They’re talking down in Washington, DC about a national women’s history museum

Congressional hearing on national women's history museumThe Committee on House Administration in the U.S. Congress held a hearing on December 11, 2013 to hear testimony about establishing a commission to study the creation of a national women’s museum in the nation’s Capitol. Online streaming brought the session to a broad audience across the country.

The Washington Post covered the hearing and published this report: #1. #2.

While this hearing represents a dramatic breakthrough for the idea of a national women’s museum whose advocates have never testified on this issue before, this campaign has a 15-year history. The testimony of three witnesses only confirmed what others have already discovered. It’s challenging to get support for women’s history and related issues. And, persistence pays off.

This is an example of how it’s necessary to work on simultaneous fronts and with partners to achieve important goals when bringing women’s history out of a dark closet where it has been on the back burner for decades.

Holiday news notes: December 2013

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A story about Long Island suffrage activist Rosalie Jones, her “anti” mother and sister

Rosalie Gardiner JonesNate Levin is a real suffrage buff, and he found the article about the “Spirit of 1776″ wagon and the Huntington, NY confrontation with Mrs. Jones described in the recent New York Archives article as “fascinating.” Why?

Because Rosalie Jones, a prominent NYS suffrage activist, was from a divided family where her mother and sister were outspoken in their negativity about women voting. They weren’t shy in expressing their point of view that women had their own work to do and politics constituted a messy business. If you haven’t seen the article, take a peek with this link. And check out the video about Rosalie Jones from images that are part of the Library of Congress collection.

My grandmother Edna Kearns worked with Rosalie Jones on Long Island suffrage organizing, as well as Elisabeth Freeman who we’ll be hearing more of in 2014. Last year I paid a visit to Peg Johnston, Elisabeth’s great niece. And Elizabeth’s other great niece, Jane Van De Bogart, an old friend, was instrumental in starting me on my journey back in 1986 to discover the life and times of my grandmother.

The wagon’s exhibit in Kingston, NY was in conjunction with the Floating Foundation of Photography in High Falls, NY and the visionary work of curator Jone Miller.  It represented the first time the “Spirit of 1776″ was seen in public in New York since the days when Edna Kearns hitched a horse to the wagon and took it out on the road herself. So there’s a lot of history associated with the “Spirit of 1776″ wagon. Jane Van De Bogart and her mother Nettie, joined us in the programming at SUNY New Paltz back in 1986 (and several other programs at New Paltz College), as did my mother Wilma, plus Peg Johnston and her mother Ruth.

Watch the video about NYS suffrage activist Rosalie Jones and then imagine what it must have been like at the dinner table for the Jones family at their homes in New York City and on Long Island when the subject of women voting was raised. Video link. Long Island historian Natalie Naylor  has written extensively about Long Island women, and Rosalie Jones in particular. Natalie says that Rosalie is one of her favorite NYS suffrage activists.  Natalie’s book. Antonia Petrash’s book on the Long Island suffrage movement has an entire chapter devoted to Rosalie Jones.

Follow Suffrage Wagon News Channel, your “go to” place for suffrage news and views, celebrations, events and centennials. Follow the “Spirit of 1776″ in postings twice a week and special newsletters four times each year.

Stirrings about 2017 suffrage centennial for New York, plus other news notes

News NotesI did some baking recently and then put my feet up to watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” that many believe was set in Seneca Falls, NY. #1. #2. The resulting article was published this week in “New York History.” It highlights the town and its cottage industry, including the Frank Capra film and women’s rights sites.

There’s an increased number of references to the upcoming 2017 suffrage centennial  in New York State. #1. #2.  New York may be the “cradle” of the women’s rights movement in the U.S., but move on over and let the torch enter. #1. #2.

Do you know that the first country claiming to be the first in women’s suffrage –Pitcairn– had its 175th suffrage anniversary this year? Pitcairn disputes New Zealand’s claim to be number one in the world by challenging the definition of a “country.” Today, Pitcairn has 36 residents of voting age: 19 women and 17 men. They spent their 175th women’s suffrage anniversary on November 29th with a feast prepared by the men for the women. Most of Pitcairn’s 60 residents are descended from mutinous sailors of a British ship. #1. #2.

Misc. News Notes: Gloria Steinem was awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama. Among the facts listed in a bio published by CNN is the fact that her grandmother, Pauline Perlmutter Steinem, served as president of the Ohio Woman Suffrage Association. #1. #2.  U.S. President Barack Obama referred to the civil rights and suffrage movements when presenting recently to a room of young people at the White House Youth Summit.

Advice from the heart of Rochester, New York where local heroes include Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony. The greats were helped by others. They didn’t do everything alone. Don’t forget this, says local commentator. #1. #2.  Looking to name a baby? This article scans history and finds some extraordinary women with very unusual names. #1. #2.  February luncheon is set for Susan B. Anthony’s birthday in February 2014 at the Susan B. Anthony House in Rochester, NY. #1. #2. 

