Monthly Archives: January 2017

Women’s rights & the Chinese New Year!

Watch the Video

Chinese fortune cookies for the Chinese New Year on Vimeo.

Make Chinese Fortune Cookies at Suffrage Wagon Cooking School on Vimeo.

January is Hot Tea Month. There’s nothing better than a hot cup of tea and a homemade fortune cookie to reflect on the impact of the mass women’s demonstrations across the nation and around the world.

The suffrage movement and period tea houses have a close connection, a relationship you’ll be hearing about more as more people become more aware of the voting rights activism from 1848 to 1920 resulting in the passage and ratification of the 19th Amendment.

Linking the past, present and future doesn’t seem like a big deal, but there’s more awareness than ever—something evident, for example, in the flurry of articles and features about Inez Milholland (1886-1916), America’s suffrage martyr. Yes, there were women’s marches before 2017. And yes, the longevity only adds momentum and strength to the calls for equality, justice and freedom. Sadly, Inez Milholland wasn’t the recipient of a presidential citizens medal at the end of the Obama administration. She certainly deserved it.

Celebrate women’s freedom to vote and the outpouring of interest and support in an extraordinary part of American history by observing Hot Tea Month and the Chinese New Year.

Marguerite KearnsFollow for news and views about upcoming women’s suffrage centennial events and celebrations. 

“Choose it and Use it” is a video reminding us of how the past is linked to what we do today and its impact on the future.

Celebrate women’s freedom to vote at Suffrage Wagon News Channel.


Marching in 1913 & 2017. Reports from Suffrage Wagon Cafe!

It’s one thing to read about the split between Alice Paul and the main suffrage organization at the time, NAWSA. It’s quite another to realize that my grandmother Edna Kearns witnessed it. An article in the New York Tribune in November following the big 1913 suffrage parade in the nation’s Capitol laid out how the New Yorkers headed to Washington, DC for the NAWSA convention. Edna boarded the train with the New York delegation, accompanied by women whose names may be familiar to lovers of suffrage history: Inez Milholland, Mary Garrett HayElisabeth Freeman, Ida Craft, Mrs. Arthur Livermore, Portia Willis and many others. It would be the national convention where the split between NAWSA’s direction and that of Alice Paul came to the surface.

Reports from the streets are pouring in. Kenneth Florey, women’s suffrage researcher and columnist, started out from home with Emilia van Beugen and found that getting to the New York City march occupied more effort than could have ever been imagined. Ken Florey writes on suffrage movement memorabilia and his works are available through McFarland and Company. Suffrage Wagon News Channel has carried Ken’s articles about Hot Tea Month and the close connection of tea houses with the movement. One of Ken’s previous articles during January, Hot Tea Month.

Here’s a report from Ken Florey in New York City for January 21, 2017.

Emmy van Beugen and I originally intended to go to the Washington DC March, but circumstances prevented that. New York turned out to be almost as spectacular. I first knew that the original estimate that 25,000 people would attend the NY march was way too low when the Metro-North train that we took from Connecticut to Grand Central Station in NY essentially overflowed. When we arrived, the terminal was filled to capacity, and we could hardly move. When we went to the central restrooms, the line was so large that transit attendants on duty allowed women to use the men’s room as well as the women’s room (except if they were from North Carolina). We then proceeded to the staging area near the UN, where our start was determined by alphabetical order of our last name.

Unfortunately not knowing this arrangement, Emmy had sent in our registration under her name (“V”) and not under mine (“F”). We had difficulty making our way to the staging area, all of the streets and side streets were covered with demonstrators. When we did arrive, there was a huge crowd that did not seem to be moving. We decided to go back to one of the entrance points to see if it would be easier to crash into the March. We were very fortunate to have done so as we later heard tales of people waiting for up to four hours before they could start marching. The march itself was enormous with people crowding the streets from its beginning to its end.

