Tag Archives: “Spirit of 1776″

VIDEO: The “Spirit of 1776″ launched its 1913 journey with letters

Marguerite's MusingsThe new music video, the “Spirit of 1776,” has a companion video about the history of the wagon and its role in suffrage grassroots organizing. It covers the weeks leading up to the first journey of the “Spirit of 1776″ wagon on July 1, 1913.

The video featuring archival evidence of the wagon’s history showcases letters from A.F. Wilson, president of the I.S. Remson wagon company in Brooklyn to the New York State Woman Suffrage Association that had offices in Manhattan. Remson claimed to be New York’s largest wagon company specializing in fine carriages, business grocer and express wagons, blankets, robes, whips, boots, and horse furnishing goods.

Though the company had been in business since 1881, automobiles had already taken a chuck out of the wagon business. And I.S. Remson company was badly in need of some fresh advertising. So a letter to Harriet May Mills, president of the New York State Woman Suffrage Association in Manhattan, from A.F. Wilson, the Remson president, tested the possibility. Would the suffragists like a horse-drawn wagon for campaign purposes?  Mills said “yes,” and suggested that Edna Kearns of Rockville Center, New York use it in an upcoming organizing tour of Long Island by suffrage movement activists.

Video about The “Spirit of 1776″ suffrage wagon in 1913.

The series of letters that followed between A.F. Wilson and Kearns dealt with details such as a horse, maintenance, storage and so on. In the early days the Remson company claimed that the wagon had been built in 1776 by a Revolutionary patriot; word to this effect were painted on the side of the wagon. Over the years those claims (still faintly seen) were removed, leaving only the wagon’s name, the “Spirit of 1776.” Although the American Revolution theme worked well for the suffragists, historians and scholars have determined that the wagon actually had been built around 1820. The suffrage movement activists inherited the wagon’s history and name from I.S. Remson who heard this legend from sources on Long Island.

Though the name came with the wagon, the suffrage movement also used the theme of the “Spirit of 1776″ that dates back to the 1848 women’s rights convention in Seneca Falls, NY: the unfinished American Revolution.

Follow the Suffrage Wagon with email, Facebook and Twitter, your source for the 19th amendment and other stories. Pass on these videos to any and all interested in suffrage centennial celebrations. The column, “Marguerite’s Musings,” by Marguerite Kearns is a regular feature of Suffrage Wagon News Channel, publishing online since 2009.

Suffrage movement brawl involves Andrew Cuomo campaigner in race for governor

Marguerite's Musings: by Marguerite Kearns

It’s amazing that references to the “suffrage movement” have surfaced in New York’s election campaign for governor?  Not by the incumbent Democratic candidate Andrew Cuomo himself, but a verbal brawl in the media between Christine Quinn ( Cuomo supporter) and Tim Wu (running on the Working Families Party line for lt. gov., with Zephyr Teachout for governor). The topic of the suffrage movement flared at a rally at City Hall in New York sponsored by the Women’s Equality Party in mid August 2014.

Sherlocks like me scan the internet for any and all references to the suffrage movement. Did the suffragists create a “little movement” from 1848 to 1920 as Tim Wu suggested? Did the remark offend the “legacy of Susan B. Anthony” as Christine Quinn, campaigner for Cuomo, insisted? Did Wu’s response get him off the hook with his retort that the suffrage movement had been “amazing”? Find out for yourself. PDF.

 The new music video, the “Spirit of 1776″ is out, circulating, and delivering the news of this important symbol of the suffrage movement –the unfinished American Revolution. And this means more chipping away at bringing upcoming suffrage centennials to the attention of a broader public. See article in the New York History blog. Eighty Bug is the songwriter and performer who pulled out her magic wand and the music video miracle manifested. Share the “Spirit of 1776″ music video with others! There’s an audio version too. The words and chords are great for sing alongs and for use in classrooms.

And check out this short video about the significance of NYS’s 2017 suffrage centennial.

So far, nine states have celebrated their centennials of women winning voting rights prior to 1920: Wyoming (1890), Colorado (1893), Utah (1896), Idaho (1896), Washington (1910), California (1911), Arizona (1912), Kansas and Oregon (1912). Montana and Nevada are observing one hundred years of women voting in 2014 with special events, projects and activities. New York’s suffrage centennial celebration is scheduled for 2017, with Michigan, Oklahoma and South Dakota to follow. 

