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?”
Meanwhile, back on the suffrage campaign trail, the women worked day and night, weekends and holidays. This 1912 article from my grandmother Edna’s suffrage movement archive gives the details of the work. The suffragists were frequently accused of being emotional about the issue of Votes for Women. The reporter Cora E. Morlan includes Dr. Anna Howard Shaw’s story of 15,000 men at a convention in Baltimore putting on a show or what she termed a “wild demonstration.” Now, who’s emotional?
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.
Ok, let’s get the not-so-good news over with. We didn’t make the $5,000 goal on Kickstarter. But let’s not forget the $1200 grant from the Puffin Foundation and the pledges and support from many many friends. Thank you!
In the Good News Department, Mayor David Coss of Santa Fe, New Mexico has joined an ever-growing number of people around the country who are supporting the New York State Museum in its efforts to obtain the funding it needs to put my grandmother Edna Buckman Kearns’ suffrage campaign wagon on permanent exhibit in Albany, NY (the state capitol). The museum has plans for a renovation that would feature the wagon, among other things. However, funding has been held up indefinitely because of budget issues.
Subscribe to this blog if you’d like to stay in touch with those of us who are following the the suffrage campaign wagon on its journey to be seen by you and the general public. By subscribing, you’ll receive updates a few times each month –not enough to clog your email account, but enough to stay on top of the wagon’s progress. The subscription form is at the top of the right-side column.
Posted in "Spirit of 1776", Edna Buckman Kearns, Kickstarter, New York State Women's History, Puffin Foundation, Suffrage Wagon, Votes for Women, voting rights, woman's suffrage, Women's Suffrage, women's history
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.
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!
Posted in "Spirit of 1776", 19th amendment, Kickstarter, right to vote, Suffrage Wagon, Votes for Women, voting rights, woman's suffrage, women, women suffrage, Women's Suffrage, women's history
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!
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.
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)
Posted in "Spirit of 1776", 19th amendment, Kickstarter, New York State Women's History, right to vote, suffragette, suffragist, Votes for Women, voting rights, woman's suffrage, women, women suffrage, Women's Suffrage, women's history
Mary Walton’s recent book, A Woman’s Crusade: Alice Paul and the Battle for the Ballot, has been introducing many people to the woman’s suffrage movement. In the mid-1990s, Walton had never heard of Alice Paul when her editor at the Philadelphia Inquirer suggested that she write a book on Paul and her contribution to American history. In the conclusion to her book, Walton noted: “The legal precedents set by the Woman’s Party protected later generations who took their protests for civil rights, an end to the Vietnam War, and other causes to the streets, sidewalks and parks around the White House and the Capitol. But more than that, Paul and her party virtually invented the modern tactics of nonviolent civil disobedience that those later protestors would use.”
It might be exaggerating the point to say that the suffragists “invented” modern tactics, but they certainly stretched the boundaries of actions commonly associated with civil disobedience.
I’m continuing to spread the word about the Kickstarter campaign. While I’m at it, I deliver 60-second history lessons wherever I can. One such tale is about how spreading the word about Votes for Women on Long Island in 1912 was no small accomplishment. This account from my grandmother’s files shows the details and about how the weather didn’t deter the women from the task at hand.
Posted in 19th amendment, 60-Second History Lesson, New York City, New York State Woman Suffrage Association, New York State Women's History, suffragette, suffragist, Votes for Women, voting rights, woman's suffrage, Women's Suffrage, women's history
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.
Posted in 19th amendment, 60-Second History Lesson, Long Island, New York, New York State Woman Suffrage Association, New York State Women's History, right to vote, suffragette, suffragist, Votes for Women, voting rights, woman's suffrage, women, women suffrage, Women's Suffrage, women's history
A film about the English suffrage movement called “Suffragettes” is in development. No votes for women in Saudi municipal elections. One hundredth anniversary of English boycott of census by suffragettes, an event that was inspired by Ghandi. There’s more suffrage news on the internet than ever before. The 100th anniversary of suffrage in the United States is in 2020, which isn’t tomorrow, but it suggests that the interest will increase in time.