People were packed in tightly, and it was difficult to move. While this was a Women’s March, there was a sizeable contingent of men also, along with many families including children and babies. The atmosphere was friendly and excited. There were absolutely no incidents of violence or intimidation. There were no anti-march protestors along the way, and the police were efficient and helpful. I did ask one cop how many marchers were in the crowd. He told me that the clicker one of them was using to determine the size had broken because of excessive use. We learned later that the official police estimate (not the media estimate) was around 500,000, which certainly explained our inability to move around. Most of the signs were predictable, but a few were amusing. These included: “This is a fake sign,” and “I am so mad at so many things that I don’t have space to list them on this poster.” We did not see any vendors that I had expected. Organizers apparently did give out a few buttons, but most of the badges, posters, and apparel were brought by the marchers from home.

As we marched, people were sending photos by cell phone and keeping up with activities throughout the country. My impression then, as was substantiated later when I saw news accounts, was that marches across the country were about the same—much, much larger than anticipated, so big in fact that parades were cancelled or rerouted.

We were rerouted in NY as well as the march was originally supposed to have ended at Trump Tower, but whether for security reasons or to keep the crowd moving, the march ended two streets early. On the way out, Emmy and I made it a point to thank the police for how well they handled the march and for how helpful they were to the marchers themselves. We returned to New Haven by train, only to find that the next shoreline train to our town did not leave until an hour and forty-five minutes later. A woman on the train, a complete stranger, offered to have her husband drive us home. Ordinarily we would have refused, but we were so tired at this point that our gratitude knew no bounds, and we took her up on her offer. We returned home and spent the evening watching on tv marches throughout the country, and we were intrigued to find that our experiences were generally shared by people all over. The bathroom situation in NY may or may not have been unique, however. This is not the type of story generally carried on the news.

Marguerite Kearns is your host at the Suffrage Wagon Cafe.

Visit our Vimeo channel for videos and special announcements. 

Follow for news and views about upcoming suffrage centennials. 

You can follow the Suffrage Wagon on Twitter  and Facebook.

Off to the 2017 women’s march on Suffrage Wagon!

We’re off to the 2017 women’s march in body & spirit! on Vimeo.

The 2017 women’s march in Washington, DC, across the United States and around the world is not only historic, but we couldn’t have imagined it like this. Back in 2009 when we stated blogging, people’s eyes glazed over when we mentioned the suffrage movement. They knew very little about it. Today, the long and difficult struggle is mainstream. Women wear white in honor of those voting rights activists on whose shoulders they stand. The 2017 march, the largest to date, is acknowledging the past, present, and future. It’s inclusive. It’s extraordinary. It’s marvelous. It’s amazing. Back when the idea of suffrage centennial observances and celebrations seemed remote and unlikely, a base was being laid to pull everything and everyone together. We’re at a tipping point. There is no going back. There’s no pulling the covers over our heads at night. Planes, buses, taxis, hikers, bikers and people of all ages and backgrounds are on their way. Get the news. Make the news. Carry the present spirit into the future. Great work, folks!

Suffrage Wagon CafeMarguerite Kearns is your host at the Suffrage Wagon Cafe.

Visit our Vimeo channel for videos and special announcements. 

Follow for news and views about upcoming suffrage centennials. 

You can follow the Suffrage Wagon on Twitter  and Facebook.

The good news & the upcoming women’s march! Musings by Marguerite Kearns

Watch the Video

The “Spirit of 1776” suffrage wagon is in our future!  on Vimeo.

On this last day of the Obama administration in Washington, DC, I am coming up for air after a well-deserved and health related break and rest. You can’t keep a suffrage history nut under control, however.

The nation is buzzing with news of the upcoming Women’s March in Washington, DC.

January dawned with the start of the long-awaited 2017 New York State suffrage centennial. Events and programs. local and county proclamations, exhibits and theatrical performances are popping up all over and this is expected to continue from now through 2020, the nation’s suffrage centennial when American women will have been voting for 100 years.

THE NEWS: U.S. President Obama did not award our national suffrage martyr with a citizens medal, a nomination that has been pending for more than a year. I’ve been in my cave for over a year working on this. The centennial campaign for Inez was under the auspices of the National Women’s History Project. The co-chair with me on this project, Bob Cooney, wrote a book about Inez Milholland ( That fueled his passion, and I was driven by how my grandmother Edna worked with Inez in the course of her suffrage work in New York City and on Long Island. The amount of awareness about Inez has been growing at a tremendous rate across the country. This has been due, in part, to the 2016 film, “Forward Into Light,” the 15-minute production from filmmaker Martha Wheelock. Get your own copy at:  And stop by the Inez Milholland Centennial web site to sign up for the newsletter. We’re not going away!