Will New York State get its act together and engage in some substantial long-term planning for a suffrage centennial celebration in 2017? Some NYS stakeholders are on the phone monthly to discuss centennial event possibilities, but hardly a peep yet from the state Capitol in terms of appropriate funding and an official endorsement. Some observers predict that New York’s 2017 suffrage centennial will turn out to be little more than expanded opportunities for women to hold bake sales and volunteer. Can NYS pull off a celebration consistent with its position of being the “Cradle” of the women’s rights movement in the United States? Follow the Suffrage Wagon and a web site called Suffrage Centennials.

And stay tuned! This week the National Archives and the Sewall-Belmont House in Washington, DC hosted a streaming online discussion about the upcoming national suffrage centennial in 2020. There is significant movement with certain proposed projects that are in the planning stages in New York. It’s still too early to tell which proposals will stick to the wall. So we’ll be covering the upcoming 2017 New York State suffrage centennial celebration, as well as each and every development along the way.

Follow the Suffrage Wagon to stay current. Watch the new wagon video. And don’t forget to imagine the “Spirit of 1776″ suffrage campaign wagon that inspired this web site on permanent exhibit at the New York State Museum for 2017 and 2020! Recent attention to “Spirit of 1776″ on WAMC public radio.

Subscribe to the quarterly newsletter of Suffrage Wagon News Channel. Check in with the magazine platform. Follow the musings of Marguerite Kearns, a regular Suffrage Wagon column. And sign up for email, Twitter, Facebook updates, and the quarterly newsletter. Suffrage Wagon News Channel is celebrating its 5th year of publishing in 2014.


NEW VIDEO: “Spirit of 1776″ for Women’s Equality Day!

Songwriter and performer Eighty Bug

This new music video has people talking. Now you can get in on the act by watching the “Spirit of 1776″ on YouTube. Songwriter and performer Eighty Bugg assembled quite a remarkable group of musicians, stage hands, filmmakers, and living history staff at the Heritage Museum of Orange County in Santa Ana, California.

It’s a fabulous production inspired by the “Spirit of 1776” suffrage wagon. The music video was produced by performer and songwriter Eighty Bug; directors Edwin Carungay and Lesha Maria Rodriguez; art director Jon Lagda; and the Suffragist Sisters featuring Eighty (banjolele and vocals), her sister Savannah Creech (ukulele and vocals), Ashli Lee Christoval (ukelele and vocals), Laura Guaico (tub bass), and Lisa Lui (violin), in addition to Max McVetty (percussion), and the Integral JRAT (guitar, mixing and mastering). The Heritage Museum of Orange County in Santa Ana, California provided the sets and production support.

“We’re recognizing the efforts of our ancestors by creating an anthem for women everywhere to learn and sing together,” said Eighty Bug who composed and arranged the video’s lyrics and music. Her musical career has included performances in a variety of styles, including pop, hip hop, soul, R&B, rock, country, electronica, down tempo, and dance music. She continued: “Just as Americans fought for freedom from tyranny in 1776 and suffrage activists organized for equality starting in 1848 at Seneca Falls, NY, we must continue to support our sisters today in the Middle East, India, Africa, Asia, Europe, North and South America, as well as throughout the world who struggle for freedom today.”

The music video pays tribute to suffragist Edna Kearns and others who hitched a horse to the “Spirit of 1776” wagon and wore colonial dress to make the connection between the American Revolution and the unfinished social revolution that left out women. Kearns’ work symbolizes the combined efforts of tens of thousands of activists across the nation who over a 72-year period participated in the U.S. women’s suffrage movement. They worked in local and state campaigns as well as in the final push to win passage and ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

For only the audio, the “Spirit of 1776″:

Follow the Suffrage Wagon for news and views of the suffrage movement. Choose between a quarterly newsletter, Twitter, Facebook, and twice weekly postings.

Will new developments in Albany, New York (Including Kathy Hochul) impact the state’s 2017 suffrage centennial?

MusingWagonTourism development is big at the White House. And the incumbent NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo chose a running mate for reelection (Kathy Hochul) that reportedly has upstate New York’s economic development in mind.

Maybe, just maybe this will translate into support and recognition for women’s history, rocking the cradle. and the importance of starting NOW to plan for the 2017 state suffrage centennial and the 2020 national suffrage centennial. Let’s get the “Spirit of 1776″ suffrage wagon back on the road again in exhibitions. And this week we’re continuing with the Suffrage Wagon Film Festival that features news and views of the suffrage movement through YouTube specials.

(1.) “The Vote: Choose it and use it” is a video reminding women voters today of the importance of finding out about the suffrage movement and how to honor the hard work of our ancestors today.

(2.) “Suffrage Centennials: Events and News” highlights why following the Suffrage Wagon is a good idea to stay up to date on news and views of the suffrage movement.

(3.) “Having Trouble Keeping up with Votes for Women News and Stories” features vintage photos of women from the turn of the 20th century. A little different spin on the topic.

