Tag Archives: Emmeline Pankhurst

Message from Dr. Helen Pankhurst on Day #4 of Suffrage Wagon Cafe’s opening festival!

Marguerite Kearns, your host

Hi, I’m Marguerite Kearns on our fourth and final day of the opening festivities for Suffrage Wagon Cafe. Today we’re delighted to showcase the message to American women voters from U.K. women’s rights activist Dr. Helen Pankhurst.

The casting of Meryl Streep to play English suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst in the “Suffragette” film has brought new attention to Pankhurst’s great-granddaughter. Dr. Pankhurst is also the granddaughter of Sylvia Pankhurst. The international release of the “Suffragette” film has been scheduled for October 2015.

Dr. Helen Pankhurst sends message to American women voters! Spirit of 1776 special from Suffrage Wagon Cafe  on Vimeo.

VIDEO SOUNDTRACK: “THE MARCH OF THE WOMEN” BY ELIZABETH JOHNSON

The video soundtrack features Elizabeth Johnson in a performance of “The March of the Women,” the anthem of the women’s suffrage movement in England. It was composed by Ethel Smyth in 1910 and became famous during the suffrage movement there. “The March of the Women” is still widely performed today.

The entire song by Elizabeth Johnson is available on the Suffrage Wagon audio channel (https://soundcloud.com/suffragewagon/march-of-the-women-sung-by-elizabeth-johnson-a-spirit-of-1776-special).

“SUFFRAGETTE” FILM BRINGS INCREASED ATTENTION TO VOTES FOR WOMEN

Dr. helen Pankhurst and her message to American women votersDr. Helen Pankhurst was recently featured in a photograph released on International Women’s Day in March 2015 showing her with the cast of the film “Suffragette.” This major motion picture from the U.K. stars Meryl Streep, Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter, Ben Whishaw, Brendan Gleeson, Romola Gerai, and others. It is the first film ever to be shot at the Houses of Parliament in London. “Suffragette,” the film, highlights the struggles of women’s rights activists during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

DR. HELEN PANKHURST’S MESSAGE

“Both in the United States and in the United Kingdom, women fought long and hard for the right to vote, and to be voted in as politicians,” Dr. Pankhurst told Suffrage Wagon News Channel. “They faced derision and both private and public violence before attitudes started to change.

“The campaign for equal suffrage continues both in our two countries and all over the world. It is needed everywhere. Either the right for equality hasn’t been won, or it has in theory. But obstacles remain that impede progress on representation in practice,” Dr. Pankhurst continued.

“If we want a better world, every one of us needs to vote for those that are closest to representing our view in local and national elections. For those who feel their views are not represented by the current options of political candidates, more –not less—political activism is the solution. By caring enough to be politically engaged, we honor both ourselves and previous generations who campaigned for our right to have a voice,” Dr. Pankhurst concluded.

Although our SWAN Day opening festival at Suffrage Wagon Cafe has come to an end, we remain persistent in our goal of inspiring, motivating, educating, and entertaining audiences about how we stand on strong shoulders. The suffragists were “there” for us. Let’s be “there” for them by voting and becoming leaders in the world today.

IN OTHER NEWS: New York City will celebrate Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s 200th birthday on Thursday, November 12th with an artistic interpretation of the Declaration of Sentiments by feminists, activists, and artists at the Historic Great Hall at Cooper Union in New York City. More details to be announced. Stay tuned for updates and a surprise announcement about the music video, the “Spirit of 1776″ suffragette anthem starring Eighty Bug and the Suffragist Sisters. Suffrage Wagon Cafe will continue planning special programs and events.

Opening of Suffrage Wagon CafeWRAP UP OF THE SUFFRAGE WAGON CAFE OPENING FESTIVAL PROGRAMS:

Link to March 28, 2015 Program: Welcome from Marguerite Kearns, Suffrage Wagon Cafe host. The cafe menu. News about the “Spirit of 1776″ wagon exhibit. Video feature about visiting Seneca Falls, NY, a destination and a pilgrimage.

Link to March 29, 2015 Program: New 2015 film, “10 Days in a Madhouse” highlights the contributions of Nellie Bly, an early press woman and investigative reporter. There’s a film trailer, an intro from Suffrage Wagon Cafe, and a selected reading from Nellie Bly’s writing.

Link to March 30, 2015 Program: Elizabeth Johnson sings “In Her Sphere,” vintage music from the suffrage movement. Song appears in suffrage songbooks and it was sung at rallies. Video highlights the anti-suffrage movement. And book by Susan Goodier, “No Votes for Women,” gives an overview of the anti-suffragists’ opposition.

FacebookFollow Suffrage Wagon News Channel on Facebook and Twitter. Quarterly newsletters just by signing up. Suffrage Wagon News Channel has video platforms on Vimeo and YouTube.

