Tag Archives: suffragettes

A women’s suffrage myth & a great free book with the inside story! Marguerite’s Musings.

“Jailed for Freedom” by Doris Stevens is featured book on Suffrage Bookshelf on Vimeo.

You can listen to the “Jailed for Freedom” book read free on Librivox.
Suffrage Movement Myth

by Marguerite Kearns

Have you heard the perspective referred to above that has been getting spread around lately? It compares the English and American suffrage movements and concludes that the English suffragette movement was exciting and creative while the American suffrage activists were boring and trite. So sad that these sister movements are being pitted against each other. If there’s anything positive about this old myth being trotted out into public, it’s to give these faulty assumptions an airing.

THE MYTH COMPARING ENGISH AND AMERICAN ACTIVISTS

The myth of exciting versus boring relies on the assumption that the English suffragists’ use of property damage, that is, a degree of violence, placed the English suffrage movement in a position of being considered more interesting than the American women who were “polite.” Translate that to “nonviolent.”

Sweeping generalizations underlie this myth. In fact, the women’s rights movements in England and the United States were committed to nonviolence. And later on, the English tactics that included property damage were controversial in their time and did not represent the sentiments of all English women engaged in the movement. Suffrage activists on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean argued vehemently about the best tactics and strategies necessary to reach their goals. And while they disagreed about tactics, they remained committed to the goal of freedom.

"Marguerite's Musings" on Suffrage Wagon News ChannelTHROWING ROCKS AND BLOWING UP MAILBOXES

Sadly, the perspective comparing the Americans and the English relies on a misunderstanding. Nonviolent tactics and strategies are considerably more difficult and challenging to implement than a decision to resort to violence. Throwing rocks definitely has more juice for the purpose of a mainstream film. A commitment to nonviolent social change isn’t as visual and tension producing as deciding to blow up a mailbox.

In fact, the ties between American and English activists were close. And both movements, for all their differences, can be plotted on the same path of working within a rigid political and social structure to accomplish similar goals while facing considerable resistance from government to win voting rights. While the American suffrage activists remained committed to nonviolent strategies, there’s no doubt that violence was used against them, especially those who picketed the White House in 1917 and were imprisoned and assaulted by authorities.

THE SIMILARITIES ARE IMPORTANT TO APPRECIATE

Both the suffrage activists in England and the U.S. went up against hard-core resistance. The picketing of the White House in 1917 heightened awareness of the women’s suffrage movement in the U.S. And if these activists hadn’t been successful in impacting national policy, it’s difficult to predict now, in retrospect, if U.S. women would have won the right to vote at all in 1920.

This old tired myth comparing the two movements will hopefully lose its power once the public is better informed about the spirit and determination and dedication that kept American suffrage activists with their eye on the prize. Check out Doris Stevens’ work, “Jailed for Freedom.” These free audio files from Librivox fill in more of what it took for American women to win voting rights.

As more research on the women’s suffrage movement is completed, books are published, and the constituency interested in this part of history grows stronger, we’ll join hands across the Atlantic. I envision a grand parade or awards banquet where English and American women honor our suffrage activist ancestors and properly celebrate this extraordinary accomplishment of winning voting rights together.

Onward to the 2020 suffrage centennial celebration!

WATCH THE VIDEO ON SUFFRAGE WAGON

Follow 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.

Comment on the Suffrage Wagon blog. 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. Celebrate women’s freedom to vote.

 

Women’s suffrage movement news features Nellie Bly & more

Suffrage Movement News Notes from Suffrage Wagon on Vimeo.

April’s news notes are highlighted in this video that also promotes the next program at Suffrage Wagon Cafe: May 8, 2015. An interview and special feature with Eighty Bug, award-winning performer and songwriter who just won an award for “Spirit of 1776: A Suffragette Anthem.” What are you doing for August 26th, the 95th anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution? A great time to plan a trip to the “Cradle” of the women’s rights movement in the U.S. –in the Finger Lakes region of New York State.

Nellie Bly on Google

Have you heard about the upcoming film, “10 Days in a Madhouse”? It’s due for release on September 25th. When I opened my browser to do a search, I almost fell off my chair to see Nellie Bly staring at me as a Google image. More.

Nellie Bly opened doors with her investigative reporting. And what better way to find out more than to stand in line for your ticket when the film opens this fall.

Nellie Bly

When Edna Kearns pounded on the doors of newspaper editors in NYC with her activist columns and suffrage news, her ability to find receptive ears was due, in part, to trailblazing Nellie Bly. The film “10 Days in a Madhouse” is getting attention at the Bentonville Film Festival. Great news! And check out the movie trailer and an audio reading from Nellie’s own writing! A special feature from Suffrage Wagon Cafe.

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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.

