importance of being visible.Long Island's 1912 campaign

My Grandmother Stepped Up to Volunteer!

This appeal from the New York Suffrage Newsletter of August 1912 spelled out precisely the tasks volunteers needed to do:  help out at headquarters and sell the newsletter. My grandmother did everything that was requested. She sent out suffrage leaflets in her correspondence, stamped “Votes for Women” on her checks. She recruited supporters, sold newsletters, gave speeches, participated in local clubs and organizations, marched in parades, and much more. Suffrage campaigners also sold flags, arm bands, leaflets, buttons, place cards, seals, pencils, rubber stamps, drinking cups, posters, blotters, stationary, and baskets. The personalized trinket industry was busy back then, just as it is today!

Don’t forget to pledge to support the Kickstarter campaign. Watch the video.

Slow Start, But Spirited Movement Forward!

Check out the story on my newest project about my grandmother and the “Spirit of 1776,” her suffrage campaign wagon.

And the newsletter from the Santa Fe chapter of the AAUW which said about the March presentation: “The March branch meeting was one not to miss. We had such a good time. Marguerite Kearns regaled us with tales of her grandmother who was a very active suffragist in New York State. She also had a slide show of artifacts from her grandmother’s life. Gerri Gribi taught us a suffragist song and she also sang several women’s folk songs for us. Talk about steel-willed women! Those Victorian ladies were a force to behold. And we are beholden to them.”

Yeah, Team! On the Road!

It feels good to have affirmation about spreading the story. Yesterday I spoke to about a hundred DOE employees in Albuquerque — a program sponsored by the Federal Women’s Program. The program was terrific. I started out by saying that I suspected history might not have been their favorite subject in school and got them laughing at my past associations in history class: yawning, daydreaming, watching the clock and waiting for the bell to ring. Then I followed up by saying that I didn’t intend to lecture them, but rather instead tell them a story and show them photos about my grandmother and family’s association with my grandmother’s suffrage campaign wagon. My grandmother, Edna Buckman Kearns, is an example of the tens of thousands of women across the U.S. who worked together to win the vote. History is much more interesting with a personal angle. I found this to be especially true when I spoke to high school history students at the New Mexico School for the Arts in late February.

The “Spirit of 1776″

Emmeline Pankhurst addresses crowd in U.S.

English suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst trumpeted the spirit of 1776 in her famous 1913 speech, “Freedom or Death,” when on a speaking tour in the United States: “We found that all the fine phrases about freedom and liberty were entirely for male consumption, and that they did not in any way apply to women. When it was said taxation without representation is tyranny, when it was ‘Taxation of men without representation is tyranny,’ everybody quite calmly accepted the fact that women had to pay taxes and even were sent to prison if they failed to pay them – quite right. We found that ‘Government of the people, by the people and for the people’ . . . was again only for male consumption; half of the people were entirely ignored; it was the duty of women to pay their taxes and obey the laws and look as pleasant as they could under the circumstances. In fact, every principle of liberty enunciated in any civilised country on earth, with very few exceptions, was intended entirely for men, and when women tried to force the putting into practice of these principles, for women, then they discovered they had come into a very, very unpleasant situation indeed.” Entire text of speech.

Passing the Torch: Family tradition to sit in the suffrage wagon

Hana sitting in "Spirit of 1776"

My niece Hana, shown here, represents the fourth generation in my family to sit in the “Spirit of 1776,” my grandmother’s suffrage campaign wagon. It was a tradition in my family to be photographed in the wagon, and it was also a way of passing the torch of story to the next generation. Few summers passed without my mother gathering up us kids, marching us over to my grandfather’s house. He opened the garage door, dragged out grandmother Edna’s suffrage campaign wagon, and my mother took our photos. Of course it took me many years to get to the point where I was ready to pass the torch to the next generation, and it takes many forms. In this podcast, I’m being interviewed about my grandmother by Marzia Dessi, a student at Northern New Mexico College, during February 2011. Marzia’s interested in our history, the woman’s suffrage movement, and how the past relates to young women today. Listen in!

“Stories of Smarts, Tactics, Courage and Stick-to-it-iveness”

Bonnie Smith of Boston, MA says she may not be related to the American suffragists by family, but she’s related “profoundly in spirit.” Bonnie has a great web site worth checking out, an ebook about how to create a women’s history trail in your community, and an enthusiasm that won’t quit.