My grandmother’s family history is important in the moral support it gave her to engage in Votes for Women. May Begley Buckman, her mother, was a temperance activist who was very much in support of woman’s suffrage. Edna Buckman Kearns was a ninth generation American on the Buckman side of her family. The Buckman family was the largest family group on the ship Welcome that came to the New World with William Penn, the first governor of Pennsylvania. I’m adding the first few generations to the “About Edna” page of this blog, with more to come. Here’s the information about Edna’s parents and grandparents. And the background about her Quaker great-grandparents and great-great grandparents.
The National Women’s History Project reported that their phone rang off the hook prior to and during March. Folks from around the nation called with reports of events and many questions. Louisiana women celebrated Votes for Women with a parade where they dressed in period costume.
During March a suffrage manuscript was uncovered in Connecticut that revealed the extent of organization it took to win the vote.
Posted in 19th amendment, 60-Second History Lesson, Personal genealogy & history, right to vote, suffragette, suffragist, Votes for Women, voting rights, woman's suffrage, women suffrage, Women's Suffrage, women's history
I need you to pledge to fund the completion of the film project I started last year. There’s a goal of $5,000 for polishing the editing, adding some more material, and getting the news out into the world. No money changes hands until we’ve reached the goal in early June. A lot of work has gone into this so far. And BTW, the Kickstarter boots are in your size!
Posted in 19th amendment, 60-Second History Lesson, Alice Paul, civil rights, human rights, right to vote, suffragette, suffragist, Votes for Women, voting rights, White House Picketing, Women's Suffrage, women's history
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.”
Posted in "Spirit of 1776", 19th amendment, Suffrage Wagon, Votes for Women, voting rights, woman's suffrage, women, women suffrage, Women's Suffrage, women's history
Tagged AAUW, The New Agenda
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.
Posted in "Spirit of 1776", 60-Second History Lesson, right to vote, Suffrage Wagon, Votes for Women, voting rights, woman's suffrage, women, women suffrage, Women's Suffrage, women's history
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.
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!
Posted in "Spirit of 1776", 19th amendment, 60-Second History Lesson, New York State Women's History, right to vote, Suffrage Wagon, Votes for Women, voting rights, woman's suffrage, women, women suffrage, Women's Suffrage, women's history
Add your own personal stories to the fabric of women’s history by going to this website: http://1000memories.com/women-in-history. You can include photos, narratives, and memories of your mothers, grandmothers, and heroines alongside many famous women from history. This special website allows for a collective celebration of women’s history and aims to create a place where current and future generations of women can be inspired by the role of women in history. The idea is to create a single place where the women important in each of our lives are remembered. When you click on any woman, you can see the richer details of her life in stories and photos.
Did you know that in 1990 President George H. W. Bush first declared March 10 to be Harriet Tubman Day? In 2003, New York State established the holiday.
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.
Posted in civil rights, Global Feminine, human rights, nonviolent resistance, right to vote, Votes for Women, voting rights, woman's suffrage, women, Women's Suffrage, women's history
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.
Posted in "Spirit of 1776", 19th amendment, civil rights, human rights, right to vote, Suffrage Wagon, Votes for Women, voting rights, woman's suffrage, women, women suffrage, Women's Suffrage, women's history
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.
Posted in 19th amendment, civil rights, human rights, Long Island, New York State Women's History, right to vote, Votes for Women, voting rights, woman's suffrage, women, women suffrage, Women's Suffrage, women's history
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!
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!
Posted in civil rights, human rights, nonviolent resistance, right to vote, Votes for Women, voting rights, woman's suffrage, women, women suffrage, Women's Suffrage, women's history
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.
Posted in 19th amendment, human rights, New York State Women's History, right to vote, Votes for Women, voting rights, woman's suffrage, women, women suffrage, Women's Suffrage, women's 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!
