Tag Archives: Susan B. Anthony

Happy Fourth of July! Enjoy little-known story of how suffrage activists crashed a national centennial celebration!

Fourth of July 1876HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY:

The Suffrage Wagon summer newsletter is on the stands. It spells out what happened on the Fourth of July in 1876 when five suffrage activists crashed the national centennial celebration in Philadelphia… a little-known story that’s also an important part of our national history.

See link and forward to the people on your social media list as a way to deepen the appreciation of our past and how it links to our present. Link to story. The story involves Susan B. Anthony, Matilda Joslyn Gage, Phoebe W. Couzins, Sara Andrews Spencer, and Lillie Devereux Blake. There’s even an audio podcast where the event’s described by Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

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Update on Susan B. party, “Suffragette”film, and new Prudence Crandall book

Susan B. Anthony PartyHere’s the basket, ready to go for last Thursday’s Susan B. Anthony party! The play was a hit and marked my niece Tara’s birthday on June 19th, and conveniently Susan B. Anthony’s trial commemoration as well.

What fun!

SusanBAnthony2There’s other news too. “Suffragette,” the major motion picture from the UK has completed filming and is on its way to release. The public relations team calls it “a thrilling drama that tracks the story of the foot soldiers of the early feminist movement, women who were forced underground to pursue a dangerous game of cat and mouse with an increasingly brutal state. These women were not primarily from the genteel educated classes; they were working women who had seen peaceful protest achieve nothing. Radicalized and turning to violence as the only route to change, they were willing to lose everything in their fight for equality – their jobs, their homes, their children and their lives. Maud was one such foot soldier. The story of her fight for dignity is as gripping and visceral as any thriller; it is also heart-breaking and inspirational.”

The New York State Legislature has closed up shop for this session. One bill addressing the creation of a suffrage centennial commission was introduced in the Senate in late May without any action. For more information.

Suffrage Wagon BookshelfPrudence Crandall’s Legacy: The Fight for Equality in the 1830s, Dred Scott, and Brown v. Board of Education by Donald E. Williams Jr. 470 pp. 6 x 9″ $35.00 Jacketed Cloth, 978-0-8195-7470-1 $27.99 Ebook, 978-0-8195-7471-8. Publication Date: June 2014.

Prudence CrandallPrudence Crandall was the Connecticut schoolteacher who educated African-American girls in the 1830s. Today, she is Connecticut’s official state heroine. All hell broke loose when she opened Miss Crandall’s School for Young Ladies and Little Misses of Color in Canterbury. Residents of the town refused to supply Crandall with goods necessary to run her school, and even went so far as to sabotage her efforts by poisoning the school’s well water. Crandall was ridiculed and finally arrested, but she only closed the school when it became clear that her students’ safety was at risk.

The year 2014 marks the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, as well as the 30th anniversary of the operation of the Prudence Crandall Museum in Canterbury, Connecticut. 

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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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If Barbara Blaisdell plays Susan B. Anthony for 23 years, when does she BECOME Susan?

Susan B. Anthony todayIt’s amazing that one person, Barbara Blaisdell, has been delighting fans of Susan B. Anthony for the past 23 years by showing up at events and special occasions in the Rochester, New York area, as well as other venues around the state and nation. She’s spoken on numerous occasions to groups large and small, presented convention keynotes,  and has been a special guest at luncheons and teas where guests have found her portrayal of Anthony intriguing. I love the fact that Blaisdell even had a starring role in a staging of Susan B. Anthony’s trial speech at the Ontario County courthouse not far from Rochester, NY years ago. June 19th is this coming week, folks, and there’s still time to give Susan’s trial speech observance some recognition with a party and spread the fun around.

“My outfit is historically accurate,” Barbara Blaisdell says, and she describes it as a “re-creation of Anthony’s dress displayed in the Museum/House. I also wear a hat, red shawl and carry an alligator bag to stay in character throughout the portrayal and engage in questions and answers whenever appropriate. Bringing the story of the country’s (the world’s) most legendary civil rights and women’s rights leader to so many people has been and continues to be my passion.”

Visit the Susan B. Anthony Museum & House in Rochester, NY and you may meet Susan B. Anthony aka Barbara Blaisdell during tours or special events. These are occasions when Blaisdell takes her role seriously as Susan herself would have responded to certain questions and comments. It’s surprising that some still have the impression of Susan having been grumpy and blunt. “Many people don’t know that Susan B. Anthony had a sense of humor. She wasn’t a gruff old bat, and many people don’t know that she liked to cook, garden, invite people over for a meal and visit. She loved children, and in my mind was an amazing person. Susan B. Anthony sacrificed her own personal life so she could fight the good fight.”

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More about dressups and the Susan B. skit

Marguerite's Musings: Plays and dressups aren’t the big activity these days that they might have been in years past before film and TV took over the lion’s share of entertainment.

I remember how much fun it was to write a script for a play, cast the performers (usually my sister and brothers), and invite my parents to the grand production. The excitement is still there thought, all these years later, and the result is more of a flash in the pan production of Susan B. Anthony’s 1873 trial at the Ontario County Courthouse.

Years  ago I wasn’t so conscious of people’s short attention spans, so now the skit about Susan B. Anthony’s speech to the judge and her refusal to sit down in the courtroom is more about drama, principle and spirit than recreating the trial intact with vintage costumes. The key is to keep the production short and fun, yet make the point of the event’s significance.