She says: “I recently gave a walking tour in downtown Boston of women’s history sites for an international group of women economists who were attending a conference at Simmons College. It changed my life, and every talk or tour I have given ever since.

“These women were from all over the world, including parts of Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. They asked very specific questions about tactics, how things worked (courts, government, etc.). They wanted to know exactly how people got it done. I suddenly realized that I WAS TALKING TO THE LUCY STONES OF THESE COUNTRIES. They wanted to know tactics and strategy and they need the support of the global female community.

“I believe that we Americans have a special responsibility to support reformers and revolutionaries. . . I believe strongly that ‘our’ stories are inspiring to the world. Despite all of our issues, people do still look to America for inspiration. I would love to see more of ‘our’ suffragists promoted on international sites.”

Bonnie’s perspective on why the story of the 19th amendment isn’t better known is worth checking out: “We still suffer with backlash, with a lack of understanding about the word ‘feminist,’ and with too many people — including the media — promoting the notion that we are in a post-feminist age — which is ridiculous. The big challenge, though, is to teach this information in ways that are inspiring and relevant — to connect the dots to today. All too often, this information is presented in a strident, preachy way and it really doesn’t have to be! These are very inspiring stories of smarts, tactics, courage, and stick-to-it-iveness.”

Visit the web site for Bonnie’s suggestions on how your business can celebrate Women’s History Month.

International Women’s Day 2011

Selection below from the International Women’s Day web site:

“. . . International Women’s Day is now an official holiday in Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China (for women only), Cuba, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Madagascar (for women only), Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal (for women only), Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Zambia. The tradition sees men honouring their mothers, wives, girlfriends, colleagues, etc with flowers and small gifts. In some countries IWD has the equivalent status of Mother’s Day where children give small presents to their mothers and grandmothers.”

On International Women’s Day, Dr. Ida Lichter reminds us to remember and support today’s “new suffragists” in her op-ed piece. Ida Lichter is the author of Muslim Women Reformers: Inspiring Voices Against Oppression.

Be a Backer for Film About Votes for Women

Help us stand on the shoulders of courageous, determined women whose insistence on winning the right to vote carried forward the ideals of this country’s founders. Play an important part in telling the story through the Kickstarter campaign, “Hitch a Ride on the ‘Spirit of 1776.'” Make sure that an important part of our nation’s history isn’t forgotten. Back the work in progress about my grandmother who represents the thousands of women who persisted until Votes for Women was won. No money changes hands unless we reach our goal. Get on the bandwagon now! It’s Women’s History Month and there’s no time like the present.

How my Grandmother risked her life for Votes for Women

I wrote this award-winning story about how my grandmother (Edna Buckman Kearns) risked her life for Votes for Women; it takes us back to 1915. And what a great way to kick off the many activities of Women’s History Month! Accompanying this tale is a contribution by Tara Bloyd, Edna’s great granddaughter, who seasons the story with her favorite corn soup recipe. My grandmother Edna canned fruits and vegetables and made jam to raise money for the women’s suffrage movement. While our family saved some of Edna’s plates and dishes, the most prized possession is Edna’s canned corn which is featured in the story.

Women’s History Special Programs in New Mexico

It’s going to be a busy month for me as I join up with musician Gerri Gribi who’s bringing her autoharp and mountain dulcimer to the Santa Fe area for a whirlwind performance tour to celebrate Women’s History Month. She’ll be singing and I’ll tell stories about my grandmother, Edna Buckman Kearns. Gerri and I will be at the New Mexico School for the Arts, on KSFR radio with Diego Mulligan, the featured guests at a Saturday, March 5th meeting of the Santa Fe chapter of the American Association of University Women, as well as presenting a special program and afternoon tea party on Sunday, March 6th for the Abiquiu Library and Cultural Center. Later in the month, there’s a women’s history program for federal employees in Albuquerque. I’ll be breathless and exhausted by the end of March!

“Fall in Line” Suffrage March

Listen to the band play “Fall in Line” (Suffrage March) composed by Zena S. Hawn. This tune was at the top of the program at a special tea held on February 9, 1915 to celebrate the birthdays of Susan B. Anthony and Dr. Anna Howard Shaw. My grandmother was one of about 30 women on the planning committee for the event at the Hotel Biltmore in New York City. I used the 1915 program as a guide for planning a Susan B. Anthony party in Santa Fe during February. Birthday parties and elegant teas in honor of suffrage leaders were common during the women’s suffrage movement, and we’re falling in line by carrying on the tradition. Celebrate Women’s History Month by having a party with your friends and organization. A teapot, some tea and cookies. That’s all it takes. If you’re looking for a program, rent “Not For Ourselves Alone” which is about Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.  It’s also available on Netflix instant play. Screen it in advance. Roll out the tea and sweets and have a great time!