Posted in 19th amendment, Alice Paul, human rights, nonviolent resistance, right to vote, voting rights, woman's suffrage, women, women suffrage, Women's Suffrage, women's history
It was a cold night in front of the Metropolitan Opera House when suffrage leader Alice Paul, my grandmother Edna and other women demonstrated when U.S. president Woodrow Wilson was in New York City. The police rushed the demonstrators, pushed them around and broke their banners. This article — “Suffragists and Police in Fierce Fight” from my grandmother’s archives — has her notes accompanying the March 5, 1919 article. “Untrue,” Edna says of the account, where a reporter attributed the incident to 200 “maddened Suffragists” who were the recipients of the attack, not the aggressors. Edna saved the broken stick that held her banner. Alice Paul and the National Women’s Party were determined to hold Wilson’s feet to the fire so that enough support could be generated to assure the passage of the 19th amendment to the U.S. constitution which gave all American women the right to vote.
In the past, not all feedback about the idea of women voting was negative. Many prominent people put themselves on the line, including Walter Clark, chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court. He wrote to suffrage leader Alice Paul toward the end of the national suffrage campaign to pass the 19th amendment: “Your place in History is assured. There were politicians, and a large degree of public sentiment, which could be won only by the methods you adopted.” Justice Clark was referring to the direct action taken by Alice Paul and the National Woman’s Party, which at the time was extremely controversial. Nowadays we take the civil rights movement to expand the franchise for granted. At the time it polarized people, as well as brought them together.
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
Posted in civil rights, human rights, nonviolent resistance, right to vote, Votes for Women, voting rights, woman's suffrage, women, women suffrage, Women's Suffrage, women's history
Tagged Elisabeth Freeman, Elizabeth Freeman, Martha Klatschken
I’m planning a Susan B. Anthony birthday celebration next month. More about this soon! And there’s news from Velya Jancz-Urban who always wanted a “Votes for Women” tea pot to go with her china set that has been stored away. Here’s what she said about it. Now the entire set will be coming out of storage just in time for afternoon tea party season. February 15th is Susan B. Anthony’s birthday and a perfect opportunity for Velya to use the “Votes for Women” dish set, which by the way, is available at the gift shop at the Susan B. Anthony House, among other places. Photo: Velya opens her teapot gift during the holidays.
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.
Posted in 19th amendment, 60-Second History Lesson, Alice Paul, civil rights, human rights, nonviolent resistance, right to vote, Votes for Women, voting rights, White House Picketing, woman's suffrage, women, women suffrage, Women's Suffrage, women's history
Tagged Alice Paul Day, Alice Paul Institute
A Jack and the Beanstalk Complex is a fear of never being able to overpower the giant at the top of the beanstalk and thus, missing out on the treasure. When down in the dumps, it feels better some days to just curl up in bed and pull the covers over your head after hearing yet another tale about the condition of the planet today.
In July of 1911, suffragist Carolyn Katzenstein identified the Jack and the Beanstalk Complex by name after setting off with colleagues Alice Paul and Lucy Burns for a Votes for Women street meeting in Philadelphia. Carolyn froze after confronting a police officer, and she later wrote: “I am frank to confess that I seemed to develop a sort of Jack and the Beanstalk Complex because the policeman on the beat near our corner appeared to grow taller and taller and bigger and bigger the closer we got to him. To me, he seemed to be not an arm of the law but the whole body of it!”
You can and will overcome a Jack and the Beanstalk Complex, by simply joining me and others on the trail of the suffrage campaign wagon. The U.S. suffrage movement has been called “a solid historical milestone” by scholar and historian Eleanor Flexner, as well as “the largest social transformation in American history” by filmmaker Ken Burns.
The secrets and stories of this movement are yours, merely by subscribing to this blog. The form is in the upper right column. Type in your email address. Subscribing is free and a great way to stay in touch. What’s there to lose? Your roots can only grow deeper. And you’ll spring out of bed in the morning in the knowledge that others have faced the same anxieties and lived to celebrate a great victory.