Suffrage Wagon Cafe is openMeet your friends at the Suffrage Wagon Cafe. Comment on the Suffrage Wagon blog.

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. Celebrate women’s freedom to vote.

COMING on MAY 8th: Interview and music by Eighty Bug, performer and songwriter at Suffrage Wagon Cafe

Eighty Bug awardVideo announcement. We’ll be featuring the award-winning performer and songwriter Eighty Bug at the next program of Suffrage Wagon Cafe on May 8, 2015.  What award? It’s for the music video, “Spirit of 1776: A New Suffragette Anthem.” And Eighty assembled quite a production team, plus an enormous boost from the Heritage Museum of Orange County in California. See the award, hot off the press from New Mexico Press Women.

Awards were also handed out to the major players of the production effort, including Edwin Carungay and Lesha Maria Rodrigues (music video directors), the Suffragist Sisters, Jon Lagda (art director), the Heritage Museum of Orange County, and many others. See the list of the entire production team on May 8th during the special program. Marguerite Kearns is your host at Suffrage Wagon Cafe, a special feature of Suffrage Wagon News Channel.

Award for Eighty Bug

Follow 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.

Suffrage Wagon Cafe is openMeet your friends at the Suffrage Wagon Cafe. Comment on the Suffrage Wagon blog.

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. Celebrate women’s freedom to vote.

Reporter Nellie Bly goes undercover on Day #2 of the Suffrage Wagon Cafe’s grand opening festival

Marguerite Kearns, your host

Suffrage Wagon Cafe: nellie Bly

With your host, Marguerite Kearns.

I’m back on this second day of the women’s history festival celebrating the opening of the Suffrage Wagon Cafe. This four-day festival started with my welcome greeting followed by the opening of the doors of the Suffrage Wagon Cafe. There was even a reminder that when you’re planning your next vacation, take a look at the video about visiting Seneca Falls, New York. It’s in the “Cradle” of the women’s rights movement in the United States. Some folks consider it a destination for travel, but for me and many others, it’s a pilgrimage that women’s suffrage movement fans take seriously.

NELLIE BLY: A TRAILBLAZING INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER

In this Suffrage Wagon Cafe feature, we’re focusing on Nellie Bly, one of America’s early investigative reporters. And there’s an upcoming film: “10 Days in a Madhouse.” Pull up a seat for two videos and an audio selection. The more I know about reporter Nellie Bly, the more I appreciate the shoulders on which my grandmother Edna Kearns stood when she covered and edited Votes for Women news for New York City metropolitan newspapers from 1910 to 1920.

Many people are aware of America’s early press women especially Nellie Bly and Margaret Fuller. Relatively few are aware of how suffrage activists were in this wave of America’s early press women. They made noteworthy contributions as editors, columnists, publicists, and reporters.

SPECIAL ON SUFFRAGE WAGON CAFE: The production team for the upcoming film, “10 Days in a Madhouse” estimates its release date to be late in September of 2015. 

Nellie Bly, America’s muckraker, press woman, investigative reporter, and her “10 Days in a Madhouse” on Vimeo.

10 Days in a Madhouse Trailer from TriCoast Studios on Vimeo.

AUDIO READING OF “10 DAYS IN A MADHOUSE”: This is a selected reading from Librivox. Nellie Bly’s writing about her undercover work is in the public domain. This edited selection is part of Suffrage Wagon’s audio collection on Soundcloud.

 

AN IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT: The “Suffragette” film from the UK has released its international distribution date as October 2015.

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

We’re spreading the word about upcoming women’s suffrage programs at Suffrage Wagon Cafe

Dear Friends, Instead of a long posting, we’re featuring the upcoming Suffrage Wagon Cafe programming during this four-day festival primarily in images. Starting Saturday, March 28th, here’s an overview of the special programs planned.

2-SWAN-Day

The cafe opening is on SWAN Day during Women’s History Month.

Eighty Bug is performer and songwriterPerformer/songwriter Eighty Bug composed and performed in the award-winning video, the “Spirit of 1776: A Suffragette Anthem.” It’s available on the home page of Suffrage Wagon News Channel.

Dr. helen Pankhurst and her message to American women voters

This message to American women voters is especially timely as movie audiences in the U.S. await the release of the “Suffragette”film from the U.K. in 2015. Meryl Streep plays Emmeline Pankhurst, Dr. Pankhurst’s great grandmother.

Anti-Suffrage Movement video

There’s been considerable interest in the anti-suffrage movement in recent years, and this program on Suffrage Wagon Cafe features the original music of Elizabeth Johnson who performs “In Her Sphere.”

Nellie Bly

The special program on Nellie Bly, one of America’s early press women, has a surprise. Let’s meet at the Suffrage Wagon Cafe.

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 your 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. 

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).

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.