Tag Archives: women’s suffrage

Kearns Family Members Got Together over the Holidays: Marguerite’s Musings

Marguerite's Musings

It’s always fun to stumble on a family connection. It’s one thing to know that my Kearns relatives are still based in Beavertown, PA where my grandfather Wilmer Kearns was born. And it’s even more exciting to know the extent of their ties and how they spent the holidays visiting, either in the NYC area or Beavertown, PA

I found a social notice of Max and Peg Kearns (Wilmer’s brother and sister in law) visiting Wilmer and Edna Kearns in 1917 in the South Side Observer of Long Island, December 30, 1917. “Mr. and Mrs. Charles Maxwell Kearns, of Pennsylvania, are the guests of Mr. and Mrs. Wilmer Kearns for several weeks.”

I’m busy documenting how Wilmer Kearns served as treasurer of Kearns Motor Car Company, the family business,  when he and Edna lived in New York City. And Lulu Kearns, Wilmer’s sister, played an important part of suffrage organizing with my grandmother Edna Kearns in 1913.

A holiday video greeting.

Another opportunity to celebrate the holidays with the Suffrage Wagon on Vimeo.

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A video about contacting Santa with our wishes, plus Suffrage Wagon news notes

VIDEO about the annual ritual of writing down what we want for the holidays.  No news yet from the U.S. Congress about the prospect of moving the “Votes for Women” heritage trail out from the dungeon and onto the floor of Congress. But there’s been considerable speculation about the  possibility of the proposed Harriet Tubman national park passing through Congress because it has been tacked onto a defense appropriations bill. The national women’s history museum is in all of this mix. Pay attention this week to your favorite news junky sources and keep an eye on the proposed Harriet Tubman national park.

As for me, I’m stressing over the upcoming holiday. I made one breakthrough today after realizing that I have one gift idea already in Santa’s bag. Check out the posting about the new book, Remembering Inez. Visit SuffrageCentennials.com

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VIDEO, plus News Notes for November 2014 from Suffrage Wagon

Marguerite's Musings with Marguerite KearnsVideo about following the Suffrage Wagon on its ride to freedom. The street speaking of Edna Kearns in Nashville, Tennessee 100 years ago is the topic and you can find out more on “Marguerite’s Musings”.

SPECIAL FROM “THE OWL” (Long Island): November 29,1914:

“Miss Rosalie Jones organized a squad of speakers on nearly every corner in Nashville. This is the first time that street speaking has been tried in a southern city. Mrs. Laidlaw, Mrs. Norman Whitehouse, Mrs. Raymond Brown, Miss Potter and Mrs. Wilmer Kearns were among the women who held the men of Nashville spellbound with their speaking, and in spite of the fact that it started to rain, not a man left the crowd. Even when it poured so hard the speakers themselves gave up, yet their audiences were still there; talking it over under the awnings, when they left. Mrs. Wilmer Kearns, of Rockville Centre, had the distinction of having the Governor of Tennessee listen to her speech, even when it rained. These meetings are the outcome of the Forty-Sixth Annual Convention of the National Woman Suffrage Association, held in the House of Representatives at the capitol in Nashville.” 

FacebookFollow Suffrage Wagon News Channel with email twice a week, as well as on Facebook and Twitter. Quarterly newsletters just by signing up. Subscribe to email on the Suffrage Wagon blog. Stay up to date with audio podcasts and videos. Comment on the Suffrage Wagon blog to register your views and observations. Follow the news about suffrage centennials while celebrating women’s freedom to vote.

Tennessee governor listened to suffragist Edna Kearns’ speech in pouring rain 100 years ago!

Story of Tennessee governor listens to Edna Kearns in pouring rainby Marguerite Kearns

I heard the story about the Tennessee governor when I was young. Yes, in back in 1914 the governor of Tennessee listened to grandmother Edna Kearns’ suffrage speech in the rain. No one bothered to tell me where this happened. It could have been at Long Beach on Long Island for all I knew.

Even worse, I didn’t know enough to ask, but I got the message. The Tennessee governor was important. He listened to Edna speak. Therefore, my grandmother Edna must have been important. Not much to pass on in my storytelling, at least until 1oo years passed and the other day I delved into researching exactly what happened in November 1914.