I should have known I had “marching on Albany” in my DNA. It would have made life so much easier. And it had to have been a stretch for my grandparents, Edna and Wilmer Kearns (marked on the photo above), when they headed out with suffrage activist Rosalie Jones and others from Long Island on New Year’s Day in 1914 for the trek to Albany, NY to speak to the governor about Votes for Women. Hiking was quite a media event, and the NY Times was there as the hikers started north. My grandmother Edna sent on-the-scene reports back to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle where she was an editor for suffrage news. The photo below is from the Bain Collection at the Library of Congress. Edna and Wilmer and their oldest daughter Serena are seen there, on the right, walking near the flag.
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.”
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?
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.
Posted in New York City, New York State Women's History, right to vote, Votes for Women, voting rights, woman's suffrage, women, women suffrage, Women's Suffrage, women's history
Tagged Christmas, Edna May Buckman
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.
Sister Suffragette scene from film "Mary Poppins"
The song “Sister Suffragette” in a clip from the 1964 Disney film Mary Poppins represents an introduction to women’s history for many. It has been used in lesson plans, as well as to refer to the English suffrage movement. It’s worth revisiting the scene through YouTube: “Sister Suffragete Sing Along,” the written lyrics, or a more sober clip of news commentary such as “Who were the suffragettes?”
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.
This “Sixty-Second History Lesson” highlights how suffragist Alice Paul took up the challenge of organizing a Votes for Women parade in 1913 in the nation’s capitol. It was a delicate, and some would say an impossible task–to organize a successful parade as the city geared up for the inauguration of a U.S. president, Woodrow Wilson.
Alice’s intention was, not only for the parade to be politically effective, but for it to be an art form. Paul’s intention was described in a letter to a friend: “Therefore, while we want, of course, marchers, above all things, we are endeavoring to make the procession a particularly beautiful one, so that it will be noteworthy on account of its beauty even if we are not able to make it so on account of its numbers.” The beauty and art of the parade were set into motion, but as it turned out – the city and its inhabitants weren’t in the mood to respond in quite the way Alice Paul had imagined.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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: “My Chica 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!).”
If a national holiday is designated for suffragist Alice Paul, she will be the first woman honored by a national holiday. Help get the movement going with an online petition. Many people across the nation are remembering the Night of Terror. Sign the petition and spread the word.
We owe much to suffragist Alice Paul!
There’s a buzz about women’s suffrage. Amazement about Alice Paul. A huge celebration in Washington State. Reviews, commentary. Check it out and appeciate all the time it took to do this wrap up of the Iron Jawed Angels spirit that’s out there. It takes time to link up with what’s being said and this is about the last time I’ll do it…if only to make the point that appreciation and recognition of the suffrage movement is the Talk of the Town.
Contemporary ecofashion inspired by suffrage movement. Commentary about League of Women Voters. Reflections on Alice Paul and associates. Blog entry by Utah woman. Commentary from England. Elizabeth Cady Stanton not a happy camper on her birthday. Remembering Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Washington State celebrates 100 years of women voting. Touring theatrical company performs play about suffrage movement in Washington State. Suffrage movement source of pride in Washington State. People agreed to share power in Washington State. “Oh, the women are coming to Seattle.” Long overdue recognition of Anna Ella Carroll. British suffrage movement referred to in article about digital activism. Remembering Jeanette Rankin. Abigail Smith Adams bio, plus suffrage photos and books. Women in the U.S. Senate. Suffrage movement cited by John McCain’s daughter. Internet radio interview about the suffrage movement and Alice Paul. Listen online. The ups and downs of the American suffrage movement. Low moments during the 2010 elections. More about the celebration in Washington State. Votes for Women Tea Towel. Appreciation expressed to suffragists and their sacrifices. Anthony arrested for voting. Reflections on election day. Inspired by “Iron Jawed Angels.”