Tag Archives: women’s suffrage

New York State’s wagon women are Rosalie Jones, Elisabeth Freeman & Edna Kearns: a special for Women’s History Month

Rosalie Gardiner JonesThe “Spirit of 1776″ suffrage campaign wagon in the collection of the NYS Museum is a terrific jumping-off point when telling the suffrage story. New York State is not only the “Cradle” of the women’s rights movement in the U.S., but New York has its three wagon women: Rosalie Jones, Elisabeth Freeman, and Edna Kearns. All three suffrage activists drove horse-drawn wagons on Long Island and beyond that figured prominently in suffrage activist tactics and strategies in the period from 1913 to about 1915.

Only one horse-drawn wagon used for grassroots campaigning remains from this period, and that’s the “Spirit of 1776″ used by Edna Kearns in the collection of the New York State Museum.

Rosalie and Elisabeth garnered considerable attention, especially in rural areas, when they traveled by wagon to Ohio and Washington, DC. Women traveling in a horse-drawn vehicle represented a novel attraction along the road, and it enabled face-to-face contact with many voters who otherwise would not have heard the women’s message.

See video on Rosalie Jones. Elisabeth Freeman’s great niece, Peg Johnston, has been telling Elisabeth’s story through a web site loaded with detail. Long Island historian Natalie Naylor considers suffragist Rosalie Jones one of her favorite characters from history. See Natalie Naylor’s book that features Roaslie Jones, as does the book on Long Island suffragists by Antonia Petrash.

And of course, there’s my grandmother Edna Kearns who has been inspiring me for years to learn more about the suffrage movement and spread the word through Suffrage Wagon News Channel. The great part is that Rosalie, Elisabeth and Edna worked together in the cause, and today we carry on the message of this early wave of voting activists.

Big media jumping on the suffrage bandwagon during Women’s History Month

FollowSuffrageWagonWhat do Google and the New York Times have in common? The increasing recognition of and coverage of the suffrage movement. The Times blog ran an article during Women’s History Month about the women’s rights historic sites in the Finger Lakes region of New York. #1. #2. And Google is featuring a terrific presentation by Ken Florey, whose columns about suffrage memorabilia have been published in Suffrage Wagon News Channel in the past few years.

Ken Florey’s  “Women’s Suffrage Memorabilia” is included with twenty-three other exhibits in the “Women in Culture” section of Google’s Cultural Institute. Memorabilia produced by suffrage organizations and other sources from 1890-1917 include suffrage-related china, pennants, buttons, photography, ribbons, sashes, sheet music, journals, and other related material all designed to promote or oppose the franchise for women.

In other news, the exhibit “Records of Rights” continues at the National Archives. A column in the Washington Post gives an overview of the display and its significance, including the special section on women’s rights. While “Records of Rights” is a permanent exhibit, certain documents are changed periodically. The National Archives is at 700 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC. Admission is free.  #1. #2

Who was in the very front line of the suffrage movement? Margaret Brent from Maryland played an important role in 1648 when she marched into the Maryland Assembly and demanded the right to vote. #1. #2. A new book called Voices of Cherokee Women by Carolyn Ross Johnston features 52 accounts by Cherokee women. While it doesn’t deal specifically with the suffrage movement, it’s exciting to note breakthroughs in the coverage of womens’ history. #1. #2. 

Follow the Suffrage Wagon for news and views of the suffrage movement.

International Women’s Day features new film by Dutch women: “Ahoy!”

Inez Milholland in Dutch film "Ahoy!"

 American suffragist Inez Milholland on horse, featured in film by Dutch women, “Ahoy!” 

Message from the Dutch women who filmed “Ahoy!” and featured American suffragist, Inez Milholland.

With pride we present our film Ahoy! unsurpassed women of the world. The film is about a young woman who’s inspired by the lives of heroines. When  the leadroll dreams, some heroines come alive. Eventually the main character makes a decision. In this film we honour female leadership and courage of women all over the world and show their relevance for women in our time.

The idea of the film  came  as a result of a year project “Heroines Woldwide” from our Dutch Women´s organization Zeeuwse Wereldvrouwen. Our women’s group is located in the south of the Netherlands, the province Zeeland (Sealand). We live on a peninsula. We meet every week and the participants are Dutch women and women from all over the world, young and old etc. The goal of our organization is to empower women  and to increase awareness in society about the role of women. We work through education, art, film, poetry and with projects. At the moment we’re working on the project Silent Voices about violence against women. The exposition will open on March 8th, International Womens’ Day 2014.

During the year-long project “Heroines Worldwide,” all women chose  a heroine from their own original country and shared it with the group. In this way we got to know many unknown heroines. We made a Wall of Fame in our room where we have our weekly meetings.

For most of us, Inez Milholland was totally unknown. We were excited when we heard about her. Her story is so inspiring and visual. We definitely wanted her in our film. We found out a lot of heroines who died young and dedicated their life to womens’ rights.

Making the film was a real adventure. We did everything ourselves. The film is entirely shot on iPhone. And women of our group played the heroines. We asked the community to help us with locations and horses.

