Tag Archives: suffragettes

Suffrage Wagon Cafe opens on March 28, 2015 during Women’s History Month

VIDEO: Suffrage Wagon Cafe: Grand Opening on SWAN Day on Vimeo.

A music video, the “Spirit of 1776: A Suffragette Anthem,” celebrates grassroots activism during Women’s History Month in March. The music video is one of the highlights of the opening of Suffrage Wagon Cafe on March 28th, SWAN Day, an international celebration honoring women artists. Suffrage Wagon Cafe is an online meet-up place dedicated to entertainment and education.

“Americans are making a connection today between their family histories and the larger sweep of American history. The result has been like a jolt of electricity that’s redefining our cultural identity,” Marguerite Kearns explained when speaking about her own suffrage activist grandmother, Edna Kearns, who organized in New York City and on Long Island from 1910 to 1920. “Dry accounts in history books aren’t enough anymore. We want our history alive and relevant.”

With the popularity of programs like “Finding Your Roots” (PBS) and ancestry web sites, a collective memory of women’s history is now possible. This includes the narrative of how one hundred years ago in 1915 women laid an important foundation for voting and civil rights movements in the 20th century.

The anticipated release of the major motion picture “Suffragette” from the UK with Meryl Streep in a starring role is expected to bring the English and American suffrage movements to the attention of a broader segment of the public when the film is released in the fall of 2015. Already there’s speculation about the possibility of an Oscar win for the production.

Women in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts conducted bold campaigns in 1915 that involved thousands of indoor and outdoor meetings, telephone campaigns, lobbying of public officials, parades, and high-profile public relations campaigns. Although none of the referendum initiatives were successful, the extraordinary effort opened the door to the eventual victory and the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution in 1920.

The music video, “The Spirit of 1776,” makes this precedent-setting grassroots organizing effort more accessible to millions of Americans. The “Spirit of 1776″ music video to be highlighted at the Suffrage Wagon Cafe is available on YouTube (http://youtu.be/Aga11k5s0Bc).

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“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!

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Suffragette graphic novel and Votes for Women a la fashion!

Sally Heathcote, SuffragetteThis week’s release of the new graphic novel, Sally Heathcote: Suffragette and Chanel’s version of a Votes for Women parade are headliners this week. Audio Podcast #5 of the series “Playing Politics with the President” will be postponed until Thursday.

We’re pushing everything aside to talk about the release of the suffrage movement graphic novel, Sally Heathcote: Suffragette. I haven’t seen it yet, but the YouTube video from the UK gives an overview. So take a look at the video.

Meanwhile, CHANEL staged a commercial suffrage movement mock protest when it showcased its Spring/Summer 2015 line in late September. The suffragists in their day may have had fashion on their minds, though they wouldn’t have approved of the short skirts and stripes that look great only on women with rail-like figures. But they say that all publicity is good publicity! The word is getting out about a movement that was revolutionary in its day, and it’s inspiring us now! The reminders of this great movement are arriving in packages we might not have expected: fashion and graphic novel.

CHANEL fashion line

Handy links about the new graphic novel release: Author Mary Talbott’s web site. NPR review of the suffrage graphic novel. Book review from the Guardian.

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Follow the Suffrage Wagon on Facebook and Twitter. Subscribe by email. Stay up to date with audio podcasts and video. Take a few minutes later this week for Podcast #5 of the ongoing audio series, “Playing Politics with the President.” It’s a focus on 1913 and the brute persistence of those activists who refused to take “no” for an answer.

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NEW VIDEO: “Spirit of 1776″ for Women’s Equality Day!

Songwriter and performer Eighty Bug

This new music video has people talking. Now you can get in on the act by watching the “Spirit of 1776″ on YouTube. Songwriter and performer Eighty Bugg assembled quite a remarkable group of musicians, stage hands, filmmakers, and living history staff at the Heritage Museum of Orange County in Santa Ana, California.

It’s a fabulous production inspired by the “Spirit of 1776” suffrage wagon. The music video was produced by performer and songwriter Eighty Bug; directors Edwin Carungay and Lesha Maria Rodriguez; art director Jon Lagda; and the Suffragist Sisters featuring Eighty (banjolele and vocals), her sister Savannah Creech (ukulele and vocals), Ashli Lee Christoval (ukelele and vocals), Laura Guaico (tub bass), and Lisa Lui (violin), in addition to Max McVetty (percussion), and the Integral JRAT (guitar, mixing and mastering). The Heritage Museum of Orange County in Santa Ana, California provided the sets and production support.

“We’re recognizing the efforts of our ancestors by creating an anthem for women everywhere to learn and sing together,” said Eighty Bug who composed and arranged the video’s lyrics and music. Her musical career has included performances in a variety of styles, including pop, hip hop, soul, R&B, rock, country, electronica, down tempo, and dance music. She continued: “Just as Americans fought for freedom from tyranny in 1776 and suffrage activists organized for equality starting in 1848 at Seneca Falls, NY, we must continue to support our sisters today in the Middle East, India, Africa, Asia, Europe, North and South America, as well as throughout the world who struggle for freedom today.”

