Tag Archives: suffrage centennial

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.

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Envision a NYS suffrage centennial celebration in 2017

Fireworks. Photo: Tom Walsh.The first stage is the dream, and then comes the planning and reality of a New York State suffrage centennial celebration in 2017. The facts are being collected and the dreamers called into action. Every month I’m on a conference call with others who are stepping up to the plate in terms of making sure that New  York State celebrates its 2017 suffrage centennial, and by this, I mean, big time. There’s a great deal to celebrate, and of course, in 2017 I’ll pull out the stops in terms of telling suffrage tales of old. If you’re interested in working on a suffrage centennial ad hoc committee, let me know at suffragewagon at gmail dot com.

Watch a short video with the comments of two 2017 suffrage centennial enthusiasts, Teri Gay and Antonia Petrash, who share their visions of how exciting such a 2017 NYS observance will be.

Video: “Thoughts about a New York State 2017 suffrage centennial.”

Often I hear people ask: “What’s the point of voting if the system’s stacked against us?” A bright spot on the horizon is The Center for Voting and Democracy. Celebrating how the vote was won translates into protecting the right, in spite of where one falls on the political spectrum. From the web site: “FairVote advances systemic electoral reform to achieve a fully participatory and truly representative democracy that respects every vote and every voice in every election. We work toward these goals by providing advocates with innovative research and strategic advocacy.” Sign up for email updates and get an overview of the nation.

Fresh corn is available right now at groceries and farmers’ markets. Choose the unhusked variety and check with Suffrage Wagon Cooking School in terms of preparing it, whether inside or outside, for juicy mouth-watering servings. It’s all in memory of Grandmother Edna Kearns who cooked and canned as a fundraiser for the suffrage movement.

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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.

Centennial fever is in the air: 965 days until the 2017 women’s suffrage party!

LetsRockTheCradleNo one’s openly planning for New York’s 2017 suffrage centennial. Centennial awareness is out there, however, bubbling under the surface. What are the signs? How about a groundbreaking in Seneca Falls, New York for the National Women’s Hall of Fame that’s taking over the old Seneca Mill along the Cayuga-Seneca Canal, a historical location in its own right. Abolitionists and reformers Charles Hoskins and Jacob Chamberlain, the mill founders, signed the Declaration of Sentiments in 1848. Good news. . . because it sets the stage for what’s to come in New York in 2017 and then across the nation in 2020.

The National Women’s History Project is in the process of bringing together a wide coalition of people in support of strengthening public interest in Votes for Women history and the various advantages it will bring to old and young, communities and the nation in terms of education and economic development. The network is expected to be on the ground, up and running by this coming summer.

LetsRockTheCradle.comLetsRockTheCradle.com is putting New York under the microscope in terms of featured events, action campaigns, and featured suffrage activists. You can rock the cradle by following on Twitter or with an email subscription.

The web site SuffrageCentennials.com is gearing up for a birthday party –its first.

Suffrage Centennials BirthdayAnd here’s a video for a quick reminder. Watch the app on LetsRockTheCradle that keeps track of the number of days until NYS’s women’s suffrage centennial: 965 days. Put that on your “to do” list.

Follow news and views of the suffrage movement and how it relates to us today. Subscribe to Suffrage Wagon News Channel for posts twice a week in your email, or Facebook or Twitter. Celebrate women’s freedom to vote.

What happens after Downton Abbey? and other women’s history gems

Downton-Abbey-Season-4Some people swear by Downton Abbey. Others are yawning and wondering if the series will take on more life than reruns of the same themes, issues and personalities. Like the novelty of the chauffeur marrying into the family has worn off, and the family is adjusting, though slowly, to the end of a way of life. That’s why I found the following article refreshing and worth sharing, even if the link has been sitting on my desk since January.

What happens after Downtown Abbey, the article asks. Writer Alyssa Rosenberg isn’t interested in breathing life into the Downtown Abbey cast. She’s suggesting that the family be replaced with some real-life characters, and I love her suggestions. How about the Pankhurst family of suffragettes in England or the Mitfords? Rosenberg lists the reasons why.

MK-musing

What did one cherub say to the other one in this thumbnail image? They’re whispering, so it’s not easy to listen. But let’s try anyway. One cherub’s asking the other: “What do we have to do to shake a substantial commitment out of New York State for the state suffrage centennial in 2017 that gets the same attention and excitement as the funding of ads for wineries and white water rafting?” The other cherub responds: “How about a sloop called the Susan B. Anthony that sails down the Hudson River and visits every port and school classroom? Would that get attention or what? If there are Clearwater and Woody Guthrie boats, how about Susan or Elizabeth or Alice or Carrie or Harriot or any one of a long list of candidates to represent the state’s rich women’s history?”

Where’s Pete Seeger when we need him? Toshi and Pete Seeger would say they modeled grassroots organizing for decades in New York’s Hudson Valley, so it’s our turn to get busy.  Is voting important anyway? Many would say it’s an essential expression of our rights as citizens. Perhaps that’s what’s behind the numerous attempts to suppress voting nationwide. In any event, the suffrage movement represents the largest nonviolent social revolution in the U.S. Whenever I wrap my head around that fact, it shifts my awareness of the significance of keeping democracy alive, whatever’s left of it after big money dumped into political campaigns clears the stage.

So if you’re suspecting I’m growing anxious about the passage of precious time when New  York should be busy planning its 2017 suffrage centennial, you’re right. There’s plenty of lip service spread around for women’s issues. And as the suffragists used to say, “deeds, not words” carry the day. Send us an email with your thoughts about how to get New York off of Ground Zero and busy planning its centennial. Send me your thoughts: suffragewagon at gmail.com

Looking forward to hearing from you as the Suffrage Wagon rolls on. Follow the wagon by way of email, Twitter and Facebook. And while you’re at it, visualize the State of New York putting the “Spirit of 1776″ suffrage campaign wagon on permanent exhibit. It’s not doing any good gathering dust at a state museum warehouse near Albany, NY.