Happy Birthday, Susan B. Anthony!

We had a great time on Saturday, February 12th celebrating Susan B. Anthony’s birthday in Santa Fe. Tea and sweets. Live music. A dramatic presentation and commentary. Here’s the program! The edited script from the public record of Susan’s arrest for voting in 1872 was a hit. Susan’s feisty spirit amazed the group of about 25 who gathered at the Quaker Meeting on Canyon Road (Susan was raised a Quaker). Celebrating Susan’s birthday is part of a long tradition in the U.S. Ninety-six years ago, my grandmother (Edna Buckman Kearns) was on the planning committee of a Susan B. Anthony tea at the Hotel Biltmore in NYC. See the Feb. 9, 1915 program: page 1 -page 2 -page 3 March is Women’s History Month, and the time is NOW to be planning a women’s history program or afternoon tea of your own during March. See the planning page on our web site. Large birthday parties were thrown for Susan in 1870, 1890, 1900 and 1906. A new book by Penny Coleman will be published in May 2011 about the significance of the friendship and working relationship of Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Also, take an online tour of the Susan B. Anthony House in New York State.

Take a Quiz on Women’s Suffrage History

I know. Many people never learned anything about suffrage history in school. Most have picked it up along the way, and even more are just learning. This fun quiz plots your progress. Give it a whirl!

Water Dumped on Suffs’ Heads

Speaking from soap boxes in the street wasn’t an activity without its risks, as is noted by this June 30, 1914 New York Times article about an associate of my grandmother, Martha Klatschken, who had cold water dumped on her head when she was out advocating for Votes for Women at Twelfth Street and Avenue B in NYC.

With the observance of Martin Luther King Day this week, there’s also an awareness of other civil rights movements in the U.S., including the woman’s suffrage movement.

Below: Go to the web site about Elizabeth Freeman for more information: www.elizabethfreeman.org

Elisabeth Freeman on a soapbox, speaking for Votes for Women

Jailed for Freedom: Alice Paul

Alice Paul, important civil rights leader of the 20th century

From Doris Stevens’ book “Jailed for Freedom”– about suffrage leader Alice Paul: “Most people conjure up a menacing picture when a person is called not only a general, but a militant one. In appearance Alice Paul is anything but menacing.”

Stevens continues: “Quiet, almost mouselike, this frail young Quakeress sits in silence and baffles you with her contradictions. Large, soft, gray eyes that strike you with a positive impact make you feel the indescribable force and power behind them. A mass of soft brown hair, caught easily at the neck, makes the contour of her head strong and graceful. Tiny, fragile hands that look more like an X-ray picture of hands, rest in her lap in Quakerish pose. Her whole atmosphere when she is not in action is one of strength and quiet determination. In action she is swift, alert, almost panther-like in her movements. Dressed always in simple frocks, preferably soft shades of purple, she conforms to an individual style and taste of her own rather than to the prevailing vogue.”

January 11th is Alice Paul’s birthday. January is a powerful month for birthdays of important activists. Lucretia Mott. Joan of Arc. Sojourner Truth. And many more.

 

Celebrate Alice Paul Day on January 11, 2011

My grandmother Edna worked with suffrage leader Alice Paul on the national campaign to win Votes for Women.

It’s the goal of many Americans to have the day of January 11th (Alice Paul’s birthday) designated as a national holiday. Have you signed the petition? Have you thought about planning high tea during 2011 for your friends or organization as a way to talk about the issues?

Take a look at this video piece about Alice that was produced by the Alice Paul Institute. They have ecards that you can send to friends and associates . . . for example, “You have a voice. Thank Alice.” “You can speak up. Thank Alice.” Author Mary Walton calls Alice Paul “the most overlooked American civil rights leader of the 20th century.” One source worth checking out is an Alice Paul interview conducted by Amelia Fry that’s available online.

Who are the new suffragists today?

