Tag Archives: Rosalie Jones

Great news about national award for Suffrage Wagon music video, plus 9 suffrage storytelling videos!

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GREAT NEWS:

The National Federation of Press Women has awarded the Suffrage Wagon music video, “The Spirit of 1776: A Suffragette Anthem,” second price in its category (32A) in the national media competition. “Spirit of 1776,” an anthem to sing along with, inspired by the horse-drawn wagon and used by activist Edna Kearns, is now in the collection of the New York State Museum. This award-winning music video by songwriter and performer Eighty Bug recognizes the vast grassroots network that became necessary to build support for women voting over a period of 72 years.

OTHER VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS FROM SUFFRAGE WAGON NEWS CHANNEL:

1. The video story of how “Spirit of 1776″ suffrage wagon came to travel for the suffrage movement.  YouTube.  Vimeo.

2. What happened on July 1, 1913 when the “Spirit of 1776″ wagon hit the streets to organize for the suffrage movement is highlighted in numerous newspaper articles in the metropolitan New York City area. YouTube.  Vimeo.

3. Little Serena Kearns accompanied her mother Edna Kearns on the first journey of the “Spirit of 1776.” This video highlights the many ways in which Serena became a poster child for the women’s suffrage movement on Long Island and in NYC. YouTube. Vimeo.

4. The Kearns family (Edna, Wilmer and Serena) set out on the “hike” to Albany, NY with Rosalie Jones to see the Governor about women’s suffrage on January 1, 1914. This video highlights the march. Vimeo.

5. Edna Kearns worked closely with many women on Long Island to organize for the vote. This video focuses on Rosalie Jones and her highly-publicized marches and events.

6. Edna’s husband, Wilmer R. Kearns, not only supported his wife and daughter in suffrage movement activities, but he participated as well.

7. Photos from the life of suffragist Edna Kearns. The family photo album snapshots.

8. Edna Kearns and Serena Kearns picketed the White House in 1917.

9. The “Spirit of 1776″ suffrage wagon played an important part in the 1913 organizing campaign on Long Island. The wagon was also used for speakers’ platforms, for exhibits and suffrage parades in New York City.


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Suffrage activists thought outside the box!

suffragettes_england_1908How do suffrage stories speak to us today? They tell us that there’s a long history of people who reached toward change and had no idea in the moment of the impact and outcome of what they were doing. What’s the message for today? Think outside the box. Even if you’re convinced your cause is hopeless, take an important step by documenting your campaign. Small actions become larger in significance over time.

Suffragist activists in the U.S. and England both went up into the air to make their point. One story is about Long Island suffragist Roaslie Jones who tied down her skirts with blue string in 1913, gathered together a stack of yellow Votes for Women leaflets, and took off in a plane from the Staten Island airport for a trip to throw the literature from the sky.

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“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.

Washington’s Spies and the link to the “Spirit of 1776″ wagon: Suffrage Wagon Cafe special program

TURN: Washington’s Spies shows Long Island in 1777 and Suffrage Wagon Cafe program shows what happened 100+ years later on Vimeo.

Special Program: Suffrage Wagon Cafe

“TURN: Washington’s Spies” Foreshadows Suffrage Wagon Confrontation in 1913 by Marguerite Kearns

Activist Rosalie Jones was a loose cannon on Long Island back in 1913. She was controversial in public and in her own family. Rosalie Jones appeared often in the newspapers for her stunts and unusual Votes for Women demonstrations, such as marching to the state capitol and demanding to see the governor in 1912 and 1914. Without Rosalie Jones, we wouldn’t know that after more than 100 years after the American Revolution, some people on Long Island still supported English King George III.

A NEW TAKE ON AMERICAN HISTORY

Back in school, no teacher ever mentioned that during the war for independence significant numbers of Americans identified themselves with the British. Nothing demonstrates this more clearly today than Long Island as portrayed in the A&E television series, “TURN: Washington Spies” that goes into its second season on April 13, 2015. The tensions within Rosalie Jones’ own family on Long Island made the issue of Tory loyalties simmer and spill into the public arena in 1913.