Meet friends at the Suffrage Wagon Cafe. Follow SuffrageCentennials.com for news and views about upcoming suffrage centennials. 

Can the U.S. catch up with the U.K. on suffrage movement awareness? Marguerite’s Musings

VIDEO: “Marguerite’s Musings” with Marguerite Kearns is a regular column about women’s history! on Vimeo.

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

The United States is racing to catch up with the United Kingdom that has been far ahead in terms of bringing awareness of the historic women’s suffrage movement to public attention in recent years. Keep in mind that American audiences haven’t seen a home-grown major motion picture on the suffrage movement since 2004 with the HBO production “Iron Jawed Angels.” Excellent documentaries, especially independent productions, are being produced on the American shores, as well as YouTube and Vimeo offerings.

Public interest in the American suffrage movement has increased dramatically since the announcement about the U.K. “Suffragette” production team casting Meryl Streep in the role of Emmeline Pankhurst, the pivotal leader of the militant wing of the English suffrage movement.

THE SEPTEMBER 2015 “SUFFRAGETTE” FILM FROM THE U.K. HAS SHAKEN THINGS UP

The U.K. “Suffragette” film production directed by Sarah Gavron and written by Abi Morgan has announced the film’s release in September of 2015. In previous announcements, the release date had been in January 2015. Already there’s speculation among entertainment commentators about the production’s Oscar potential in 2016. While the United Kingdom has had the edge in terms of public attention, there’s a growing audience of those who want to know more about long and difficult struggle for U.S. women to win the right to vote from 1848 to 1920. Suffrage centennial events and celebrations in the U.S. and abroad are taking on an increased importance.

The 2004 HBO film “Iron Jawed Angels” introduced millions of Americans to the 1917 picketing of the White House by Alice Paul and the National Woman’s Party. This led to the suffragists’ imprisonment, force feedings, and a round of publicity that wore down opposition to women winning the vote. The bold activism led to the eventual ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1920 that expanded the franchise for American women. The Turning Point Suffragist Memorial project is organizing to honor this period of the suffrage movement in its fundraising to have a suffragist memorial completed and operational by the 2020 suffrage centennial.

THE U.K. HAS GRABBED THE LEAD IN SUFFRAGE MOVEMENT AWARENESS

The U.K.’s prominence in suffrage movement awareness has a lot to do with the “Suffragette” film as well as the high-profile media attention showered on the centennial observance of the death of English suffrage martyr Emily Davison in 2013. By comparison, the American suffrage martyr, Inez Milholland, is much less known. The centennial of her 1916 death in 2016 may bring Milholland out of obscurity. However, it’s too soon to tell if U.S. suffrage martyr Milholland will ever have the same public recognition as Emily Davison in the U.K.

The second season of the BBC suffrage sit com “Up the Women” has made the suffrage movement familiar to a broader segment of British television audiences. And the recent release of a major book, “Sophia: Princess, Suffragette, Revolutionary,” by Anita Anand (Bloomsbury) focuses on an Indian princess, the goddaughter of Queen Victoria and a high-profile player in the English suffrage movement.

The book “Sophia” is a great read, and this book doesn’t stand alone. There’s also a growing body of scholarly research about the U.S. suffrage movement that has eroded the movement’s relative obscurity. Some excellent books have been published in the U.S. over the past few years. The close ties between the American and English suffrage movement from 1900 through 1914 are also of increasing interest on both sides of the Atlantic. Projects in the process of development in the U.S. include the proposed national suffragist memorial in Lorton, Virginia and a statue of Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton in NYC’s Central Park.

A LONG LIST OF THOSE PLANNING FOR UPCOMING SUFFRAGE EVENTS AND CELEBRATIONS

Various advocacy organizations and historic sites are already busy planning upcoming suffrage events from now through 2020. These include the National Women’s History Project, the Alice Paul Institute, AAUW, SUNY, the NYS Museum, New York City government, the Elizabeth Cady Stanton Foundation, the National Park Service, the New York State Council on the Humanities, NOW, the NYS Cultural Heritage Tourism Network, WAMC public radio Albany, Vision 2020, Susan B. Anthony Museum & House, the Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation, Sewall-Belmont House, the Girl Scouts, historic sites and local historical societies, the New York History blog, Turning Point Suffragist Memorial, Votes for Women 2020, Newseum, feminist and voting advocacy organizations, scholarly journals, and many individuals, community organizations, media outlets, public officials, state agencies, and those offering special content such as theatre, workshops, and conferences. If you are aware of suffrage events and programs, let me know at suffragewagon at gmail.com so I can add them to the expanding list.

ACTIVITY AND AWARENESS HAS INCREASED DURING 2015 IN THE U.S.

State centennial celebrations held west of the Mississippi in recent years have brought considerable attention to how American women there first won the right to vote. Delta Sigma Theta made a major contribution to awareness of the participation of African-American women in the movement when it organized record numbers of its members to participate in the centennial parade observance in Washington, DC in 2013.