THE GREAT NEWS: Hundreds of women will be gathering at Inez Milholland’s grave in Lewis, NY on Saturday, January 21, 2017— the day of the big women’s march in Washington, DC. It’s one of the hundreds of “sister” marches throughout the nation and throughout the world.

OUR NEXT INITIATIVE: To support the New York State Museum in putting the “Spirit of 1776” suffrage campaign wagon used by Edna Kearns on permanent exhibit past the 2020 national suffrage centennial. See video above. And we’re grooving on how the word has spread about how we stand on strong shoulders when linking the past with the present and future.

Suffrage Wagon CafeMarguerite Kearns is your host at the Suffrage Wagon Cafe.

Visit our Vimeo channel for videos and special announcements. 

Follow for news and views about upcoming suffrage centennials. 

You can follow the Suffrage Wagon on Twitter  and Facebook.

A nod to the 2017 women’s march in Washington, DC

Watch the Video

Women’s Marches & Parades: “The Song of the Women” on Vimeo.

Birthday cakes are in your future when you follow the Spirit of 1776! on Vimeo.

Suffrage Wagon News Channel supports the 2017 women’s march in Washington, DC on January 21, 2017. The video “Women’s Marches & Parades” hints of the long American tradition of women’s marches. We’ve been a partner in the Inez Milholland Centennial observance during 2016. Inez, who died for women’s voting rights, has been nominated for a presidential citizens medal. The nomination was submitted more than a year ago and we’re crossing our fingers that President Obama will award it before he leaves office. Check with the web site for updates. And honor women’s rights activists whose birthdays are in January. The National Women’s History Project not only sponsored the Inez Milholland centennial campaign, but its web site features the birthdays of many American women.

Suffrage Wagon CafeMarguerite Kearns is your host at the Suffrage Wagon Cafe.

Visit our Vimeo channel for videos and special announcements. 

Follow for news and views about upcoming suffrage centennials. 

You can follow the Suffrage Wagon on Twitter  and Facebook.

Inez Milholland Petition being considered by the White House: Suffrage Wagon Cafe program

Watch the Video

Support Inez Milholland for a presidential citizens medal! on Vimeo.

Finally—the Inez Milholland citizens medal is being considered by the White House. Today, the following message was sent to the over 1,000 individuals and organizations who signed the petition in support of U.S. President Obama awarding Inez Milholland (1886-1916) with a presidential citizens medal before he leaves office. This year-long campaign sponsored by the National Women’s History Project has brought Inez Milholland and women’s history to the attention of millions of Americans. Thank you for your ongoing interest and support.

JAN 6, 2017 —

Dear Friends,
The InezMilhollandCentennial has been an energetic and embracing campaign with over one thousand individuals registering their support for honoring Inez Milholland, our nation’s suffrage martyr. Whether a presidential citizens medal is forthcoming or not, Inez has been honored and will continue be recognized thanks to all of you. We are grateful and feel validated that so many people responded, some quite eloquently.

Marguerite Kearns & Robert P.J. Cooney Jr., co-chairs of


When women march in Washington on January 21, 2017, they are following in the footsteps of forerunner Inez Milholland. Riding a white horse, Inez led the historic, commanding, and impressive 1913 march to demand women’s right to vote.

It is timely and appropriate to award Inez Milholland a Presidential Citizens Medal for her sacrifice and commitment to women’s equality. Milholland was nominated for the medal in 2015. Visit the web site for more information.

The 2017 march will be the second historic women’s march in the U.S. Capitol linked to a presidential inauguration. The first was the great woman suffrage demonstration on March 3, 1913, just before the inauguration of President Woodrow Wilson. The leading mounted herald of that spectacular Votes for Women march, which included between 8,000 to 10,000 participants, was Inez Milholland (1886-1916). Her dynamic and youthful Joan of Arc image was featured in newspapers across the nation. Three years later, Milholland died during an intense suffrage campaign at age 30 and became the nation’s suffrage martyr.