Follow LetsRockTheCradle.com to find out about the Ontario County courthouse located in the Finger Lakes region of New York. Follow the Suffrage Wagon for news and views of the suffrage movement.

Musing about my Susan B. Anthony speech, plus release of new Alice Paul biography

MKmusingsI’m still working out the details of my Susan B. Anthony speech for the party commemorating the June 19th presentation Susan gave at the Ontario County, NY courthouse. The occasion: her trial for illegal voting in 1873. The courthouse is located in what’s known as the “Cradle” of the women’s rights movement in the United States, not far from Rochester, New York –a great idea for historical road trips this summer.

Susan B. Anthony sure had spirit, and I wrote about it in Suffrage Wagon’s spring newsletter. After describing the upcoming party’s skit planning in the last blog posting, someone wrote in to note that Susan hadn’t actually been handcuffed. She’d held out her hands for handcuffs, but the arresting officer refused to comply before taking her downtown for booking. Many scripts are rewritten during the process. I love the feedback and need all the help I can get in this celebration of spirit.

Be forewarned, however. Susan B. Anthony’s 1873 speech isn’t for the thin skinned. Susan let loose about the injustice of second class citizenship for women. Her words are now included in lists of great American speeches. For someone like Susan B. Anthony to stand tall and give the judge hell must have taken courage and a truckload of chutzpah.

I love the potential surprises associated with Susan’s trial speech. At the 2011 party where I featured Susan’s trial, I invited guests to wear period costumes. One women chose a dress once worn by her grandmother, and others supplemented with hats and scarves. The tea table groaned with freshly-baked sweets. Grandmother Edna’s great-great grandchildren provided the entertainment — live music on violin and viola. I shared about the suffrage project I’ve been doing online since 2009. And then the trial skit. It was so much fun, I decided to do it again this year! I’ll write up the entire play shortly so you can see it doesn’t require a rehearsal, though you might do a test run first.

If you’re planning to send out invitations for a June 19th Susan B. trial speech party, consider attaching this promotional video link. Send me an email at suffragewagon at gmail dot com if you need any encouragement!

Suffrage Wagon BookshelfOn June 2, Publishers Weekly released its review of Jill Zahniser and Amelia Fry’s biography of Alice Paul. It’s a starred review of Alice Paul: Claiming Power by J.D. Zahniser and Amelia R. Fry.

“Zahniser and Fry’s biography shines a bright light on the ‘elusive’ figure of suffragist Alice Paul (1885–1977). A woman whose life bridged the ‘first’ and ‘second waves’ of feminism, Paul was once a towering figure in American suffragist politics, having cut her teeth on the battle for women’s voting rights in Britain. The elegantly constructed narrative combines the filaments of Paul’s precocious life into an incisive tale, beginning with her Quaker upbringing and following her as she emerges as an activist and agitator.

“The book shows how Paul navigated the shoals of propriety, respectability, and the necessity of forthright activist tactics. In addition, Zahniser and Fry (who died in 2009) effectively explore the often forgotten warrens of feminist history and its intersections with world events, including WWI. The authors deserve credit for tackling the issue of racism within the suffrage movement, as well as Paul’s latent prejudices. While showing how Paul became a suffragist, and the battles that defined a generation of fractious feminist activism, the book leaves the rest of her long life, after 1920, to other scholars. This is not only the story of one person, but of her epoch and culture. Zahniser and Fry have done readers a profound service.”

Follow the Suffrage Wagon with news and views of the suffrage movement. Celebrate women’s freedom to vote. Carry on the “Spirit of 1776.” If you’re off on a historical road trip this summer, check in with LetsRockTheCradle.com for suggestions and ideas.

How to Plan a Celebration Honoring Susan B. Anthony’s Trial Speech

PARTY INVITE 2011-5Three years ago I produced my first skit about Susan B. Anthony’s trial. I didn’t feature it on the invitation I circulated, mainly because I wasn’t convinced I could pull it off. I did. And now I’m working on another production for June 19th, the actual day that Susan B. Anthony stood up to the judge and made her position clear about the necessity of women being able to vote.

As far as June 19, 2014 is concerned, the party date has been set and the guests invited. There are spots for three characters:  the arresting officer, the judge, and Susan B. Anthony. The play goes like this. The arresting officer knocks on Susan’s door. She answers. He informs Susan that she’s under arrest and puts on pretend handcuffs. They leave for the police station. Few words. The arresting officer can ad lib.

Then the scene shifts to the courtroom with the judge sitting on a chair. Susan is standing before him. The lines are pretty basic and can read from an index card. The judge tells Susan to sit down and she refuses:

Miss Anthony—”Yes, your honor. I have many things to say. My every right, constitutional, civil, political and judicial has been tramped upon. I have not only had no jury of my peers, but I have had no jury at all.”

Court—”Sit down Miss Anthony. I cannot allow you to argue the question.”

Miss Anthony—”I shall not sit down. I will not lose my only chance to speak.”

In the next scene Susan B. Anthony stands on a raised platform to address the audience where she delivers an edited version of her presentation in the courtroom. She also reads from a script. Susan can be dressed in a period costume, or her costume can be as simple as a black dress. I’ll be wearing a red cape from my closet. Here’s some text from Susan’s speech on video to illustrate that producing a short program for your party isn’t difficult.

Video about Susan B. Anthony’s trial for illegal voting when she gave her speech on June 19, 1873. Follow the Suffrage Wagon or LetsRockTheCradle. Celebrate women’s freedom to vote.

