It’s amazing that one person, Barbara Blaisdell, has been delighting fans of Susan B. Anthony for the past 23 years by showing up at events and special occasions in the Rochester, New York area, as well as other venues around the state and nation. She’s spoken on numerous occasions to groups large and small, presented convention keynotes, and has been a special guest at luncheons and teas where guests have found her portrayal of Anthony intriguing. I love the fact that Blaisdell even had a starring role in a staging of Susan B. Anthony’s trial speech at the Ontario County courthouse not far from Rochester, NY years ago. June 19th is this coming week, folks, and there’s still time to give Susan’s trial speech observance some recognition with a party and spread the fun around.
“My outfit is historically accurate,” Barbara Blaisdell says, and she describes it as a “re-creation of Anthony’s dress displayed in the Museum/House. I also wear a hat, red shawl and carry an alligator bag to stay in character throughout the portrayal and engage in questions and answers whenever appropriate. Bringing the story of the country’s (the world’s) most legendary civil rights and women’s rights leader to so many people has been and continues to be my passion.”
Visit the Susan B. Anthony Museum & House in Rochester, NY and you may meet Susan B. Anthony aka Barbara Blaisdell during tours or special events. These are occasions when Blaisdell takes her role seriously as Susan herself would have responded to certain questions and comments. It’s surprising that some still have the impression of Susan having been grumpy and blunt. “Many people don’t know that Susan B. Anthony had a sense of humor. She wasn’t a gruff old bat, and many people don’t know that she liked to cook, garden, invite people over for a meal and visit. She loved children, and in my mind was an amazing person. Susan B. Anthony sacrificed her own personal life so she could fight the good fight.”
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“I’VE GONE AND DONE IT”
This is what Susan B. Anthony told Elizabeth Cady Stanton in a letter after she voted illegally in Rochester, New York in November 1872.
On Friday, I voted in a county election. When I got home, I thought about Susan’s comment (“I’ve gone and done it”). It’s the perfect time to reflect on this historic occasion as June 19th approaches. June 19th is the anniversary of Susan’s famous speech at the Ontario County courthouse on June 19, 1873. Check out the coverage of June 19th on LetsRockTheCradle. I’m involved in the planning of a party to launch the date of June 19th, the anniversary of Susan B. Anthony’s famous speech. Stay tuned for the details. And while you’re at it, what are you planning for June 19th? Watch the video and consult special links to get you started.
News notes: One hundred years ago Charlie Chaplin released the film “The Militant Suffragette.” Check it out by watching the film online. Women’s Equality Agenda in NYS is up for a second round. Legislation proposed to create a statewide history commission in NYS. Period dramas are being scrutinized by scholars and others on matters as basic as food manners and culture. Example: Jane Austin production on BBC. Fascinating. It may not be directly related to the suffrage movement, but it’s something worth noting.
The state of Montana continues with its excellent online suffrage centennial program, “Women’s History Matters.” A recent posting is about Montana’s first Native American legislator. It’s an excellent example of what Montana offers on a regular basis for its suffrage centennial throughout 2014. No word yet about planning for NYS’s 2017 suffrage centennial. Stay tuned for news and views about the 19th amendment, women’s suffrage, today and in the past!
“Ancestra” is a play running through June 7 in the Gordon Square by the Cleveland Public Theatre. The work was inspired by the 1853 National Women’s Rights Convention in Cleveland, Ohio. Ancestra weaves a historical account with the intimate biography of a contemporary woman. Ancestra’s compelling story provides a forum for intellectual engagement with important issues of our time: gender equity, women’s health care and reproductive rights. Featuring a multi-generational, multicultural cast, this emotionally-charged performance celebrates those who came before and champions current efforts to achieve dignity and justice. I wish I lived closer.
SuffrageCentennials.com is celebrating its first birthday in June 2014. Follow the Suffrage Wagon for updates. News and views of the suffrage movement that celebrate women’s freedom to vote.
Do you love dress ups like I do? Suffrage blogger Antonia Petrash spent an afternoon at a vintage clothes shop on Long Island and blogged about the experience. I dressed in my grandmother Edna’s dresses at about age ten. Here’s what I wrote about the experience: “Bonded from wearing Grandmother Edna Kearns’ dresses.”
In recent news items: The Grand Rapids Press recently featured a centennial edition in honor of an edition of the paper dedicated to the topic 100 years ago. Edna Kearns was one such suffrage editor for the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, so it’s noteworthy that newspaper publishers back then recognized how increased circulation could result from covering topics of interest such as Votes for Women and the hard work of tens of thousands of suffragists. Update on the controversy associated with the creation of a national women’s history museum.
Over four years ago at the launching of Suffrage Wagon News Channel, suffrage news and events generally were anniversary related. Now, the topic is hot year round. Well, “suffrage” is yet to become a household word, but we’re making progress.
Do you have a special event for June scheduled in your active calendar? How about a party on or about June 19th to honor suffragist Susan B. Anthony’s trial for illegal voting. Put together a program for your party with little effort. Just consult the trial record and hand out a script to your friends. Watch a new video for inspiration.