How about a book for the suffrage buffs in your life this holiday season? The National Women’s History Project has quite a selection. And Elizabeth Crawford publishes suffrage stories and offers books on the suffrage movement. Current offerings are available in her December 2013 catalog. Great possibilities for gifts year round.

Follow Suffrage Wagon News Channel, a multi-media news and story platform about women’s suffrage and how the 19th amendment came about. LetsRockTheCradle.com deals with building awareness of the “Cradle” of the U.S. women’s rights movement in the U.S. 

Wilmer Kearns introduces December Suffrage News Notes

Wilmer R. KearnsThis is, after all, a news channel. And that means I follow what’s happening in the larger world of issues, events, centennials, books and perspectives about women’s suffrage, as well as  the accomplishments of the  suffrage movement and how we  build on that base today. Of course, my passion is inherited from my suffragist activist grandmother, Edna Buckman Kearns, who was born on December 25th.

This year I’ll be celebrating her 121st birthday, and so these news notes are for her, and for my grandfather Wilmer Kearns who told me the suffrage stories when I was young. I grew up hearing my Grandaddy Kearns talk about the movement. Only now do I fully appreciate his contributions and the role the suffrage movement played in his life. This is one of those occasions when Edna steps aside and my grandfather Wilmer Kearns, born and raised in Beavertown, PA, takes over with introducing the first of the Suffrage Wagon news notes for December.

Much-talked about video from UN Women. See also: #1. #2.  From the UK where suffrage history is honored: Susan B. Anthony had her horse chestnut tree that still shades her home at 17 Madison Street in Rochester, NY.  Glascow has a tree too, an oak planted in 1918 to honor the suffrage movement. #1. #2.  Wales honors one of its suffragettes: Emily Phipps. #1. #2.  “Woman and her Sphere” highlights the 1911 census boycott by the English suffragettes. #1. #2.

The Turning Point Suffragist Memorial Association is gearing up for more fundraising to build a memorial to the women whose harsh incarceration at the Occoquan Workhouse was a turning point in the effort to secure voting rights for all women. Stay up to date on these efforts by visiting their web site.

 

Don’t forget the recent article about the “Spirit of 1776″ suffrage campaign wagon and Grandmother Edna Kearns’ big confrontation in Huntington, NY in 1913. It’s from “New York Archives” magazine and reprinted with permission.

Suffrage Wagon News Channel publishes posts twice a week and a quarterly newsletter four times a year. Follow us. We’re a mulit-media platform of news, stories, features, videos and much more about women’s suffrage and the suffrage movement. Videos are added often to the Suffrage Wagon video channel. Check them out! 

December 25th birthdays for suffragists Edna Kearns and Martha Wright

Martha Wright & Edna Kearns birthdays

It’s sufragist Edna Kearns‘ birthday on December 25th, as well as Seneca Falls convention heavyweight Martha Wright.

Video to celebrate these December 25th birthdays.

Edna Kearns (1882-1934) is cited as one of two suffragists of the month in December 2013 for the Long Island women’s suffrage site.  #1. #2. Want to give a gift? Edna Kearns has her own chapter in Antonia Petrash’s 2013 book about women’s suffrage: Long Island and the Woman Suffrage Movement. To order. And then a look at the information about Long Island historian Natalie Naylor‘s book where Edna is also featured.

Past postings about the life of Edna Kearns: Video about the love of Edna’s life: Wilmer Kearns, a response to reader requests. See video about WilmerMarguerite Kearns muses about Grandmother Edna’s birthday on December 25th. The highlights of Edna Kearns’ life on Wikipedia. Videos and background about Edna Kearns.

Edna shares a December 25th birthday with Martha Wright, who may not be as well known as her sister, Lucretia Mott, but she was a mover and shaker at Seneca Falls nonetheless. Give someone a suffrage book this holiday season. Antonia Petrash’s book highlights Grandmother Edna, plus many other suffrage activists on Long Island, some of whom may surprise you. And A Very Dangerous Woman about the life of Martha Wright is a great choice. You can get a used copy online for very little and make someone very happy. Or buy it new.

Martha Coffin WrightDecember 25, 1806 (1875) - Martha Wright, called the first Woman’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls in 1848 with her sister Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Stanton and others. Wright was also president of women’s conventions in 1855 in Cincinnati, Saratoga, and Albany, a founder of the American Equal Rights Association in 1866, and she continued working for equal suffrage during the Civil War.

Biography of Martha Wright

And while you’re at it, December is Suffrage Wagon News Channel’s birthday. See the video!

Visit the Suffrage Wagon feature platform and enjoy the platform you don’t get to see when you subscribe by email. Follow the suffrage wagon and link up with the “go to” place on the internet for what’s happening with women voting, today and what led up to it.

A happy 4th birthday to Suffrage Wagon, plus birthday video!

Happy Birthday, Suffrage Wagon News Channel Every year in early December there’s another birthday for Suffrage Wagon News Channel. Now it’s number four!