Loving dress ups and reminder about June 19th

Do you love dress ups like I do? Suffrage blogger Antonia Petrash spent an afternoon at a vintage clothes shop on Long Island and blogged about the experience. I dressed in my grandmother Edna’s dresses at about age ten. Here’s what I wrote about the experience: “Bonded from wearing Grandmother Edna Kearns’ dresses.”Grand Rapids centennial suffrage edition

In recent news items: The Grand Rapids Press recently featured a centennial edition in honor of an edition of the paper dedicated to the topic 100 years ago. Edna Kearns was one such suffrage editor for the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, so it’s noteworthy that newspaper publishers back then recognized how increased circulation could result from covering topics of interest such as Votes for Women and the hard work of tens of thousands of suffragists. Update on the controversy associated with the creation of a national women’s history museum.

Over four years ago at the launching of Suffrage Wagon News Channel, suffrage news and events generally were anniversary related. Now, the topic is hot year round. Well, “suffrage” is yet to become a household word, but we’re making progress.

Do you have a special event for June scheduled in your active calendar? How about a party on or about June 19th to honor suffragist Susan B. Anthony’s trial for illegal voting. Put together a program for your party with little effort. Just consult the trial record and hand out a script to your friends.  Watch a new video for inspiration. 

Suffrage history has been ignored for so many decades, it’s fascinating to see the movement finally entering the national spotlight, even if in an uneven fashion. It’s likely to continue this way as the 2016 presidential election approaches when it seems likely that a woman will run for the nation’s highest elected position. The marginality of the subject matter could shift dramatically in January 2015 with the release of the major motion picture, “Suffragette,” now in production in the UK. Stay tuned for updates.

Follow Suffrage Wagon News Channel for news and views of the suffrage movement. Celebrate women’s freedom to vote. If you’re feeling feisty and restless when standing on the strong shoulders of those who have come before us, touch into LetsRockTheCradle.com

Are you having a party on June 19th to celebrate Susan B. Anthony’s trial for illegal voting?

Trial for illegal voting:Of all the events for fun and parties in the weeks ahead, June 19th offers a great opportunity. Tea and sweets. Possibly a fundraiser for your organization. Celebrate Susan B. Anthony’s trial for illegal voting.

With not much effort and a few hams in your group, you can act out Susan B. Anthony’s trial for illegal voting in the spirit of the old melodramas. Start with Susan’s arrest at home. Then cast an arresting officer, Susan, and a trial judge. Susan wrote her own lines and someone only has to read them. Search online. Period costumes help spread the word of women’s history, but maybe you only have black outfits. That will do, and an audience that loves to cheer and boo. Not much effort and lots of fun. With a little more than a month to plan, see what you can do.

And while you’re at it, a little inspiration from a Susan B. Anthony video won’t hurt.

Rock the Cradle and follow the Suffrage Wagon. Celebrate women’s freedom to vote. Follow news and views of the suffrage movement.

Video and article: Join Susan B. Anthony in Rochester

Marguerite's MusingsWho loves Susan B. Anthony? Thousands of people, and that includes hundreds who attended the annual luncheon of the Susan B. Anthony House in Rochester, NY. this week. Susan’s birthday is on Saturday, February 15th.

I wrote an article about Susan, her fans in Rochester, and how the Susan B. Anthony House will be launching a virtual tour of the house in order to meet the demand. The story is about Susan’s fans today, as much as it is about Susan. Rochester, New York and the Susan B. Anthony House demonstrate a novel and very effective living history tied to economic development and education.

See my article in New York History. Article in PDF.

Video of Susan B. AnthonyThe article also features the horse chestnut tree growing outside the Susan B. Anthony House on 17 Madison Street in Rochester and how many are concerned because the tree didn’t produce chestnuts last year. Get the Big Picture about the preservation district that includes the house where Susan and her sister Mary lived for 40 years, the “1872 Cafe” around the corner where Susan voted illegally, the statues of Susan and Frederick Douglass having tea in a park down the street and much more .

Video: Commentary by Doris Stevens about Susan B. Anthony in “Jailed for Freedom,” 1920.

Follow feature articles by Marguerite Kearns and the Suffrage Wagon for news and views of the suffrage movement. Suffrage Wagon News Channel.

Susan B. Anthony’s holiday sleigh ride, plus suffrage news notes for December 2013

Grandmother Edna KearnsThe Winter 2013-14 Suffrage Wagon newsletter should be in your email box. If not, here it is.

Terrific article about Susan B. Anthony’s organizing sleigh ride throughout New York State at Christmas in 1854. If you read no other article about Susan B. Anthony, this is the one. It shows how Susan took advantage of an opportunity and milked it for all it was worth. The New  York History blog is a great source for commentary, events, trends, celebrations and more.  #1. #2.

Not long ago, there were few women historians, maybe ten to one. Today the ratio is two to one, which is quite an improvement. This article from History News Network lays out the issue in a snapshot of what it’s like on the front lines in terms of getting the public to listen to women’s history in general, and specifically suffrage history. Things are changing, slowly.  #1. #2.

In New Zealand 120 years have passed since women there won the vote. Government officials take the anniversary seriously by meeting with young women voters to jumpstart their participation in voting. One news article gives an overview of the past, plus a perspective on what needs to be done from this point on.  #1. #2.  