I know nothing about what the delegates discussed at the National American Woman Suffrage Association annual conference in Tennessee where Edna served as a NYS delegate in the proceedings from November 2 to 17, 1914. But I know now that Long Island suffragist Rosalie Jones set up suffrage street speeches all over Nashville, the first time that street speaking for the suffrage cause had been tried in a Southern city. Edna Kearns put herself in the thick of the street corner action.

Marguerite's Musings with Marguerite KearnsEdna Kearns, who’d made a reputation for herself back in New York as a popular suffrage speaker, captivated the attention of the Tennessee governor, Ben W. Hooper (1870-1957). He served the state from 1911 to 1915. His administration was so controversial, documents say, that armed guards were required in the state legislature. In 1920 the State of Tennessee legislature provided the final ratification vote to bring about the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. So all of this Big Picture explanation is now viewed by me in retrospect.

It was a novelty for women to speak in pubic on Nashville, TN street corners 100 years ago. So Governor Hooper must have been fascinated to listen in the rain to a determined activist like Edna Kearns who didn’t fold up shop when the rain pelted the sidewalks. It was a big deal, just as I’d heard about as an impressionable youngster –and even more so now that I’m aware of the details. Back in New York in November 1914, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle ran a long article about the contingent of Long Island women who took Nashville by storm in November 1914. And we’re enjoying hearing about the details 100 years later.

FacebookFollow Suffrage Wagon News Channel with email twice a week, as well as on Facebook and Twitter. Quarterly newsletters just by signing up. Subscribe to email on the Suffrage Wagon blog. Stay up to date with audio podcasts and videos. Comment on the Suffrage Wagon blog to register your views and observations. Follow the news about suffrage centennials while celebrating women’s freedom to vote.

“Why I support the suffragist memorial” on Day #14 of the first “Night of Terror” observance

Graphic for "Night of Terror"by Marguerite Kearns

One more day to go on the “Night of Terror” blogging. I wouldn’t have predicted I’d make it to the end of this two-week stretch of daily blogging. It’s all for a good reason. November 15, 1917 became a “turning point” in the 72 year struggle for American women to win the right to vote.

Some people claim other turning points, like the March 1913 suffrage parade in Washington, DC, and the death of Votes for Women martyr Inez Milholland in 2016. But all these dates are related. It could be said they’re companion turning points culminating in the 1920 ratification of the 19th amendment. This is what the 2020 votes for women centennial will be all about…the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment. And oh, won’t it be great if the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial is completed on or before this suffrage centennial celebration. Follow news about suffrage centennials on email or Twitter.

This is why I urge you to join me in supporting the proposed suffragist memorial in Lorton, Virginia. The Washington, DC suffrage parade in 1913, followed by Inez Milholland’s death in 1916, directly led to the decision to picket the White House, and that became pivotal. Of course the unfinished American Revolution for women’s rights continues today. But that’s another story.

If there’s an enormous monument for Martin Luther King in the nation’s capitol, it makes sense for there to be a suffragist memorial not far away in Lorton, VA. Both monuments –the suffragist and civil rights monuments– acknowledge important parts of American history. If we believe in equality and justice for all, it’s important to affirm ALL manifestations of attempts to complete the American Revolution. We have a great deal to do: support our Mother Earth, achieve freedom and equality for everyone, plus much more. One piece of legislation –the 19th Amendment– expanded rights for more Americans than ever before and since. This at least deserves a memorial, don’t you think?

November 15th “Night of Terror” Blogging: Day #1 (Nov.1); Day #2 (Nov.2); Day #3 (Nov. 3). Day #4 (Nov. 4), Day #5 (Nov. 5). Day #6 (Nov. 6). Day #7 (Nov. 7). Day #8 (Nov. 8), Day #9 (Nov. 9), Day #10 , (Nov. 10), Day #11,  (Nov. 11), Day #12 (Nov. 12), Day #13 (Nov. 13).

FacebookFollow Suffrage Wagon News Channel with email twice a week, as well as on Facebook and Twitter. 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. Follow the news about suffrage centennials while celebrating women’s freedom to vote.

Day #6 and Audio Podcast #1 of the “Night of Terror”

"Marguerite's Musings" by Marguerite Kearnsby Marguerite Kearns

Day #6. I’ve been blogging for five days now in honor of the “Night of Terror” observance on November 15th, a partnership with Turning Point Suffragist Memorial Association.