Women throughout the world who are struggling for recognition, participation in the political process –and freedom in general– they are the new suffragists. Someone to be acknowledged in this area is Ida Lichter, a psychiatrist who lives in Sydney, Australia. Her recent book, Muslim Women Reformers: Inspiring Voices Against Oppression, is a carefully researched and illuminating account of what Ida calls “the new suffragists” of today. I highly recommend it.

In a recent email exchange, Ida and I discussed the link between the U.S. suffrage movement and the “new suffragists.” Ida said: “Although there are different campaigns for equal rights in a variety of Muslim countries, I was struck by the passion, courage and determination of many women reformers to achieve equality with men by focusing on the injustice of discriminatory laws. They utilize scholarly exegesis to unmask the egalitarianism they believe to be inherent in the Koran but expunged by a patriarchal, tribal reading. Like the suffragists, they aim to achieve enfranchisement and equal rights, and many women, particularly in Iran, have taken part in well-organized peaceful protests and a One Million Signatures Campaign, risking injury, arrest and detention. They also want an end to the infantilization and idealization that characterized misogyny in the West for centuries and is still prevalent in many Muslim societies. In their quest, they embrace a historic revision of the patriarchy and a new definition of Muslim women by women.”

Ida is on Twitter and I’ve been following her recent posts so that our rich history and tradition can be linked to those struggling in the world today. It’s possible to offer much-needed support inspired by the “Spirit of 1776.”

Why Did The Story About Votes for Women Get Lost?

Check out this three-minute podcast that’s a selection from an interview with performer Gerri Gribi in the “Votes for Women Salon” series. She believes that history is taught in the context of war, not movements for peaceful nonviolent social change, which is one reason why the story of the 19th amendment hasn’t been given its due. The suffrage movement was the fulfillment of the promise of 1776 where the country’s founders declared that all men were created equal. Women wanted to be part of the political process, and they banded together to win the vote.

Find out more about Gerri Gribi online. Stay tuned for other points of view about why the story of the 19th amendment has been lost. What do you think?

A Special Suffrage Christmas Tree!

My grandmother Edna May Buckman was born Christmas day in 1882, the daughter of Charles Harper Buckman and May Phipps Begley.   I found a 1910 article about a Christmas suffrage tree and holiday party that shows how the holiday festivities were tied to the suffrage organizing in New York City and it’s precisely the kind of event Edna and daughter Serena would have enjoyed. The children attending the 1910 suffrage holiday party walked away with candy wrapped in suffrage colors and a Votes for Women button.

Did the Suffragettes Sing When They Marched In Parades?

You bet they did, says performer Gerri Gribi. Listen to a two-minute segment of a longer audio interview with Gerri where she discusses the role of music in suffrage activism. Gerri performs suffrage songs for audiences across the country during special programs and celebrations highlighting the suffrage movement and other occasions related to women’s social and musical history. Songs were important in parades. At special teas and receptions it wasn’t uncommon to have a woman performer either sing or play a musical instrument.

My Mother Would Be 90 years Old This Year

My mother –Wilma Buckman Kearns– was born within a week of that historic day in November 1920 when ALL American women voted for the first time. Wilma’s mother, Edna Buckman Kearns, was a New York State suffragist who had spent more than a decade of her life, working full time on Votes for Women. And instead of being able to fulfill the hopes and dreams of the suffragists, my own mother would face the Crash of 1929, the Great Depression, World War II, and raising children during the 1950s and 1960s. It was a difficult time to be a strong independent woman. It took me years to fully appreciate the strong shoulders on which I stand. Wilma played a key role in preserving her mother’s suffrage campaign wagon.  She passed away in November of 1997.

An “unprecedented moment”

Relationships between men and women have been getting a lot of play. At a TED conference in Washington this week, the speakers lined up to present a wide range of points of view. Conference speaker Hannah Rosin noted that the present time is “an unprecedented moment when the power dynamics between men and women are shifting.” Women constitute the majority of the work force and they dominate the professions of medicine, the law and accounting, she said. The entire CNN article has a lineup of surprising perspectives worth checking out.

More Holiday Gift Ideas

The shop at the National Women’s Hall of Fame is loaded with gift ideas for the girls and women in your life. Take a look at books, bookmarks, puzzles, buttons, calendars, card games, t-shirts, postcards, baby items and DVDs. Also, you can head over to ebay and type in Votes for Women. Original postcards are reasonably priced and there’s a lot of stuff for collectors who won’t be able to resist some of the offerings.