If you didn’t hear about the 12-year-old calling herself a “suffragette” who challenged the NC governor over voting rights, here’s your chance. #1. #2. Feminist describes life-changing moment when describing how she marched with a veteran suffragist activist in a 1970 New York City parade. #1. #2. 

Suffrage News from all over: Keynote speech at centennial celebration of women’s right to vote in Norway. #1. #2. Women make up half of the Canadian population but only hold one quarter of the seats in the House of Commons. Why? #1. #2. The Shoeleather History Project features working women in the suffrage movement. #1. #2. The Irish remember their own suffrage movement. #1. #2.  Women around the world celebrate New Zealand’s 120th suffrage anniversary and note Africa’s progress on women’s representation. #1. #2. Is Canada a good place to be a woman? This article raises and answers the question in light of the Global Gender Gap Report. #1. #2.

Follow the suffrage wagon with postings twice a week and newsletters four times a year. We also have YouTube and Vimeo channels. 

Signs of life for NYS’s suffrage centennial, plus Susan B. Anthony & News Notes

Susan-B-Anthony-PrincessThe suffrage movement or “women’s suffrage” may seem like a niche topic, yet the news items  concerning Votes for Women events and activities increase by the day. Here’s a sampling:

Statewide conference planning underway for 2017 suffrage centennial of women voting in New York State by CRREO (the Center for Research, Regional Education and Outreach) and the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program at SUNY New Paltz. Yeah! #1. #2.

If Susan B. Anthony were a Disney princess. #1. #2. What would Susan B. Anthony think of secrecy in government? One commentator wonders why all the secrecy when naming an elementary school after Susan B. #1. #2.  And why is the South Dakota school being named after Susan B. Anthony when another suffrage leader, Matilda Joslyn Gage, had South Dakota connections? #1. #2. Kick-Ass quotes from Susan B. Anthony. #1. #2.One upstate New York woman dresses her daughter as strong women, including Susan B. Anthony, Jane Goodall, Helen Keller. #1. #2.

Women voters will face challenges in voting because of name changes. #1. What are women voters concerned about? This commentator says that the women’s vote is essential to an election outcome, yet many political strategists still don’t understand what women really want. #1. #2. Legislation is pending in Congress (HR 863 and S. 398) that would create a Congressional Commission to identify a building site for a national women’s museum. Where do your representatives stand on this? #1. #2.

Voiceless speeches played an important role in the public relations strategies of the suffrage movement. Check out an excellent article illustrating this point. #1. #2. Kate Roosevelt and her campaign to oppose the right of women voting in New York State. #1. #2. Women in the Civil War and their role in the suffrage movement. #1. #2. Colorado women reflect on how far they’ve come as voters in the past 120 years since their suffrage movement achieved victory. #1. 

A commentator from Iowa claims that suffragists like Louisa May Alcott, Susan B. Anthony, Lucy Stone and Elizabeth Cady Stanton have become household names. She makes the point that equal pay for equal work still leaves much to be desired. Her point is well taken, though it’s still debatable if the names of these individuals roll off the tongue of many Americans easily. See #1. #2.

Follow the suffrage wagon with postings twice a week and a special newsletter four times a year? Where else do you get  up-to-date news about the suffrage movement, as well as today’s news and views and stories? New York History features my writing with Olivia Twine, as well as LetsRockTheCradle.com. We’re shaking up the “Cradle” of the U.S. women’s rights movement. How about joining us?

NEWS FLASH: “Suffragette” feature film, comic book & news notes

WOMANREBEL.tour-posterTHE WORD IS OUT about the next step of the news about the UK feature film on the suffrage movement. The work, previously known as “The Fury,” has now been changed in name to “Suffragette.”  The drama is due to shoot in February 2014.

Alternative-comics master Peter Bagge has published the work, “Woman Rebel: The Margaret Sanger Story,” that brings the story of a gutsy birth control and suffrage activist to broader public notice. #1. #2.  He’s on tour, so catch him if you can. Education about these early women reformers is in great demand, so it’s essential to touch in with some of the best that’s out there.

The PBS documentary, “Women Who Make America,” is an excellent resource for teaching about women’s history. The three-part documentary is, at this time, available online. It does not deal with the suffrage movement directly, though it makes clear how the first wave of feminism (1848-1920) passed the torch to contemporary women. The challenges associated with teaching women’s history are detailed in this excellent article from the American Historical Association. #1. #2.

More news notes from all over: The campaign to take back the legacy of Susan B. Anthony. #1. #2. Author Ken Florey is featured on “Grandmother’s Choice,” a great ongoing quilt project about voting and women’s rights. #1. #2.  Is NYS History Month Dead? The answer from New York State Historian Bob Weible. #1. #2. Hillary Clinton is popular with women voters. #1. #2. Perspective on voting rights and women. #1. #2.  GOP working on reaching out to women voters after the government shutdown. #1. #2. 

Bringing suffragists like Ida B. Wells and Susan B. Anthony to the elementary school classroom. #1. #2.  The grandmother stories are taking form in a novel that’s a new angle on women’s history. #1. #2.  News of the Salem Women’s Heritage Trail from author Bonnie Smith. #1. #2. The Schlesinger Library at Harvard updates five-year backlog of cataloging to make more women’s collections available. #1. #2.

News notes from around the world: Sixty years of women voting in Mexico. #1. #2. Canadian women students draw attention to Person’s Day when voting. #1. #2.  Women voters outnumber men voters in Mizoram, but no women represented in legislature. #1. #2. Women voters in India critical to election outcomes. #1. #2.