The music video pays tribute to suffragist Edna Kearns and others who hitched a horse to the “Spirit of 1776” wagon and wore colonial dress to make the connection between the American Revolution and the unfinished social revolution that left out women. Kearns’ work symbolizes the combined efforts of tens of thousands of activists across the nation who over a 72-year period participated in the U.S. women’s suffrage movement. They worked in local and state campaigns as well as in the final push to win passage and ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

For only the audio, the “Spirit of 1776″:

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Update on Susan B. party, “Suffragette”film, and new Prudence Crandall book

Susan B. Anthony PartyHere’s the basket, ready to go for last Thursday’s Susan B. Anthony party! The play was a hit and marked my niece Tara’s birthday on June 19th, and conveniently Susan B. Anthony’s trial commemoration as well.

What fun!

SusanBAnthony2There’s other news too. “Suffragette,” the major motion picture from the UK has completed filming and is on its way to release. The public relations team calls it “a thrilling drama that tracks the story of the foot soldiers of the early feminist movement, women who were forced underground to pursue a dangerous game of cat and mouse with an increasingly brutal state. These women were not primarily from the genteel educated classes; they were working women who had seen peaceful protest achieve nothing. Radicalized and turning to violence as the only route to change, they were willing to lose everything in their fight for equality – their jobs, their homes, their children and their lives. Maud was one such foot soldier. The story of her fight for dignity is as gripping and visceral as any thriller; it is also heart-breaking and inspirational.”

The New York State Legislature has closed up shop for this session. One bill addressing the creation of a suffrage centennial commission was introduced in the Senate in late May without any action. For more information.

Suffrage Wagon BookshelfPrudence Crandall’s Legacy: The Fight for Equality in the 1830s, Dred Scott, and Brown v. Board of Education by Donald E. Williams Jr. 470 pp. 6 x 9″ $35.00 Jacketed Cloth, 978-0-8195-7470-1 $27.99 Ebook, 978-0-8195-7471-8. Publication Date: June 2014.

Prudence CrandallPrudence Crandall was the Connecticut schoolteacher who educated African-American girls in the 1830s. Today, she is Connecticut’s official state heroine. All hell broke loose when she opened Miss Crandall’s School for Young Ladies and Little Misses of Color in Canterbury. Residents of the town refused to supply Crandall with goods necessary to run her school, and even went so far as to sabotage her efforts by poisoning the school’s well water. Crandall was ridiculed and finally arrested, but she only closed the school when it became clear that her students’ safety was at risk.

The year 2014 marks the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, as well as the 30th anniversary of the operation of the Prudence Crandall Museum in Canterbury, Connecticut. 

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Will “Suffragette” film win Oscar for Meryl Streep & new life for women’s history?

article-2580165-1C425C4700000578-184_306x700The filming’s continuing for “Suffragette,” the UK film and already there’s speculation about whether or not Merly Streep will win an Oscar for her role as Mrs. Pankhurst in the production. Not only that, but there’s a powerful media machine handing the film’s photos and press releases. More than 30 photos have been released to whet the public’s appetite for what’s to come. And don’t you just love those period costumes?

This is good for the suffrage movement and the public’s awareness of it as an important time in our history, though I suspect it will take some time for these influences to manifest. Ask people on the street about what they know about the suffrage movement. They’re either never heard of it, or their eyes glaze over. What? They’ll probably tell you that women’s history wasn’t covered back in their school days of old. The times, they are a’changing with an increasing number of suffrage history fans. The growing interest hasn’t yet reached the awareness of the mainstream of women voters.

Some politicians realize they need women voters to win elections, but they may not be so enthusiastic about women voters becoming excited by learning about their history. If so, they might be more inclined to vote for women political candidates and not for the men who claim to be standing up for women. This would be a switch, wouldn’t it? So meanwhile there’s plenty of lip service about women’s issues, but God forbid that women  voters start getting the point that it took 72 years from 1848 to 1920 for American women to win the vote, including the fact that the U.S. had one woman, a New Yorker, (Inez Milholland) die for the right to cast one’s vote.

More events and articles are posted on the internet about the suffrage movement than there’s time to read and stay current. So, the “Suffragette” film from the UK  is expected to place suffrage subject matter square in the faces of the American public starting in January 2015 when the film’s scheduled for release. Try a few links, including an interview with Carey Mulligan. And another piece featuring Carey Mulligan and her role in suff film. The media machine has been sending out great photos of the period production.

Follow the Suffrage Wagon for news and views of the suffrage movement. Stay current on the progress of the “Suffragette” film in production and remember that you read about it on Suffrage Wagon News Channel.

 

 

Martial arts enthusiasts jump on suffragette bandwagon! Check out Bonnie Smith during Women’s History Month

Mrs-Pankhursts-Amazons-teaser-graphic-updated1Mrs. Pankhurst’s Amazons is a three-part graphic novel by martial arts master Tony Wolf scheduled to be published by 47North, the science fiction, horror and fantasy imprint of Amazon Publishing. The trilogy takes place in 1914 and features the adventures of English suffragette Persephone Wright who leads a society of radical suffragettes known as the Amazons who are skilled in Bartitisu. See the web site for the 2014 publishing schedule not available at the time of this posting.

If there’s a community resource to admire, it’s Bonnie Smith and HistorySmiths. Bonnie’s not only passionate about women’s history, but she’s also a terrific resource for individuals, families, organizations, businesses and anyone else interested in featuring history storytelling and benefitting from it. If you can’t launch a history storytelling project yourself, check with Bonnie Smith. She consults, gives presentations, writes articles and books. What a powerhouse!

Follow the Suffrage Wagon for news and views of the suffrage movement during Women’s History Month!