This project has really changed us. Actually, playing the heroines, literally crawling into their skin, changed the spirit of our group. On the 14th of February 2014, we joined the One Billion Rising movement and we went on the streets to demonstrate against violence  against women, and we also danced Break the Chain. With us was a Dutch heroine Aletta Jacobs  (also in our film) she came to life, to demonstrate with us and hold a speech for the public. We are not to be stopped now. Thank you, Inez Milholland, and all the other heroines.

The film has shown at Film By the Sea in Vlissingen and Cineffable, Filmfestival International Lesbien et Feministe du Paris. 
www.roslinprager.nl       http://vimeo.com/61417700 

www.zeeuwsewereldvrouwen.nl

Book about suffrage leader Anna Howard Shaw, plus need for suffrage film!

New book on Anna Howard ShawIt has been a long journey for women’s history professor Trisha Franzen of Albion College whose new book on suffrage leader Anna Howard Shaw represents two decades of research and writing to produce the work now available from the University of Illinois Press. Anna Howard Shaw: The Work of Woman Suffrage is believed to be the first major work on this suffrage leader who was well known in her time but has faded into the past. Thank you, Trisha Franzan, for your vision and persistence.

The film “Suffragette,” now in production in England about the militant wing of the suffrage movement, is getting attention in the U.S. because of its subject matter (about women and women’s history), and also because of the opportunities for women in film roles. “The Academy’s Celluloid Ceiling” is the topic of a public radio program by host Martha Burk who interviewed Melissa Silverstein, founder of the Women and Hollywood blog. The last dramatic film about the suffrage movement, “Iron Jawed Angels,” was produced by HBO back in 2004. Both commented that it’s about time for this part of American history to receive more exposure. Both Burk and Silverstein lament the declining numbers of women involved in the Hollywood movie business and say it is unacceptable to make it close to impossible for women to break into the industry.

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

Meryl Streep will be headliner in new “Suffragette” film in UK

Suffrage Wagon News ChannelNext week the cast and crew for the UK film Suffragette will be busy as the cameras roll. Meryl Streep will play suffrage activist Emmeline Pankhurst in the Ruby Films drama. In February, the national League of Women Voters celebrates its 94th birthday since its founding following the passage and ratification of the 19th Amendment.

Every time a posting arrives in my box from the Montana women celebrating their state suffrage centennial, I’m excited. What’s a recent story? The Montana web site, “Women’s History Matters,” highlights real people from Montana, people on the grassroots, our friends and neighbors, or they would have been if we’d lived in those times and places. It’s a tender and respectful, and let me say a “sweet” acknowledgment of those who might have been in our families and communities, and they certainly fit into the larger human family. Take the article, “Rose Gordon: Daughter of a Slave and Small-Town Activist,” for example. I love it!

In Rose Gordon, I can see myself and many others who persisted in spite of the odds throughout life. When I write about my suffrage activist grandmother Edna Kearns, I’m also writing about the tens of thousands of women across the nation who put themselves on the line and made a mark, even if they didn’t realize it in the moment. The Montana suffrage celebrants are doing a terrific job. We stand on the shoulders of women like Rose Gordon.

For news about suffrage centennials, check out suffragecentennials.com

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

“I walk on my suffragist grandmother’s carpet”: Marguerite’s Musings

Marguerite's Musingsby Marguerite Kearns

My writing space at home has two pieces of Oriental carpet –sections of the rug Grandmother Edna Kearns had in her home over 100 years ago. The carpet feels sturdy under my feet.  Though these remnants are now frayed and attract dog hair, I’d never expected this floor covering to have  lasted so long. But it has, just like the suffrage stories  Grandmother Edna passed down to me through my mother and of course, Edna’s own articles, stories and writings.

I can identify only a few things as having been touched by my grandmother. There’s the carpet, Edna’s tea tray, her silverware and letters, and suffrage archive. I walk on Edna’s carpet daily. Often I’m down on my knees tucking under frayed edges. When others mention how important it is to walk in other people’s shoes, I stand on Grandmother Edna’s carpet, listening to voices now faint (but growing louder) in this fast-moving world.

Suffrage stories are exciting. And they’re threatening. They’re a reminder of a time of grassroots organizing –people united in their determination to make change. We live in a time again of women rising, and at the same time, we are witnessing the last hurrah of a social system losing ground that no amount of legislation and other obstacles placed by backlash movements can change.

Grandmother Edna Kearns’ life has transformed me. The suffrage stories that have come down from her generation suggest the many ways in which it must have been a heady experience to have been involved in the suffrage movement. It represented a rush of sensation in a dead environment where education, marriage, political and personal power were limited, or for many, non existent. Women made many compromises, but the cat was out of the bag. Equality was on the horizon, and there was no turning back.

Women understood the value of working together, building constituencies, power and control through a nonviolent social revolution. As I walk on the carpet each day, I remember the legacy of our grandmothers and great grandmothers, as the power of their suffrage stories grow larger in spirit. The carpet’s surface is worn and beautiful in its strong threads.

Stay up to date with Marguerite’s Musings, plus news/views/stories  of the suffrage movement at the suffrage “go to place,” Suffrage Wagon News Channel.

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

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

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

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

Follow the suffrage wagon and subscribe on YouTube and Vimeo. You can also stay in touch with the wagon through Twitter and Facebook.