Support the New  York State History blog. Even a little bit helps to keep it going for another year. Subscribe to Suffrage Wagon News Channel for news, views, and stories of the suffrage movement!

Make traditional English scones: Video from Suffrage Wagon Cooking School

Scones from Suffrage Wagon Cooking SchoolAn old friend, Chef Cutting, dropped by the Suffrage Wagon Cooking School to show us how to prepare fresh English scones. Check in with the link.  He’s not only making them for Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony, but also as a way to remember Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

November 12th is Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s birthday, and it’s also my mother Wilma’s birthday, Olivia Twine’s birthday, my goddaughter Alicia’s birthday, and I’m sure there are many more birthday celebrants out there.

Frederick Douglass & Susan B. AnthonyTea parties are very much part of the suffrage movement. I’ve seen photos of “Let’s Have Tea,” the statues of Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony having tea, a project of the Susan B. Anthony Neighborhood Association (artist Pepsy M. Kettavong) in Rochester, NY. Seeing these sculptures for myself was a highlight of the fall 2013 LetsRockTheCradle blogging tour of the “Cradle” of the women’s rights movement in the Finger Lakes region of upstate NY. It made me think about how the month of November is a great time to dust off the old teapot, make scones from scratch and invite friends over.

These occasions are but two reasons why Chef Cutting’s instruction on English scones from Suffrage Wagon Cooking School fits perfectly into your plans to hold a tea party. And as someone with English roots himself, Chef Cutting reminds us that the English suffragettes were great tea house enthusiasts, as were their American sisters in the movement.

Suffrage Wagon Cooking School is but one reason to follow Suffrage Wagon News Channel. Our 4th birthday is coming soon, and we’ll be celebrating women’s freedom to vote. Also, 2013 is the centennial year of the “Spirit of 1776″ suffrage wagon’s first journey back in 1913. This year both houses of the New York State Legislature passed a resolution designating July 1, 2013 as “Wagon Day” in the State of New York. If you missed any of this news, you’ll find highlights in the Suffrage Wagon archive.

Free ebook and new books for today: Suffrage Bookshelf

BOOKS TO BE AWARE OF: Book by Bonnie Smith about how women’s history relates to young girls today. #1.  Book by Susan Goodier about New York State and the campaign to defeat Votes for Women. #1.  Publication on the Long Island suffrage movement by Antonia Petrash. #1. As for the plot to kill Susan B. Anthony, this novel is a cliff hanger as two detectives follow Aunt Susan on her speaking tours and protect her from angry mobs. #1. #2.

Review: Curtis, Isabel Gordon. The Congresswoman. Chicago: Browne & Howell Company, 1914.

Suffrage Wagon Bookshelf

This 1914 story plays out the downside of what was predicted  by opponents and skeptics when women won the right to vote and hold public office. It’s important to read in order to understand the pressures of public opinion at the turn of the 20th century. Just as there is push back today by some segments of society because of women’s increasing political influence, the pressure was even more intense back in 1914. It speaks to the courage and persistence of suffragists to carry on the work begun in 1848 at Seneca Falls and not give up.

What could go wrong manifested, as predicted, for U.S. Rep. Cynthia Pike in the book, The Congresswoman. Cynthia had difficulties everywhere she turned –in her family, at the congressional office, from her colleagues. And in the end, she threw in the towel.

The long hard struggle for suffrage created a corps of determined women who didn’t give in so easily. Women have not served in public office in great numbers in the years since 1920 and the persistent resistance to women in political life that has lasted long past what otherwise might have been predicted. Some polls, however, suggest that more people feel as if a woman could be elected to this top post in the 2016 presidential election.

The free e-book of The Congresswoman is available through Google Play.

Follow Suffrage Wagon News Channel for book reviews, commentary, audio and video you can’t get anywhere else. Suffrage Wagon is on Twitter and Facebook.

Suffrage News Alert and Tara Bloyd reviews “Marching with Aunt Susan”

NEWS ALERT: Two suffrage programs on UK television. One is a documentary on suffragette Emily Davison TODAY that can be viewed online. Details soon. The other show is a three-episode suffrage sitcom, “Up the Women” (see trailer) that starts this coming Thursday, May 30th. See overview and episode summaries: #1, #2, #3. And now for Suffrage Bookshelf:

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Marching With Aunt Susan: Susan B. Anthony and the Fight for Women’s Suffrage, by Claire Rudolph Murphy, illustrated by Stacey Schuett.  2011: Peachtree Publishers.

Review by Tara Bloyd

I thoroughly enjoyed Marching With Aunt Susan.  Based on the 1896 campaign in California, the book focuses on events in the life of an actual ten-year-old girl, Bessie Keith Pond.  In this story, Bessie’s belief in the suffrage cause is precipitated by two closely-related events: her father refuses to take her hiking with her older brothers because “strenuous exercise is not for girls,” and her mother suggests helping with a suffrage tea instead.

SUSAN B. ANTHONY,  NOT OLD AND CRABBY AT ALL

Looking at a newspaper picture of Susan B. Anthony, Bessie thinks the suffrage leader looks old and crabby; she soon learns differently, though, and is inspired by Anthony’s statement that “Women’s votes can help change the world.”  Bessie attends rallies, works in the suffrage office, visits a factory where young women work in poor conditions, marches in a parade, and more.   I found the story, told in first person, compelling.