Susan B. Anthony’s 195th birthday was observed in February 2015 by suffrage movement fans across the U.S. Ambitious plans are also in the works to celebrate Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s 200th birthday in November of 2015. The Women’s Rights National Historic Park in Seneca Falls, New York has announced an active program schedule throughout the year.

Tens of thousands of activists were responsible for American women winning the right to vote. It’s a remarkable accomplishment that deserves to see the light of day. And this means opportunities to mobilize on the local, state and national levels. Don’t forget to bring memories and stories from family archives out of the closet and down from the attic. And support ALL suffrage-related events. If you demonstrate support for the efforts of others, the support will also be there for you.

FacebookFollow Suffrage Wagon News Channel on Facebook and Twitter. Quarterly newsletters just by signing up. Suffrage Wagon News Channel has video platforms on Vimeo and YouTube. Follow SuffrageCentennials.com for news and views about upcoming suffrage centennials. 

“Great Work, Meryl Streep”: Marguerite’s Musings about the “Suffragette” film from the UK

"Marguerite's Musings" by Marguerite Kearnsby Marguerite Kearns

During an interview recently about the upcoming film “Suffragette” from the UK, Meryl Streep announced: “Girls, we’ve been waiting for this.”  Who was she talking to?

I haven’t been a girl for so long, I automatically assumed she wasn’t talking to me. But Meryl Streep got my attention and she’s referring to the new film, “Suffragette” from the UK where Streep has a starring role as Emmeline Pankhurst, the English suffrage movement matriarch. If there’s anyone who can knock down doors and get people to pay attention to something important, it’s Meryl Streep. She’s in a perfect position to bring this neglected part of history to light.

Meryl Streep made the point in an interview with USA Today that in their day, suffrage activists in England provoked the government so much that authorities developed surveillance cameras to document those they perceived to be terrorists.  In yet another statement, Streep expressed surprise about how the mainstream media generally has ignored this part of history.

APPEAL TO MERYL STREEP TO PRESS FOR ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS

How refreshing it is for those of us struggling to get out the word about the suffrage movement to have someone like Streep join the cheering section! While you’re out there, Meryl, please affirm the growing number of folks pressing for answers to questions about upcoming suffrage centennials as well as the 2020 suffrage centennial commemorating the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. A considerable amount of blood, sweat and tears went into this accomplishment.

Will the upcoming 2020 national suffrage centennial in the U.S. receive the attention and funding it deserves? Is a national suffrage centennial commission realistic? The commission established to commemorate World War I recently received $5 million for its mission of serving as a national clearing house for events and programs. At the present time, there’s nothing in the wings for women and their suffrage centennial except more opportunities for yard and bake sales to carry out similar work.

WILL THE 2020 SUFFRAGE CENTENNIAL DO AS WELL AS THE CENTENNIAL FOR WORLD WAR I?

Meryl Streep, we’re delighted you’re on board. And we trust that you’ll be asking other questions wherever you go, such as:  Will the 2020 suffrage centennial observance in the U.S. bring to the attention of present and future generations the significance of this important votes for women accomplishment?

In what way will we receive the torch from past generations of activists and pass it on? There’s so much ground to cover and the “Suffragette” film is a terrific opportunity to raise questions and expect answers. Let’s the most of it, Meryl. We’re counting on you. And count on us to be allies by telling our friends about “Suffragette” and our plans to stand in line to buy tickets on opening night in mid September 2015!

BREAKING NEWS: The UK is pressing forward, not only with the “Suffragette” film but with the publication of two new books about the English suffrage movement: one about Princess Sophia and another about Emmeline Pankhurst. Stay tuned!

FacebookFollow Suffrage Wagon News Channel 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 suffrage centennials and women’s freedom to vote.

The “Spirit of 1776″

Emmeline Pankhurst addresses crowd in U.S.

English suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst trumpeted the spirit of 1776 in her famous 1913 speech, “Freedom or Death,” when on a speaking tour in the United States: “We found that all the fine phrases about freedom and liberty were entirely for male consumption, and that they did not in any way apply to women. When it was said taxation without representation is tyranny, when it was ‘Taxation of men without representation is tyranny,’ everybody quite calmly accepted the fact that women had to pay taxes and even were sent to prison if they failed to pay them – quite right. We found that ‘Government of the people, by the people and for the people’ . . . was again only for male consumption; half of the people were entirely ignored; it was the duty of women to pay their taxes and obey the laws and look as pleasant as they could under the circumstances. In fact, every principle of liberty enunciated in any civilised country on earth, with very few exceptions, was intended entirely for men, and when women tried to force the putting into practice of these principles, for women, then they discovered they had come into a very, very unpleasant situation indeed.” Entire text of speech.