Tag Archives: suffrage news

Day #3 of “Night of Terror” Observance: Audio podcasts and Marguerite’s Musings

Edna Kearns, New York suffrage activistby Marguerite Kearns

Day #3. For the past two days I’ve been sharing some background about the suffrage movement as we move forward toward November 15th, the “Night of Terror.” Notice how we’re easing into the subject matter. The topic can be a rocky road at some points. So buckle your seat belt. Some audio podcasts are stored in my back pocket to share with you this posting.

After dragging you from the White House gates (with the music video) to the workhouse (YouTube), it’s time to lighten things up. Let me introduce you to my grandmother, Edna Kearns. Here she is, over to the left. We’ll hang out with Grandmother Edna a few minutes. No doubt she’ll tell you  it wasn’t long before she was in the thick of the suffrage movement action in New York City and then off picketing the White House in 1917. Many of my friends and associates have adopted Edna as their own grandmother because she represents our collective grandmothers and great grandmothers and family members who were involved in the movement. They made it possible for us to vote. Make sure you get to the polls Tuesday. Winning the franchise was no small accomplishment.

This is my third day blogging in honor of the “Night of Terror” observance on November 15th, a partnership with Turning Point Suffragist Memorial Association. Turning Point Suffragist Memorial has a web site and blog. You can also follow on Twitter and Facebook. There’s a lot of activity going on at Turning Point’s Twitter while it must seem like Suffrage Wagon is more like a classroom. Just the background, folks! Then we’ll get into the thick of things!

Vote graphic on Suffrage Wagon Nes ChannelLet me be clear. Grandmother Edna Kearns didn’t experience the “Night of Terror” at the Occoquan Workhouse. But Edna and little Serena Kearns were on the White House picket line showing their support, as were hundreds of women across the United States.

The campaign to win the vote started back in 1848 in Seneca Falls, New York. Actually it started earlier, but Seneca Falls became the launching pad. This is significant because the years from 1848 to 1917 were uphill. You know the drill: one step forward, one step backward and so on. By 1917 the women hit the streets with picket signs.

HOMEWORK ALERT: An assignment to spread over the next few days. Listen to the nine-podcast audio series linked here called “Playing Politics with the President.” Yes, it’s long, though each audio podcast averages no more than three minutes. Just enough time to squeeze it into your busy schedule.

In order to appreciate the story of the women of the Occoquan Workhouse, it’s helpful to understand the larger picture. American women were patient souls, but sooner of later they hit a brick wall. The audio series spells out in detail how U.S. President Woodrow Wilson and the two major political parties put roadblock after roadblock in the paths of the suffragists. They may have been patient souls, but their patience eventually wore thin. Audio by Librivox in the series “Playing Politics with the President.” The account is from the 1920 book by Doris Stevens, “Jailed for Freedom” that’s in the public domain.

For your reference: Here’s the entire “Playing Politics with the President” story series: Podcast #1. Podcast #2. Podcast #3. Podcast #4. Podcast #5. Podcast #6. Podcast #7, Podcast #8, Podcast #9  about US President Woodrow Wilson and the impending showdown over the issue of women voting. This is the leadup to when things became sticky and led to Alice Paul and the National Woman’s Party picketing the White House, followed by prison time for many at the Occoquan Workhouse.

November 15th “Night of Terror” Blogging: Day #1 (Nov.1); Day #2 (Nov.2).

Suffrage Wagon Cooking SchoolFollow Suffrage Wagon News Channel with email twice a week, as well as on Facebook and Twitter. Support our partner, Turning Point Suffragist Memorial Association. SWNC quarterly newsletters just by signing up. Join the conversation by commenting on the Suffrage Wagon blog. Stay up to date with audio podcasts and videos. Celebrate women’s freedom to vote.

VIDEO: Spirit of 1776″ wagon heads toward 2020!

VIDEO: This posting is a reminder about where the “Spirit of 1776″ wagon has been and where it is headed –to 2017 and 2020 suffrage centennial celebrations.