If it hadn’t been for the “Spirit of 1776″ suffrage wagon and its 1913 journey for Votes for Women organizing on Long Island, the continued polarization of the population might not have come to light. This confrontation in Huntington, NY is featured in this special article I wrote for New York Archives.

THE PLAYERS IN THE 1913 CONTROVERSY BETWEEN TORY AND PATRIOT DESCENDANTS

The players in July 1913: Suffrage activist Edna Kearns who drove the horse-drawn wagon called the “Spirit of 1776″ into Huntington, NY and Mary Livingston Jones, the mother of suffragist Rosalie Jones. Mrs. Jones identified herself as the descendant of Long Island Tories and demanded the activists stop immediately in their use of the “Spirit of 1776″ wagon. Edna Kearns told a Brooklyn Daily Eagle reporter (who covered the incident) that Mrs. Jones’ tirade made her fear for her life.

Mrs. Jones insisted the old horse-drawn wagon had been in the possession of Tory descendants the previous century, and she threatened legal action against the New York State Woman Suffrage Association for misrepresenting its history. The confrontation at the Huntington, NY parade had been provoked, no doubt, by the disagreements suffragist Rosalie Jones had with her mother and sister. Jones family members considered themselves the elite of Long Island for their long-time residency and old money. Rosalie didn’t view the Tory position and the anti-suffrage position as linked together. Her mother and sister did, however. In a 1913 article from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Mrs. Jones spoke of Tories and their prominence on Long Island as if the war for independence just happened yesterday.

WHY THE SECOND SEASON OF A&E’s “TURN” IS A GREAT TIME TO REVIVE THE SPIRIT OF 1776 STORY . . .

Long Island was divided in loyalties in 1776. A significant number of colonial sympathizers moved away after the Battle of Long Island. And the island became even more entrenched in loyalist support in the aftermath of the British capture of New York City. This was well portrayed in “TURN: Washington’s Spies” during its 2014 first season, enough for the intrigue and spy thriller to hook two million Americans and have them glued to their TV sets. So the TV series going into its second season performs a much-needed service of expanding the understanding of American history, even if some of the details have been crafted to meet the storytelling requirements of Hollywood.

Mrs. Mary Livingston Jones halted the Votes for Women parade in July 1913 with her claim that the “Spirit of 1776″ wagon had been in the possession of her ancestors, the Hewletts, before the suffrage movement decided on the vehicle’s use for grassroots organizing on Long Island. It was, therefore a Tory icon, not a patriot one, Mrs. Jones insisted.

The suffragists disagreed and proceeded to carry their own message of patriotic protest to towns and villages all over Long Island during the summer of 1913. More than 20 newspapers, including the New York Times, covered the splash caused by the “Spirit of 1776″ wagon and its supporters at suffrage demonstrations, rallies, and special fundraising events. See representative media. No legal action resulted, despite Mr’s Jones’ threats. Without the confrontation in Huntington, NY, we wouldn’t be privy to the fact that Long Island remained polarized between loyalists and patriots, on some level at least, more than a century after the end of the war for independence.

COLONEL HEWLETT PORTRAYED AS NICE GUY, IN THE WRONG PLACE AT THE WRONG TIME

If you’ve been following “TURN: Washington’s Spies,” the Hewlett name should be familiar to you. He’s the TV character wearing a red British uniform, not a bad guy actually –more like a decent guy in an extremely awkward situation. It’s not politically correct these days to make our former enemies, especially the English, look too bad. This happened back in 1917 with filmmaker Robert Goldstein, and a controversial trial that sent Goldstein off to federal prison for ten years. U.S. President Woodrow Wilson later commuted Goldstein’s prison sentence to three years. But the filmmaker’s crime had been specific: making the English look like brutes during the war for independence in his silent film, a crime not addressed under the First Amendment during World War I.