Suffrage history has been ignored for so many decades, it’s fascinating to see the movement finally entering the national spotlight, even if in an uneven fashion. It’s likely to continue this way as the 2016 presidential election approaches when it seems likely that a woman will run for the nation’s highest elected position. The marginality of the subject matter could shift dramatically in January 2015 with the release of the major motion picture, “Suffragette,” now in production in the UK. Stay tuned for updates.
Follow Suffrage Wagon News Channel for news and views of the suffrage movement. Celebrate women’s freedom to vote. If you’re feeling feisty and restless when standing on the strong shoulders of those who have come before us, touch into LetsRockTheCradle.com
Tourism development is big at the White House. And the incumbent NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo chose a running mate for reelection (Kathy Hochul) that reportedly has upstate New York’s economic development in mind.
Maybe, just maybe this will translate into support and recognition for women’s history, rocking the cradle. and the importance of starting NOW to plan for the 2017 state suffrage centennial and the 2020 national suffrage centennial. Let’s get the “Spirit of 1776” suffrage wagon back on the road again in exhibitions. And this week we’re continuing with the Suffrage Wagon Film Festival that features news and views of the suffrage movement through YouTube specials.
(1.) “The Vote: Choose it and use it” is a video reminding women voters today of the importance of finding out about the suffrage movement and how to honor the hard work of our ancestors today.
(2.) “Suffrage Centennials: Events and News” highlights why following the Suffrage Wagon is a good idea to stay up to date on news and views of the suffrage movement.
(3.) “Having Trouble Keeping up with Votes for Women News and Stories” features vintage photos of women from the turn of the 20th century. A little different spin on the topic.
Follow the Suffrage Wagon. Celebrate women’s freedom to vote.
Of all the events for fun and parties in the weeks ahead, June 19th offers a great opportunity. Tea and sweets. Possibly a fundraiser for your organization. Celebrate Susan B. Anthony’s trial for illegal voting.
With not much effort and a few hams in your group, you can act out Susan B. Anthony’s trial for illegal voting in the spirit of the old melodramas. Start with Susan’s arrest at home. Then cast an arresting officer, Susan, and a trial judge. Susan wrote her own lines and someone only has to read them. Search online. Period costumes help spread the word of women’s history, but maybe you only have black outfits. That will do, and an audience that loves to cheer and boo. Not much effort and lots of fun. With a little more than a month to plan, see what you can do.
And while you’re at it, a little inspiration from a Susan B. Anthony video won’t hurt.
Rock the Cradle and follow the Suffrage Wagon. Celebrate women’s freedom to vote. Follow news and views of the suffrage movement.
Wilmer Kearns recommends suffrage movement videos.
(1.) “Rocking the ‘Cradle’ of the Women’s Rights Movement.” This video features some of the locations visited in the 2013 “Let’s Rick the Cradle” blogging tour. It’s to introduce the Finger Lakes of upstate New York as a vacation destination for the entire family. There’s so much to choose from, especially the women’s rights historic sites, plus sporting destinations, wineries, and so much more.
(2.) “Let’s Rock the Cradle” is another video with images collected from the “Cradle” of the women’s rights movement in upstate New York during the blogging tour. Of course, any trip to the region should be well planned.
Consult the New York Cultural Heritage Tourism Network for ideas about your trip planning to the Finger Lakes. LetsRockTheCradle.com is a member.
These and other videos are featured on LetsRockTheCradle.com, a platform promoting the “Cradle” of the women’s rights movement in the United States. Follow by way of email subscription and Twitter. You’ll be glad you did.
No one’s openly planning for New York’s 2017 suffrage centennial. Centennial awareness is out there, however, bubbling under the surface. What are the signs? How about a groundbreaking in Seneca Falls, New York for the National Women’s Hall of Fame that’s taking over the old Seneca Mill along the Cayuga-Seneca Canal, a historical location in its own right. Abolitionists and reformers Charles Hoskins and Jacob Chamberlain, the mill founders, signed the Declaration of Sentiments in 1848. Good news. . . because it sets the stage for what’s to come in New York in 2017 and then across the nation in 2020.
The National Women’s History Project is in the process of bringing together a wide coalition of people in support of strengthening public interest in Votes for Women history and the various advantages it will bring to old and young, communities and the nation in terms of education and economic development. The network is expected to be on the ground, up and running by this coming summer.
LetsRockTheCradle.com is putting New York under the microscope in terms of featured events, action campaigns, and featured suffrage activists. You can rock the cradle by following on Twitter or with an email subscription.
The web site SuffrageCentennials.com is gearing up for a birthday party –its first.
And here’s a video for a quick reminder. Watch the app on LetsRockTheCradle that keeps track of the number of days until NYS’s women’s suffrage centennial: 965 days. Put that on your “to do” list.
Follow news and views of the suffrage movement and how it relates to us today. Subscribe to Suffrage Wagon News Channel for posts twice a week in your email, or Facebook or Twitter. Celebrate women’s freedom to vote.