“strong, courageous, capable young women will take our place…”

Susan B. Anthony: “We little dreamed when we began this contest, optimistic with the hope and buoyancy of youth, that half a century later we would be compelled to leave the finish of the battle to another generation of women. But our hearts are filled with joy to know that they enter upon this task equipped with a college education, with business experience, with the fully admitted right to speak in public –all of which were denied to women fifty years ago. They have practically but one point to gain –the suffrage; we had all. These strong, courageous, capable young women will take our place and complete our work. There is an army of them where we were but a handful.”

Holiday Gift Ideas for the Girls and Women in Your Life

Replica "Votes for Women" plate.

There are gifts galore to choose from and you don’t have to leave home! Replica “Votes for Women” dinner plates come with high recommendations. See comments by Veyla Jancz-Urban. You can order items from the “Votes for Women” tea sets online at the Susan B. Anthony House gift shop, plus many other items. Zazzle has many personalized suffrage gift items, as does Cafe Press –whether it’s a mug, t-shirt, poster, set of stickers, mouse pad. Chances are. . . if they don’t have it, they’ll make it for you. The Louisa May Alcott House has a shop full of suffrage goodies. And don’t forget CDs and books. The online shop of the National Women’s History Project has a wide range of items from women’s history, including books for readers of all ages, games and educational items.

“The Day the Mountains Move”

The day the mountains move has come/ I speak, but no one believes me./ For a time the mountains have been asleep,/ But long ago they all danced with fire. / It doesn’t matter if you believe this, / My friend, as long as you believe:/All the sleeping women / Are now awake and moving.    Yosano Akiko (Japan, 1911).

It’s All About Spirit and Spunk

Votes for Women Tea Set is a great gift idea representing spirit and working together!

A modern-day version of spirit is gaining ground in a movement called the Chica Peeps. It celebrates the close bonds women have in supporting each other which is defined as: Chica Peeps[chee - ka peeps], noun; a sisterhood of strength and support; a group of three or more women who anchor, guide and nurture each other, often through humor.

Although my grandmother never heard the term Chica Peeps, it’s definitely something she experienced as women rallied to win the vote. Velya Jancz-Urban, a Chica Peep organizer, sees the connection between suffrage, Chica Peeps and a suffrage tea set.  The replica tea set is packed away beyond her reach (for now anyway), but it’s one of those possessions with both personal and historical meaning, according to Velya.

Velya faced a serious personal challenge two years ago which she survived, in large part, due to the support of her Chica Peeps. She explains: “MChica Peeps helped make me whole again. I got to thinking that if I have Chica Peeps, than other women must also have them. Chica Peeps has now taken on a life of its own and seems to be what many women are looking for.

“As far as the Suffrage Movement goes, I guess my interest in women’s issues began when I was quite little after my first trip to Newport, Rhode Island. While I loved the mansions, it was Alva Vanderbilt Belmont who really fascinated me and I have read just about everything that exists on her. To think that American women were granted the right to vote only six years before my own mother was born astounded me! Of course I know about Alice Paul, Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, but Alva really appeals to me because of her legendary intrusive and aristocratic manner which antagonized some of the women’s rights leaders of the time, yet she was sincere about gaining equality for women. The best gift I’ve ever received was the complete set of reproduction ‘Votes for Women’ dinnerware my husband purchased for me on our 20th wedding anniversary (it will be our 28th anniversary on 11/28!) when we were in Newport. . . Last week I told my family that unpacking the box that contains the ‘Vote for Women’ plates will be a happy moment for me! So, from Alva Vanderbilt Belmont’s Marble House and Chinese Tea House where she held her suffrage rallies, to Brazil, and now to Chica Peeps I guess women have always fascinated me – I’ve come full circle (but I wish I had my plates!).”

Women Political Candidates Feel the Sting

The Associated Press published an article, “Sexism Still a Problem for Women Seeking office” that highlights the attacks on women running for political office that the writer, David Crary, pointed out went beyond the boundaries of ordinary political attacks and what he described were gender specific. It’s worth checking out.

Beyond that, these attacks are reminiscent of the woman’s suffrage movement when suffragists were called on the carpet for not taking care of their families and daring to leave the safety of the home where they belonged. In my grandmother Edna Kearns’ papers, there are various references to this, such as when she marched in parades in Washington, DC and New York City where such taunts from the sidelines were common.