In upcoming elections, ask ALL candidates their thoughts on how the present day is linked to the long struggle for equality and justice. Reinforce how it is critical to get behind our upcoming suffrage centennials with funding and leadership. Emphasize that we’re not satisfied with more volunteering opportunities and an endless series of bake sales.

If you’re supporting the idea of the “Spirit of 1776″ suffrage wagon on permanent exhibit, give the idea an extra boost with this video.

Music video about the “Spirit of 1776″ wagon. A toe-tapping reminder of where we’ve come from and where we’re going.

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Kearns archive at New York Botantical Garden for Echo Dale Gardens

Echo Dale GardensWhat happened to Wilmer and Edna Kearns and the “Spirit of 1776″ suffrage wagon after the passage and ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920? They moved from Rockville Centre, NY with daughter Serena Kearns back to Pennsylvania where their second child, Wilma, was born in November 1920.

The New York Botanical Garden  (the LuEsther T. Mertz Library) has archival materials in its collection from the business Edna and Wilmer founded, Echo Dale Gardens, located in the Philadelphia area. More items have been added recently. The Mertz Library maintains a wide scope of materials related to the nursery industry in the United States, including correspondence between nursery owners and their customers, invoices, plant inventories, sales brochures, catalogs, newspaper and magazine articles.

Edna B. Kearns and Wilmer R. Kearns’  love of plants and nature led to the establishment of Echo Dale Gardens, the nursery they owned and operated together after 1920. Wilmer and Edna were active in the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, and their prize-winning flowers and plants were displayed each year at the Philadelphia Flower Show. Local newspapers document Edna’s public speaking about gardening in the Philadelphia area. The “Spirit of 1776″ suffrage campaign wagon was on display at the nursery for many years for the purpose of educating the public about how American women won the vote.

Their second child Wilma dressed as the little Dutch girl, the trademark for Echo Dale Gardens for special events and at the Philadelphia Flower Show. After Edna’s death in 1934, Wilmer continued operating the nursery at Echo Dale until World War II. In retirement he reopened the nursery in Ambler, PA. The overall collections at the New York Botanical Garden library also include plant information guides, nursery catalogs, exhibition guides, and other materials.

Follow the Suffrage Wagon for news and views of the movement, as well as the life and times of Edna Kearns, Wilmer Kearns, and the “Spirit of 1776″ suffrage wagon.

“Sister in Struggle”: Get to know suffragist Elizabeth Freeman

Elizabeth FreemanA great article about suffragist Elizabeth Freeman is the cover story in a recent issue of Pasadena Weekly. Their angle: Elisabeth died there, and the editorial staff was particularly interested in Elisabeth’s contribution to the anti-lynching campaign of 1916. They made a link between Elisabeth’s work and the Michael Brown case in Missouri today, welcome coverage because it illustrates the extent to which many Votes for Women activists had more than one concern, reminiscent of the early women’s rights activists involved in abolition and temperance. Elisabeth receives more attention these days for her activism in the suffrage movement, so this is a welcome addition to what’s available about her life and work. PDF of the Pasadena Weekly article.

See the great web site on Elisabeth Freeman produced by Elisabeth’s great niece Margaret Johnston of Binghamton, NY. Also. “Long Island’s Three Wagon Women” in the New York History blog.

Marguerite's MusingsI’ve been aware of Elizabeth Freeman going back years when I first heard stories about “Great Aunt Elisabeth” from my friend Jane Van De Bogart, a member of the Woodstock town board back when I lived in Woodstock, NY and prowled around local issues with my pen, pad and camera for Woodstock Times. I don’t remember if Jane mentioned her great aunt first or if I trotted out my grandmother Edna Kearns. In any event, one thing led to another.

