The story behind the story. . .

Grandmother Edna Kearns took the “Spirit of 1776” wagon to Long Beach in July of 1913. When she drove the suffrage campaign wagon onto the beach, it caused quite a stir, not to mention when she stood in the waves and wore a yellow bathing cap and a yellow sash while holding signs that were described as a Votes for Women “voiceless speech.” Silence was a tactic used by the movement, and the most famous example of this can be found in the “Silent Sentinels” pickets of the White House in 1917, which Grandmother Edna was a part of, as well.

This  article –“Suffrage Talk Amid Waves” is descriptive enough to give us a sense of what it must have been like sitting on the beach that day and watching the suffrage demonstration. Silent marching in parades and witnessing is getting attention today from activists who continue the silent tradition that was also practiced by the suffragists. More often than not, the suffs don’t get credit for it.


9 responses to “The story behind the story. . .

  1. That article fascinates me. It’s a “little” wagon, and “little Mrs. Wilmer Kearns,” a “big fat man,” “small Serena Kearns” in a “little bathing suit,” etc.

  2. I enjoyed reading your article.

  3. Thanks for this post. You are doing a great job.

  4. I love the background of events and the personal stories of people.

  5. Benita Glover

    My social studies teacher never mentioned women’s suffrage. What’s the problem? Maybe it’s because they never learned about it themselves.

  6. Could you send me a bibliography of material to read on this subject of women getting the vote?

  7. I loved the Times coverage of the event. When I go to the exhibit, it will give me something to think about. That the campaign wagon was almost, not quite, in the surf with grandmother Edna.

  8. During the closing years of the long campaign for woman suffrage, street meetings were held. Among those who helped in this work were Mrs. Frank Hiram Snell, Miss Florence F. Stiles, Miss Elizabeth Eggert, Miss O’Toole and Miss Sellers. Receptions were given to the “yellow flier,” the automobile sentacross the continent by the National Association, and to the “prairie schooner,” the car sent by the Just Government League of Maryland to tour its southern counties. Miss O’Toole travelled with the “schooner” two weeks, speaking several times a day. A delegation from the College League met it at the District line and a procession accompanied it into the city under police escort. In the evening a public reception was given at the Washington College of Law. From 1916 the association assisted the National Association at its new headquarters, 1626 Rhode Island Avenue, by serving tea afternoons and raising money through bazaars, rummage sales, card parties, etc.

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