IN OTHER NEWS:

Material Mama blog and commentary about the history of voting. Digitized copy of The Woman’s Bible. Colorado women voted ahead of the countryLucy Hayes on stage. Women shouldn’t give away their power. Book on women in the South. Historians remember harsh history of woman’s suffrageRemember the past to shape the future.

National Suffrage Memorial is Long Overdue

Plans for a national suffrage memorial at Occoquan Regional Park in Lorton, Va. are underway to bring recognition to the woman’s suffrage movement. Finally!  The conceptual design for the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial has been unveiled. Fundraising is underway. Design features for the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial include: Entrance Plaza Gates duplicating the White House gates where suffragists stood as “silent sentinels” in protest and held “watchfire for freedom” rallies. Commemorative Banners anchoring the entrance, replicating those carried by the suffragists. A Memorial Cascade and Waterfall emanating from a wall mounted with more than 120 stainless steel plaques that identify the women incarcerated for the cause and copy the design of the “jailed for freedom” pin that was presented to them by Alice PaulA Footbridge Into A Memorial Meditation Garden symbolizing the crossing over and/or advancement of the movement and signifying the continuing push for equality. Nineteen Interactive Vignettes along a winding path that will provide the history of the suffragist movement and the story of the women held at the Occoquan Workhouse.

Historians with the Sewall Belmont House and a Smithsonian curator are participating in the creation of the vignettes. The memorial is expected to cost between two and four million dollars and the goal is to have the memorial built by the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment in August of 2020. The memorial’s organizers have a online newsletter and ambitious ideas.

Suffrage News from All Over!

Women remember the jailing of suffragists. “Iron Jawed Angels” is still being talked about. College student speaks about apathy and the value of voting. Reflections on Alice Paul. Washington State resident shares about her great-grandmother who was a suffragist. One hundred years of voting in Washington State. Scholar and biographer discusses Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Newspaper columnist reviews the history of women voting. British women use 1912 suffrage theatre performance as a fundraiser. New Mexico had a woman governor for two weeks in 1924. A detailed Woman’s Suffrage Timeline.

In other news, the League of Women Voters of Saratoga County (NY) is holding a celebration of the 90th anniversary of woman’s suffrage on Friday, November 12, 2010 (7:30-9:30 p.m.) at the Saratoga Music Hall at City Hall, 474 Broadway. There will be a dramatic reading of the “Declaration of Sentiments” written by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and read by Coline Jenkins, the great great granddaughter of Elizabeth Cady Stanton. The 19th amendment to the US Constitution, written by Susan B. Anthony, will be read by Shirley Anthony Carman and Beverly Marx, first cousins, four times removed from Susan B. Anthony. There will be a champagne toast to the suffragists, a musical tribute, and food. $20 members and $25 non members.

Suffrage Documentary to be Showcased in Silver City, NM

The upcoming November election, the Day of the Dead, and the 90th anniversary of U.S. women voting all converge with a shrine to suffragist Edna Buckman Kearns that will be on display from October 25 through November 14 in Silver City, New Mexico in the Silver City Day of the Dead Shrine Show.  The exhibit, spread throughout Silver City in 14 businesses and galleries, showcases the shrines of 21 artists. The opening reception is Friday, October 29, 2010, 6-9 p.m. at the A-Space Studio Gallery, 110 West 7th Street. Exhibits fall into the categories of contemporary and traditional shrines. Many shrines are traditional, such as Chickie Beltran’s shrine honoring miners and Gloria Beltran’s shrine honoring the Apache.

“Five Generations and the Million Dollar Wagon” is an example of a contemporary shrine in the form of a 19-minute documentary honoring Edna Buckman Kearns who campaigned for woman’s suffrage. This shrine also acknowledges the thousands of American women who campaigned for the vote over a 70-year period, an effort which was launched in 1848 with the woman’s rights convention held in Seneca Falls, New York.

Serena Kearns: Poster Child for Suffrage

To me, she was Aunt Serena. To the many people who knew my grandmother Edna, Serena was the poster child for the suffrage movement in New York City and Long Island. Edna Kearns was the suffrage editor for The Brooklyn Daily Eagle which meant Serena went everywhere with her mother. She rode in the suffrage wagon, handed out literature and even went to Washington, DC to picket the White House. Photo from the collection of Edna Buckman Kearns.