Two people with family members who’d been suffragists in NYS would sooner or later insist on details and that’s how I found out that not only did Edna and Elizabeth know each other, but they worked together with Rosalie Jones on Long Island on women’s suffrage organizing. As Grandmother Edna Kearns was a Long Island wagon woman, so was Elisabeth Freeman who organized women from diverse backgrounds. Elisabeth also marched with Rosalie Jones to the 1913 suffrage parade in Washington, DC –hardy souls who hiked through bad weather to prove their point.

In 1986 the “Spirit of 1776″ suffrage wagon became part of an exhibit about Elisabeth and Edna in Kingston, NY with a seed grant from the NYS Council on the Arts. Jone Miller and the Floating Foundation of Photography in High Falls, NY organized the exhibit which got me started on the long road to bring this part of American history to the attention of a broader audience. Several programs at SUNY New Paltz for Women’s History Month even involved our mothers.

Pick up a rock these days and you’ll find a descendant of a suffrage activist. That’s why I love Elisabeth Freeman. Peg Johnston has picked up the torch from her great aunt and is carrying it high these days. The general public may know about the suffrage movement nationally, but we find out much more by touching into the lives of individuals like Elisabeth, as well as the records and news coverage of clubs and associations on the local level that kept the suffrage issue alive for years. The existence of these organizations, and their ongoing events and activities, gave backbone to the national movement. Leaders at the top can’t do anything without support on the grassroots.

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We have an ongoing podcast series: “Playing Politics with the President” that features the work of the National Woman’s Party right at the time of Elisabeth Freeman’s work. Podcast #1. You can listen to the next podcast in the series, #2, this coming weekend.

Audio podcast #1: “Playing Politics with the President”

Doris StevensWe’re jumping forward to 1913 and following along with Doris Stevens in the audio podcast series, “Playing Politics with the President.” Stevens was an eyewitness to the suffrage movement and we’re fortunate to have the Librivox recording of “Jailed for Freedom” to slice into digestible audio bits of two minutes or less.

Podcast #1 starts with the story about U.S. President Woodrow Wilson arriving at the train station in Washington, DC in March of 1913 and asking “Where are the people?” after noticing that the station is virtually empty. The answer: ” On the avenue watching the suffragists parade” came the answer from an aide. Did it really happen this way? Suffrage activist Doris Stevens certainly wasn’t in the train station in the loop with Woodrow Wilson, but she was around long enough to fill an entire book about the suffrage movement and her perspective on it. “Jailed for Freedom” is a terrific basic text when discovering the suffrage movement. It’s also a quick and easy homework assignment for students.

So test the first podcast of the series. Just two minutes as you settle down with the audio and mark on your calendar that “Playing Politics with the President” is a nine-part series. It features access to the series of events that led up to the eventual decision by the National Woman’s Party to picket the White House to make the point of American women were determined to vote. YouTube has video selections from “Iron Jawed Angels” that features this same time period leading up to an increasing confrontation with President Woodrow Wilson. The YouTube selections will also be featured on Suffrage Wagon in the future. You’ll find these small audio chunks enjoyable and very informative. Photo of suffragist Doris Stevens, above.

New Podcast: “Playing Politics with the President.”

IN OTHER NEWS: There’s a tea house in Castle Rock, Colorado –the Regency Tea Room– that has a great article worth taking a look.  This posting makes the connection between the suffrage movement and tea houses, a subject we’ve given plenty of attention to over the past few years. Castle Rock is 28 miles from downtown Denver and 37 miles north of Colorado Springs.  It’s by reservation only. I haven’t been there, but it’s on my list.

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Get ready for Women’s Equality Day, plus more: Suffrage Wagon News Notes

NewsNotesSWNCHave you set plans in motion to celebrate August 26th, Women’s Equality Day? Fun gifts and other products available to inform your event are available from the National Women’s History Project.

Are you following the audio podcasts from Seneca Falls? Five of the total series of seven podcasts, “Trouble Brewing in Seneca Falls,” have been published. If you haven’t had a chance to hear the words of Elizabeth Cady Stanton reflect on the 1848 women’s rights convention, here’s your chance. Podcasts #1. #2. #3 #4 #5 . Watch for the remaining two podcasts, coming soon.