Follow the Suffrage Wagon. Celebrate women’s freedom to vote.

When on the road, videos make a great posting!

Tea for Two at Suffrage Wagon News ChannelWarm weather already and postings aren’t as easy out on the road. Five entire days without even a glance at email. You may have missed the following short video pieces, but here’s a rerun to inspire checking in with the Suffrage Wagon by way of email, Twitter, and Facebook.

(1.) “Carry on the ‘Spirit of 1776′ by following the Suffrage Wagon” highlights why others consider Suffrage Wagon News Channel as a “go to” place for news and views of the suffrage movement.

(2.) “A Flight into the Unknown: Subscribe to Suffrage Wagon News Channel” is a reminder about the importance of carrying on the “Spirit of 1776.”

(3.) “Happy Fourth Birthday, Suffrage Wagon News Channel” highlights the four and a half years that the suffrage multi-media news channel has been featuring news and view of the suffrage movement.

Celebrate women’s freedom to vote by following Suffrage Wagon News Channel.

Remembering Toshi Seeger: Marguerite’s Musings

by Marguerite Kearns

Toshi SeegerToshi Seeger, AKA Pete Seeger’s wife and working partner, is no longer with us, but her memory lives. Last year I sent a card to the Seeger family to say that I had a tree planted in El Salvador in Toshi’s memory.

For the ten years I worked at Hudson River Sloop Clearwater in the Hudson Valley, Toshi Seeger was a permanent fixture in the Poughkeepsie, NY building serving as office and headquarters. I gathered news, features, and photos, and with graphic designer Nora Porter, we published the organization’s bi-monthly publication.  Toshi arrived at the office after hours often to iron out the details of the Great Hudson River Revival, the summer organizational fundraiser that kept the sloop sailing on the Hudson. Before she retired, everyone understood all the different ways in which Toshi’s tender loving care made the event possible for upwards of 20,000 people each summer. So with all the attention on Pete Seeger’s death in January 2014, I’ve been thinking of Toshi and how he and family members must have missed her in the months following her death.

Toshi had her fingers in many pies. She made the Husdon River Sloop Clearwater engine run. Pot lucks represented the grassroots engine, and for many organizational and business meetings, the chances were good that a pot luck accompanied the gathering, plus great desserts and song.

I can see Toshi Seeger now carrying heavy shopping bags of food and supplies from the car to the building where we met. That’s why the Suffrage Wagon web site features recipes from the Suffrage Wagon Cooking School as a way to reinforce the point that food fuels activism and relationship. Food and pot lucks represent the physical manifestation of a grassroots strategy of bringing people together for hard work, relaxation and celebration. Toshi understood the connection, and she kept the awareness sharp and clear during her many years of being involved in the heart of the organization. No one could call Toshi Seeger invisible. She was and remains a rock permanently installed on the banks of the Hudson River. Today I’m remembering her unique role in keeping hope alive.

Pete and Toshi Seeger supported the “Spirit of 1776″ suffrage wagon and the importance of New York State putting it on permanent exhibit for now and future generations. Support our campaign of getting the suffrage wagon out on the road again so people can see it. More information available on Suffrage Wagon News Channel.

Photo: Toshi Seeger, 1985. Photo by Marguerite Kearns.

Suffrage Wagon gathered speed in 2013 for women’s suffrage!

The "Spirit of 1776" suffrage wagonSuffrage Wagon News Channel celebrated a total of 350 posts since its inception in 2009. We have several platforms including the Suffrage Wagon blog and the web site. There’s a newsletter four times a year. I also post suffrage history on New York History, as well as Lets Rock the Cradle. Follow the suffrage wagon directly or touch in occasionally.

Edna Kearns is a 2014 National Women’s History Month nominee, as featured in the “Women’s History 2014 Gazette.”  New York Archives magazine article about the suffrage wagon, the “Spirit of 1776″ highlighted and summarized its history. And the “Spirit of 1776″ suffrage wagon was honored by a resolution by both houses of the New York State Legislature designating July 1, 2013 as Wagon Day in the state. During “Hot Tea Month” in January 2014, we featured videos on tea and the suffrage movement (See Video #1, #2), as well as Ken Florey’s articles about the role tea events had in organizing for the larger movement.

Tea for Two at Suffrage Wagon News ChannelWomen’s suffrage history isn’t a top draw, so considering what’s out in the marketplace for folks to consider thinking about, this is terrific. Suffrage Wagon News Channel has come a long way in the past four years as a multi-media platform about what it took for women to win the vote from 1848 to 1920. We also follow our sisters in the UK and around the world who have a passion for their history.

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