We’ll be celebrating 350 posts this month, and that’s quite an accomplishment. Back in the early days it wasn’t clear just how long I could keep up with blogging on a subject as focused as my suffragist grandmother Edna Kearns and her “Spirit of 1776″ suffrage campaign wagon. Here I am, four years later and not running out of things to say.

There’s a happy birthday video. Take a minute and smile at the thought of four candles as you send birthday greetings by way of cyberspace. Leave a comment on YouTube so that we know you’re out there cheering on the wagon as much as people took notice 100 years ago. Today the news channel keeps fans abreast of suffrage news and views, events and centennials. The story of Grandmother Edna Kearns is just as fresh as it has ever been. She represents the tens of thousands of women on the community level that it took for women to win the vote. Current affairs suggest that rights granted can also be taken away. Choose the vote and use it!

The "Spirit of 1776" article in "New York Archives"An article about the “Spirit of 1776″ in the current issue of “New York Archives” demonstrates how the suffrage wagon in its centennial year continues to have juice. Suffrage centennials like this one are an opportunity to pause for reflection and honor the hard work and dedication that went into winning the vote. Take a stand and insist that rights fought for this shouldn’t be compromised. And don’t stop at the vote itself. It’s merely a tool in our toolbox as citizens.

Grandmother Edna Kearns’ birthday is on Christmas Day. She’ll be 121 years old in 2013.

Highlights of Suffrage Wagon News Channel in 2013 include the centennial celebration of the first journey of the “Spirit of 1776″ suffrage campaign wagon from Manhattan to Long Island in July of 1913. Some links:

Media about “Spirit of 1776″ suffrage wagon resolution in the New York State Legislature during 2013: Ms. Magazine blog: #1. #2. Newsday coverage. #1. #2. Legislative Gazette. #1.#2. Votes for Women 2020. #1.  Feature from Women’s eNews. #1. #2. Albany TV coverage. #1. #2.  State Senator Little’s web page about resolution.#1. #2. Transcript of June 18, 2013 of the New York State Senate introduction of the Wagon Day (July 1, 2013) resolution. #1. #2. New York History blog. #1. 

Suffrage Wagon News Channel publishes twice a week and four times a year with a special quarterly newsletter. Follow us. “Marguerite’s Musings” are a special feature.

Washing sweet potatoes on Thanksgiving day . . .

Thanksgiving1895Marguerite’s Musings:

On Thanksgiving Day I’ll be off  for our 2013 family holiday gathering. It’s a day when I’m not wondering if the laundry basket is full, or the bed made, the carpet vacuumed, or the newspapers picked up from the front porch where they’ve stacked up for days.

On Thanksgiving I’m in charge of washing sweet potatoes to bake and serve with butter. While scrubbing the sweet potatoes, I’m remembering the story of the 100th monkey –about how a single monkey on an island discovers how to wash a sweet potato in a stream, eat it, and not struggle later with grit grinding down on his/her tongue or churning down in the gut.

Another monkey watches and washes his/her sweet potato until there’s a tipping point when the 100th monkey follows the same routine. Then, all the monkeys on one island instantly wash and eat their sweet potatoes in the same way which happens without any sweet potato washing lectures or workshops or demonstrations.

The insightful lesson on how to wash sweet potatoes travels on invisible jet streams of knowledge, or the collective monkey unconscious, until monkeys all over the world wash their sweet potatoes in the same way to clean off the grime and dirt before sitting down to dinner. This is what comes to mind when I’m troubled about so many critical situations facing us on Planet Earth and how change often occurs on levels far beyond our awareness and comprehension.

This morning I carried my empty glass bottles out to the driveway recycling bin and remembered back to the 1970s, when I was young, when Toshi and Pete Seeger practiced glass and newspaper recycling for everyone to see. Pete, America’s troubadour, didn’t pay someone to wash his sweet potatoes or sort his newspaper from glass. The Seegers modeled recycling for everyone from the little retreat that Pete built where the Seeger family lived and overlooked the Hudson River near Beacon, NY.

One day Pete Seeger drove up to the parking lot of Green Haven prison in the Mid-Hudson Valley in his old pickup filled to the brim with bottles and plastic and papers, on route to a recycling center. He grabbed his old banjo from the truck’s front seat and marched up to the prison’s front door, reported to the guard station, presented his driver’s license, and filled out forms and papers so he could enter the cement fortress and visit with those of us in the prison school. Pete opened his mouth as wide as he could and belted out one song after another.

The officers in the towers above the 30-foot walls stared down at Pete Seeger’s pickup filled with bottles and newspapers as they witnessed one of the first monkeys on the block wash away the grime and dirt and gravel from a highly-evolved institution with its electric chair, barbed wire fences, and gun towers with guards and machine guns. That’s how change happens, in increments, as words and deeds are passed around.

Image above by Marianna Sloan (1875-1954). The artwork for the Women’s Edition of The Press. From the Library of Congress. Color lithograph.

Marguerite’s Musings is a feature of Suffrage Wagon News Channel, the “go to” place since 2009, for news and views of the suffrage movement and how the movement inspires us today.