On Tuesday, August 26, at 7 p.m. at the William G. McGowan Theater in Washington, DC there will be a special program, Women’s History on the Horizon: The Centennial of Woman Suffrage in 2020. In commemoration of Women’s Equality Day and the 94th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, this discussion considers how nearly one hundred years of voting rights have impacted present-day political, social, and economic roles for women. Presented in partnership with the Sewall-Belmont House and Museum.

The updates on the Harriet Tubman national park include a video and several articles for background. Video from LetsRockTheCradle.com

Make your voice heard on the proposed Tubman national park!

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Marguerite’s reminders about June 19th, plus Susan B. Anthony resources

Marguerite's MusingsI love the ongoing discussion about Susan B. Anthony on this blog and the implications of what it must have been like for Susan to devote her life to the vote. Today we can take on challenges, like Susan did, that are meaningful (and even have fun) while making a difference.

How would Susan respond to this free-spirited poem presented recently about our suffrage activist ancestors at a Slam Poetry event? Check out “Suffragette 69″ and smile –just when you thought there couldn’t possibly be any new angles relative to this part of American history.

Susan B. Anthony’s networking and advocacy energized her. When I took a bus trip last fall with Friends of the Susan B. Anthony Museum & House, one point was brought to my attention –about how Susan took “power walks” around her neighborhood on early mornings. I loved hearing all about Susan, the activist, the sister, the family member, the cook, the human being, and so much more. Getting inside the personal lives of our suffrage ancestors involves getting to know them as people, as well as heroic historic figures. That’s why I love doing this work!

Susan B. Anthony’s June 19, 1873 speech can be found in lists of great American oratory. If you sign up for a speech class, there’s a possibility Anthony’s presentation may be referred to as a way to learn about the structure of powerful presentations. I’m looking forward to playing Susan today at a  birthday party. For the past week or so I’ve been setting aside a few items: a long dress, hat, cape, plus an edited version of her speech. It’s great fun to add a skit to a birthday celebration.

Susan B. Anthony resources: Short video introducing Susan’s trial speech for illegal voting on June 19, 1873. Audio selection (three minutes) about Susan B. Anthony’s famous 1873 trial speech from Doris Stevens’ book, “Jailed for Freedom.” A feature story about Barbara Blaisdell who has been interpreting Susan B. Anthony for the past 23 years for groups, organizations and for special occasions. My appeal to friends about the importance of making June 19th and Susan B. Anthony’s trial speech a national observance.  New book about Anna Howard Shaw, and author Trisha Franzen, makes argument about Shaw (video included) being “true heir to Susan B. Anthony” and attempts to separate fact from fiction. Visit the Susan B. Anthony Museum and House in Rochester, NY.

June 19th is not only the date when Susan B. Anthony gave her now famous speech at the Ontario County courthouse near Rochester, New York. It’s also a celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. The suffrage and antislavery movements were intricately connected, and this is definitely reflected in the wide range of events that can be accessed in the LetsRockTheCradle.com calendar. The Cradle site is a recognized resource destination and online community for events, historic sites, action campaigns, movement stories, and the many ways the past inspires our actions today!

The news notes shared here are by no means a representative sampling of what’s available online. But they give me an opportunity to keep up to date, and point out some noteworthy content I found online. For example, here’s an article about five commentators who still are angry about the fact that women won the right to vote in 1920. Link. Seneca Falls, NY will be the birthplace of a Muslim women’s rights declaration in July of 2014. Link. A conference in Detroit during July features women and their role in the Underground Railroad. Link. June 19th and a celebration about the end of slavery. Link. An overview of “male feminism.” Link. Observations on the stalemate concerning the governor’s Women’s Equality Agenda in the NYS Legislature. Link. Women and Canadian elections. Link.

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