The book tells of the long, dedicated quest for votes for women, and is all the more poignant because it concentrates on an unsuccessful aspect of the long campaign.  Bessie is lucky because her family is supportive – her aunt was a leader in both campaigns, her father buys her a new white dress when hers is destroyed by an egg splattered on it during a march and realizes over the course of the book that Bessie should be able to go hiking with the family, her mother is in a position to host teas honoring and attended by Anthony, etc.

But even from her privileged position Bessie still faces challenges: her friend’s father rules the family and won’t let her participate in marches, onlookers at the march both verbally and physically heckle participants, Bessie talks with factory girls her own age, and, of course, California’s men vote against suffrage.

REALISTIC, NOT SIMPLISTIC VIEW OF THE STRUGGLE

I appreciate that the book shows a realistic view of the struggle and how important it was to not give up even after major setbacks; Bessie’s mother is determined to learn how to ride a bike after the defeat (because “Aunt Susan says that a bicycle gives a woman freedom”). And the book ends with Bessie suggesting to her father: “Sunday there’s a rally for the next suffrage campaign.  Come march with Mama and Me.”

The richly-colored illustrations are expressive and enjoyable and definitely add to the story.  Even though it’s a picture book, Marching with Aunt Susan doesn’t talk down to readers.   The historical information in the back of the book tells quite a lot in a fairly limited space: we learn about Bessie’s life, about California’s suffrage campaign and suffrage history in general, and about Susan B. Anthony’s life and work.

The section of Further Resources for Young Readers includes book and website recommendations, and photographs and copies of various documents are both on the endpapers and scattered through the historical information.   I strongly recommend adding Marching With Aunt Susan to any suffrage library, and I think it would be an excellent introduction to the suffrage movement for any children who find stories more interesting than facts.  (Wouldn’t that be almost all of them?)

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Suffrage auto video plus article & News Notes from all over (Part I)

NewsNotesMay2013Part I of Kenneth Florey’s article of suffrage automobiles is available NOW: “Suffrage Autos: A new form of freedom.” Automobiles became hot items during the suffrage movement because grassroots organizing became more efficient. Ken Florey makes this point. He’s the author of an upcoming book on suffrage memorabilia, and he’s also the Suffrage Wagon columnist who has documented the connection between tea and the Votes for Women movement.  Coming Soon: Part II of Ken Florey’s article about when the suffrage movement got wheels.

The new one-minute Suffrage Wagon video highlights the suffrage automobiles Ken writes about. Many of the images are from his suffrage postcard collection. If you’re receiving this posting by email, you might not be able to see the video player that’s embedded here. Click through on the link above! Just a minute of your time. It will be worth it. I promise.

When things are heating up on the suffrage front –like they are– I’m struggling to keep up with suffrage news notes. I’m behind (again), but there’s more to come in the next few postings.

News notes in this first round of May include: Norway’s women celebrate 100 years of women voting. #1. #2. Women still can’t vote in the Vatican. #1. #2. One hundred years ago in Troy, NY. #1. #2. South Dakota native Carey Graeber stands up for Dorothy. #1. #2. Another great block for the suffrage quilt project. #1. #2. Another try at getting a Congressional medal for suffragist Alice Paul. #1. #2. Alice Paul’s copy of Betty Friedan book. #1. #2. Margaret Thatcher and suffragettes in one breath. #1. #2. Susan B. Anthony birthplace attracting visitors. #1. #2. A pitch to visit the Susan B. Anthony House in NYS. #1. #2. Telling women’s stories at historic sites. #1. The importance of storytelling. #1.Women’s exhibit at New York State Capitol. #1. #2. 

Check in with our magazine platform. You’ll see that the content changes often. And if an overview of Suffrage Wagon is what you crave, we have this as well. Suffrage Wagon’s videos can be found on Vimeo and YouTube.

Suffrage News Notes: March 2013

NewsNotesMarchWomen’s History Month means that it has been a busy and active month for suffrage buffs. Also, the suffrage centennial parade march and events the first week in March has had the digital circuits buzzing. Start with the suffrage parade in Washington, DC. Link #1. Link #2. The 1913 march that made history. Link #1. Link #2. Ms. Magazine coverage of suffrage parade. Link #1. Link #2. “Brimstone, Booze, and the Ballot” is launched by Susan B. Anthony House, The Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation, and Votes for Women 2020: Link #1. Link #2.

Tribute to Alice Paul, Lucy Burns, Alice Stevens. LINK. Alice Paul given her due. Link #1. Link #2. A Congressional Medal for Alice Paul? Link #1. Link #2. Fashions at the time of the suffrage movement. Link #1. Link #2. Women and anti-lynching campaigns. Link #1. Link #2.  Women’s e-news. Link #1. Link #2. Suffrage Map. Link #1. Link #2. Vision 2020. Link #1. Link #2.  Black women’s history. Link #1. Link #2.  Will there ever be an end to Women’s History Month? Link #1. Link #2. Smithsonian document dive. Link #1. Link #2. Birthdays and special dates from women’s history from the National Women’s History Project. LINK. Votes for Women 2020’s web site and blog. Link #1. Link #2.

Masterpiece Theatre fans of “Downton Abbey” might like the suffrage angle on the “Mr. Selfridge” TV series that starts March 31st. Link #1. Link #2. Kudos for Inez Mulholland. Link #1. Link #2. Oxfam’s reports on top corporations’ record on women. LINK. Photos from Anthony luncheon. Link #1. Link #2. Women underrepresented in politics. Link #1. Link #2.  Safiya Bandele’s new multi-media presentation on suffragist and activist Ida B. Wells. LINK.