The year 2016 was the centennial of Milholland’s death. The National Women’s History Project ( sponsored the year-long centennial observance. The release of a new film, “Forward into Light,” by Martha Wheelock of Wild West Women has spread the story of Milholland’s ultimate sacrifice to thousands of individuals, schools, libraries, and community groups across the nation (

U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier of California nominated Milholland in November 2015 for the award and over one thousand individuals and organizations have registered their support for the nomination on a petition to the President.

Turning Point Suffragist Memorial Association in Lorton, Virginia, has joined with the National Women’s History Project in California and other groups and individuals across the nation in a growing network building toward 2020, the centennial of American women winning the right to vote.

Your name was included in the petition delivered to the White House for the President’s consideration. Inez Milholland carried a banner going back to 1911. The banner message read:

“Forward, out of error
Leave behind the night
Forward through the darkness
Forward into light!”

Light a candle in honor of Inez Milholland during 2017 —the centennial of New York State women winning the vote in 1917. Visit New York for a wide range of suffrage exhibits, receptions, theatrical productions, music, song and dance celebrating women’s freedom to vote.

New York State understands the value of cultural heritage tourism. Support a similar policy where you live. And appreciate how you have played an important part in an ongoing movement of justice and equality.

We stand on strong shoulders!

For more information: and

Suffrage Wagon CafeMarguerite Kearns is your host at the Suffrage Wagon Cafe.

Visit our Vimeo channel for videos and special announcements. 

Follow for news and views about upcoming suffrage centennials. 

You can follow the Suffrage Wagon on Twitter  and Facebook.

New Zealand has suffrage centennial medal: Why not citizens medal for Inez Milholland?

New zealand suffrage centennial medalIf New Zealand can issue a suffrage centennial medal, can the United States manage a similar act of recognition?

Inez Milholland (1886-1916) died in the course of working for women’s rights. The year 2016 marked the centennial of her death in California. In 2015, U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier nominated Milholland for a presidential citizens medal. Yet it is possible that there will be a change in administrations in Washington, DC and Milholland’s nomination will fall into the cracks.

It’s not likely that this would happen in New Zealand because it has had a Suffrage Centennial Medal in place since 1993. The national medal was intended to “recognize those New Zealand and Commonwealth citizens who had made a significant to women’s rights or women’s issues within New Zealand.” The medal has been awarded to 546 men and women.

Is there a problem in the United States? We’re trailing New Zealand and other parts of the world if Inez Milholland doesn’t qualify for a presidential citizens medal before the change of administrations in Washington, DC. Of course there is a rush for last-minute issues, but the presidential citizens medal for Milholland was filed more than a year ago.


Take a look at the New Zealand medal. It’s circular and bronze with an antique finish. The ribbon is purple with three narrow stripes of white, yellow and white in the center. When worn, the medal can be suspended by the ribbon shaped into a bow. The medal was manufactured by the Royal Australian Mint.

New Zealand was the first nation in the world to grant women the right to vote. It took American women more than 72 years of hard struggle to win this same right.

Doesn’t 2017 qualify this nation to consider a presidential medal for Inez Milholland? After all, 2016 was the centennial of the death of Milholland, our national suffrage martyr. The medal is significant especially after the election year of 2016 highlighting the first woman from a major party to run for the nation’s highest office.


There is still time for action. But will it happen in time? Inez Milholland led the first inaugural women’s march in Washington, DC of 8,000 to 10,000 women in 1913. The 2017 women’s march in mid-January is the second such inaugural march of women designed to draw attention to women’s rights.

The awarding of a presidential citizens medal for Inez Milholland is part of a long-term effort by the National Women’s History Project to write women into American history. Individuals and organizations have been doing this work for more than 35 years. Awarding Milholland this medal will be a step in the right direction and something to be applauded.

For more information about New Zealand that has its act together, follow this link.

Suffrage Wagon CafeMarguerite Kearns is your host at the Suffrage Wagon Cafe.

Visit our Vimeo channel for videos and special announcements. 

Follow for news and views about upcoming suffrage centennials. 

You can follow the Suffrage Wagon on Twitter  and Facebook.