A 1913 Long Island history clearly identifies the Hewletts as the largest and most powerful of all Tory families on Long Island. So it shouldn’t have been necessary for the TV series to import a Hewlett from England to wear a red coat. In actuality, Hewlett represented a well-known household name for Tory support on Long Island. Hewlett family members remained on Long Island after the American war for independence after they officially declared their loyalty to the new nation.

DID THE TORY CONVERSIONS TO THE NEW NATION MAKE PEOPLE FORGET THEIR PREVIOUS LOYALTIES?

Pressures to become patriots didn’t make the Hewletts revolutionaries overnight any more than the threat of death convinced many Jews to willingly convert to Christianity at the time of the Inquisition. This had been Mrs. Jones’ point (indirectly) when she confronted the suffrage activists on the streets on Huntington, NY in July 1913, a perspective preserved by the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reporter’s account. Mrs. Jones made it clear that her relatives, the Hewletts, resented being linked to the colonial cause.

Long term, the Hewletts’ conversion to patriots seems to have been enough for family members to continue living on Long Island after the American Revolution without limping around, tails between their legs. Later, Hewlett family members became the source for stories told to the suffrage activists that the “Spirit of 1776″ wagon had been a symbol of patriotism, not Tory loyalties. The suffragists took advantage of the opportunity to spread this patriotic protest message in 1913. Patriotic protest had been a key theme of the suffrage movement going back to 1848 when the Seneca Falls, NY signers of the Declaration of Sentiments linked their civil rights struggle to the spirit of 1776 and the American Revolution. In 1913, Edna Kearns and other activists dressed in colonial costumes and milked the patriotic protest theme for all it was worth in the cause of votes for women.

But the Hewletts couldn’t shed their loyalist associations easily. The state education department, back when the agency was in charge of historical street markers, produced one marker to stand in front of the home of Richard Hewlett in Rockaway, NY. There, Richard Hewlett was acknowledged as the local Tory who planned the capture of General George Washington. Long Island newspaper accounts during the 1920s suggested that Tory loyalties and the threats on the life of George Washington were, in the opinion of many local residents, best forgotten. But with the second season of “TURN: Washington’s Spies,” we’re treated to a new spin on an old story.

RESOURCES: Videos about Rosalie Jones demonstrate how her support for Votes for Women might have annoyed her mother and sister who were avid supporters of the state and national anti-suffrage cause. “Rosalie Jones and her band of activists marched to Albany, NY in January 1914″; “Rosalie Jones’ hikes to Albany get people’s attention”; “Rosalie Jones; High-Profile Long Island Suffragist.”

Suffrage Wagon Cafe is openFollow 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 your friends at the Suffrage Wagon Cafe. Follow SuffrageCentennials.com 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.

100 Years Ago in Two Videos: Marguerite’s Musings

Marguerite's MusingsONE HUNDRED YEARS AGO:

A review of the suffrage “hike” or march to Albany, New York in January 1914,  a little over 100 years ago. My grandparents Edna Kearns, Wilmer Kearns, and my mother’s older sister Serena Kearns started out from New York City on January 1, 1914 with Rosalie Jones and a band of other brave souls. The first video version about the march or “hike” to Albany, NY highlights newspaper articles of the period. It’s followed by a feature where I had fun. Check out the second video version.

Here’s another version of the same event with images from the Library of Congress and several examples of memorabilia from the Suffrage Wagon News Channel collection.

A review of the complete “Playing Politics with the President” story series in the event you missed any of the episodes: Podcast #1. Podcast #2. Podcast #3. Podcast #4. Podcast #5. Podcast #6. Podcast #7, Podcast #8, Podcast #9 of the nine-audio podcast series about US President Woodrow Wilson and the impending showdown over the issue of women voting. This is the leadup to when things became sticky and led to the National Woman’s Party picketing the White House and prison time in 1917.

FacebookCOMING SOON: The fall issue of the quarterly newsletter. Follow Suffrage Wagon News Channel with email twice a week, as well as on Facebook and Twitter. Quarterly newsletters just by signing up. Please 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.

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.

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.