The quilt project representing women’s rights. Link #1. Link #2. The Constitution Center during Women’s History Month. Link #1.  Point of view on Presidential Proclamation for Women’s History Month. Link #1. Concern about problem of sexual slavery. Link #1. Link #2.  Reproductive freedom. Link #1. Link #2.

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Performance highlights why one suffrage leader was written out of history

 FINALBOOZEsmallBRIMSTONE, BOOZE AND THE BALLOT

Provocative program explores why one suffrage leader was written out of history 

Women voters and lovers of American history will discover the inside story of two of the suffrage movement’s founders during Women’s History Month when the background struggle between suffrage leaders Susan B. Anthony and Matilda Joslyn Gage is revealed on stage.

The dialogue performance will be at the Rosendale Theater in Rosendale, NY on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 7:30 p.m.

Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton are celebrated as two of the founding mothers of the women’s suffrage movement. But who was Matilda Joslyn Gage? In her time she was considered a “founding mother” along with Anthony and Stanton. However, Gage was written out of history.

The background drama will be explored by Sally Roesch Wagner, executive director of the Gage Center in Fayetteville, NY, and Deborah Hughes, president & CEO of the Anthony House in Rochester NY, who will present a compelling dialogue that explores the split between two of the three suffrage movement founders. The event is a joint presentation of the Susan B. Anthony House, The Matilda Joslyn Gage Center, and Votes For Women 2020.

Matlda Joslyn Gage

The rupture between Anthony and Gage will be revealed by the reading of correspondence between them. In a unique juxtaposition, Sally Roesch Wagner (Gage director) will read Susan B. Anthony’s letters while Deborah Hughes (Anthony House director) will bring Gage’s correspondence to light.

After the performance, the audience is invited and encouraged to join the dialogue.

Deborah L. Hughes is a strong advocate for human rights and equal opportunity for all, especially those who suffer discrimination based on gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or economic circumstance. As an ordained minister and theologian, she brings a depth of knowledge and breadth of experience to this dialogue and special program.

Dr. Sally Roesch Wagner is one of the first women to receive a doctorate in the US for work in women’s studies and is a founder of one of the country’s first women’s studies programs. An author and lecturer, Dr. Wagner appeared in the Ken Burn’s PBS documentary “Not for Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony for which she wrote the accompanying faculty guide.

Tickets are priced at $20.20 (tax-deductible) and are available at www.rosendaletheater.org or the box office.

For more news items like this, subscribe to Suffrage Wagon News Channel.

The buzz has started about the suffrage centennial parade on March 3, 2013

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Suff buffs and citizens in general have been hearing a great deal these days about the centennial parade planned for Sunday, March 3, 2013 in Washington D.C.  The parade celebrates the spectacular suffrage procession of March 3, 1913, a key date in women’s rights history. It was a significant show of strength for suffragists, and a galvanizing point for the Votes for Women movement.

It’s also the centennial of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, organizer of the 2013 parade as part of their festivities.  When a troop of fearless young black women from the  new Howard University sorority joined the all-white parade in 1913, they boldly challenged the segregationist policies that might have excluded them.  Now, one hundred years later, the sorority leads the parade!

The parade was specifically designed for its aesthetic value. It’s remembered as both a political marvel and a brilliant spectacle, including a pageant and an astonishing procession of divisions of hundreds of women in coordinated color costumes arranged by profession, organization, and state.  Floats highlighted women in American history and many marchers carried vibrant banners and flags. Following the 1913 parade, the special care devoted to the planning by suffragist Alice Paul became recognized and appreciated.

After the parade of over 5,000 women and men had marched more than a mile from the Capitol, intoxicated opponents demonstrated.  Crowds surged forward and blocked the marchers.  Women on foot and on the floats were insulted and accosted.  Troops on horseback drove the crowds back so the shaken suffragists could complete their parade.

It’s a pivotal event to remember. March is National Women’s History Month.  Commemorate the occasion by joining or supporting the parade on March 3, 2013 in DC. There’s a full schedule of events and exhibits. In addition to Delta Sigma Theta, national coalition members planning events include the National Women’s History Museum, Sewall-Belmont House & Museum, American Association of University Women, and National Women’s History Project.

For more information, visit unitewomen.org  Check in with Suffrage Wagon’s videos and postings. LINK.

Susan B. Anthony DANCES as part of One Billion Rising!

VIDEO SPECIALS: A tribute to Susan B. Anthony who joins One Billion Rising across the United States and around the world. Susan’s video tribute. LINK. Susan dances with One Billion Rising. LINK.

It’s Valentine’s Day, a day of love and caring and respect for those who are special. It’s a perfect day for One Billion Rising which unites many different types of people in a rising of spirit, action, energy and determination. Let’s put an end to violence to women and girls.

Dance with Suffrage Wagon today. RSVP at suffragewagon at gmail dot com

February 15th is Susan B. Anthony’s birthday, a day celebrated by suffrage advocates and allies during Aunt Susan’s life time that continues to this day. Many women over the years called themselves Susan’s nieces. And it seems fitting to continue the tradition.

Susan’s smiling on February 14, 2013. Join us for One Billion Rising!

WE LOVE YOU, AUNT SUSAN!