We have the basics complete at this point. It’s clear that women became impatient after working continuously from 1848 to 1917. They were annoyed with the slow process. They hated being ignored. So they upped the ante by picketing the White House during the administration of U.S. President Woodrow Wilson starting in January of 1917 through the next year. Even with arrests, by November of 1917 the top federal government officials were impatient with the picketing. The “Night of Terror” resulted.

Here is Podcast #1 of the audio series, the “Night of Terror.” Production by Suffrage Wagon News Channel. Audio by Librivox. Reading by Kate West. From Doris Stevens’ “Jailed for Freedom,” 1920.

COMING SOON: More of the eight audio podcast series called the “Night of Terror.” You’ll get a ring-side seat account about what happened on November 15, 1917 at the Occoquan Workhouse as Suffrage Wagon News Channel partners with Turning Point Suffragist Memorial in this first annual observance of the “Night of Terror.” We support the building of the suffrage memorial! Join us.

November 15th “Night of Terror” Blogging: Day #1 (Nov.1); Day #2 (Nov.2); Day #3 (Nov. 3). Day #4 (Nov. 4), Day #5 (Nov. 5).

Audio podcast series of the “Night of Terror.” Podcast #1.

Let’s get behind Turning Point Suffragist Memorial in funding and building a memorial to the brave women who picketed the White House and experienced the “Night of Terror.” We want to make sure the memorial is complete before or in time for the 2020 votes for women centennial that will honor American women voting for 100 years. Think of it. Imagine it. Support it.

FacebookFollow Suffrage Wagon News Channel with email twice a week, as well as on Facebook and Twitter. 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.

A homework assignment for the “Night of Terror: A basic video to start

Marguerite's Musings, a feature of Suffrage Wagon News Channelby Marguerite Kearns

The other day a friend of mine asked me for homework? “What do you mean?” I responded.  I couldn’t help but consider the question a joke. Then the talk grew serious. She really wanted a video, a podcast, or a crash course on the suffrage movement, an exciting part of American history. Either she’d been absent at school when the “Night of Terror” had been taught, or the 1917 picketing of the White House by American suffrage activists simply wasn’t in any of her teachers’ lesson plans. Fortunately Suffrage Wagon is partnering with Turning Point Suffragist Memorial on the November 15th “Night of Terror” observance, or I wouldn’t have been able to respond so fast.

OK. Here it is. If you haven’t seen the Lady Gaga parody, watch it. The video always reveals surprises. And while you’re watching, imagine that the streets near the White House in 1917 as bedlam some days when the women lined up with their picket signs. By the time November 15th rolled around, things were hot and heavy at the Occoquan Workhouse, the scene of the “Night of Terror.” I always think of it personally, as when my grandmother Edna Kearns and my aunt, Serena Kearns, then 12 years old, joined hundreds of others from around the nation to stand vigil at the White House gates in the U.S. Capitol to press for change.

From November 1 through November 15, Suffrage Wagon News Channel is partnering with the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial to draw attention to the “Night of Terror” at the Occuquan Workhouse near Washington, DC. This means that Turning Point Suffragist Memorial will be Tweeting like mad, and you can touch in with my musings over the next two weeks. Tweets and Facebook deliver the updates. Or you can subscribe by email.

Watch the video. Take a careful look at this music video produced in 2012 by Soomo Publishing that took the nation by storm and won a raft of awards for excellent educational programming. The “Bad Romance” video highlights the picketing at the White House, as well as the process of ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. A lot to cram into a video of about three minutes. But it’s worth the effort. It takes much more than three minutes to explain the suffrage movement that took 72 years. So consider yourself significantly up to speed. And pass this along this history to women voters headed for the polls on Tuesday. This video alone is reason enough to vote, but we’re building a foundation to celebrate suffrage centennials in the future, including the 2020 suffrage centennial.

The next two weeks constitutes a crash course on the suffrage movement, with the end point of the “Night of Terror” in mind on November 15th. In another segment of my “Musings,” I’ll review the content of the nine podcast series recently completed on Suffrage Wagon News Channel called “Playing POlitics with the President.” It gives the background as to why the suffragists of the National Woman’s Party picketed the White House in the first place. But I’ll get to that soon. Stay tuned!

FacebookFollow Suffrage Wagon News Channel with email twice a week, as well as on Facebook and Twitter. 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.