Keep up to date with Suffrage Wagon News Channel.

Action: Join One Billion Rising with us!

Women are rising all over the world. Join the demonstration of women and the men who love them. Visit Suffrage Wagon News Channel on Thursday, February 14, 2013 and be part of our virtual party during One Billion Rising.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Ideas: Marguerite’s Musings

Huddling under the covers mornings until the last minute like me because it’s so cold? Still trying to dig your way out of the snow in the driveway? Needing some last-minute gift ideas for the suffrage buff in your life?

It’s freezing here and the snow hasn’t cleared from my back yard. But more gift ideas are coming in. One idea is the music CD by Bob Warren featuring Susan B. Anthony. “Only the Message Mattered” is available on CD Baby and Amazon. You can listen to mp3 samples online. For more information.

bobwarren4Check out our special page with gift ideas for the suffrage buff in your life.

Find out about Grandmother Edna’s birthday on December 25th. She’ll be 120 years old.

Video wishing Suffrage Wagon News Channel a happy third birthday during December 2012.

Subscribe to Suffrage Wagon News Channel and don’t miss updates during 2013. Don’t forget to check out our regularly-updated magazine page.

Artist from Seneca Falls, NY passionate about the suffrage Big Three

Katherine Pfeffer Pross is an artist and painter from Seneca Falls, New York who considers herself “intensely concerned about equal rights and peace in the world.” She says: “I create works that are thought provoking with messages of inspiration and enlightenment.” One of her favorite movies is “Iron Jawed Angels.”

In this painting Pross features Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Matilda Joslyn Gage, who are considered The Big Three movers and shakers of the American suffrage movement. You may have heard about Anthony and Stanton. Matilda Joslyn Gage is less well known, although her participation and commitment to the cause is increasingly coming to the forefront. This is due, in great part, to the work of scholar Sally Roesche Wagner, director of the Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation in Fayetteville, New York.

Susan B. Anthony is a corker! Find out for yourself!

Cartoon of Susan B. Anthony

They called her Aunt Susan and she had so many adopted nieces, people couldn’t keep count. That’s why this post features a ten-minute audio clip from “Jailed for Freedom” by Doris Stevens, published back in Grandmother Edna’s day, that gives you a feeling of almost being there.

Susan B. Anthony died before the ratification of the 19th amendment that gave women the right to vote in 1920. So when August 26th comes around this year, at a time when people aren’t usually thinking about Aunt Susan, consider the possibility of having a party. There are lessons to be learned by putting on a skit about Susan. How about courage? Vision. Inner strength. She had her eye on the prize of women voting and wouldn’t give up. These themes are eternal.

I didn’t even have a script when I directed and produced my own Susan skit back in 2010. I went to the primary sources, lifted lines straight from the record, recruited the cast, and everyone had a blast with dress ups. The audience got the point.

So if you’ve been toying with the idea of putting on a program for August 26th (Women’s Equality Day) or a special fundraiser or other event for your friends, organization, or club, try Susan B. Anthony’s arrest in 1872 and her trial for voting. The trial was a hit at the Susan B. Anthony birthday party I organized in February of 2010, and it’s especially relevant for other special events because it’s an example of nonviolent civil disobedience. Susan was arrested for voting, and everyone knew back then that women couldn’t vote.

The audio clip on this post is a wonderful resource, plus the internet is a great resource for finding quotes from Susan, as well as her speeches, for reading out loud.  Here’s Susan B.’s petition to Congress in January of 1874. And resources from Susan’s trial record. Think about it! It’s a great way to introduce young people to Aunt Susan and there are great parts: Susan, the officer who arrests her, the district attorney, and the judge. Drama, conflict, plenty of action. Great lines.

Now –see how you do on a quiz about Susan B. Anthony.

Valentine’s Day stories about suffrage, PLUS a composer who used a toothbrush to conduct a song!

The Brits have come through royally with their recent media coverage of the English suffrage movement. Especially with the first broadcast of audio interviews of suffragettes recorded back in 1977 by prominent British historian Brian Harrison. This past weekend’s BBC radio special,  “The Lost World of the Suffragettes,” reveals the character, political context, and personalities of these gutsy activists. This coverage adds much to the rich collection of Votes for Women stories.

The BBC television pieces entitled Christabel Pankhurst: “I wanted to assault a policeman”  and another recent segment called “Fight to clear Derby suffragette Alice Wheeldon’s name” are worth the five minutes or so you’ll spend watching. The BBC news magazine even has an article raising the question of whether or not the English suffragettes were regarded as terrorists in their day.

Note the valentine illustration above by American artist Ellen Clappsaddle. There’s no doubt where she stood on the issue of Votes for Women!

Stories of the suffrage movement can also tickle your funny bone. A favorite of mine is about the well-known British composer, Dame Ethel Smyth,  imprisoned for the suffrage struggle in England. When serving time in Holloway prison, Smyth leaned out of her cell and used her toothbrush to conduct the suffragettes in the prison yard singing “The March of the Women,” the work Smyth composed.

You can hear Smyth’s own voice on a special podcast from the BBC. Come on, now. This podcast is only three minutes long. Painless. And don’t forget that Susan B. Anthony’s birthday is February 15th! This link to the Susan B. Anthony Day notes the opposition to it becoming a national holiday though Susan’s day is observed or celebrated officially in several states.

How could a wealthy woman like Alva Belmont be a radical Votes for Women advocate?