Attend our Reenacted Suffragette Meeting with Actor Tames Alan
March 4, 7:30pm
at The Central Area Senior Center, FREE!
As we celebrate the Centennial of the passage of the 19th Amendment, we are familiar with some of the names like Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Matilda Joslyn Gage and Lucretia Mott, but there were many others and many incidents not as well-known as the marches of women in white carrying banners for equal rights; It was a 72 year old struggle with arrests, imprisonment and forced feeding following hunger strikes. Not a pretty picture! If you want to see the gritty side, we recommend the film Iron-Jawed Angels.
But let’s look at some of the lesser known incidents. In1838, white women and African American women joined forces in an Anti-Slavery Convention of American Women in Philadelphia Hall in Pennsylvania. Pro-slavery men were so incensed, they threatened to burn down the meeting hall and did so. When the women exited the hall, it was surrounded by angry mobs of men and windows were being shattered; each white woman joined arms with each African American woman for protection.
The First National Women’s Rights Convention was held in October 1850 in Worcester, MA with this resolution “to secure for (women) political, legal, and social equality with man, until her proper sphere is determined by…her powers and capacities…”
In August 1862, Matilda Joslyn Gage, in support of the Civil War to end slavery, said that “unless liberty is attained—the broadest, the deepest, the highest liberty of all—not for one set alone, one clique alone, but for man and woman, black and white, Irish, German, Americans and Negroes, there can be no permanent peace.”
Following the Civil War, Congress outlawed slavery and granted African American men the right to vote, but not women. The American Woman Suffrage Association supported the 15th Amendment for men’s voting rights but went on with their struggle for equal rights for women.
Declaration of Rights of the Women of the United States, July 4, 1876: “…we deny that dogma of centuries, incorporated into the codes of nations—that woman was made for man…”
A “suffrage boat” took 200 people past the Statue of Liberty in 1886 while Lillie Devereaux Blake, president of the NYC Suffrage Association said the Statue seemed to say with her silent lips of bronze, “I am the embodied hope of the future and the enthroned prediction of liberty for women.”
Ida B. Wells, African American journalist and activist, refused to march at the back of the Woman Suffrage Procession in 1913 and instead, joined her own Illinois delegation saying, “either I go with you or not at all.”
The National Women’s Party began picketing the White House led by Alice Paul in 1917. Woodrow Wilson had them arrested; the hunger strikes began in prison. Three years later, in 1920, the suffrage amendment was passed in the House and then the Senate. Then began the process of ratification by the states, culminating in the final vote of Tennessee. In the words of Carrie Chapman Catt, “Let us remember that we are no longer petitioners. We are not wards of the nation, but free and equal citizens. We have proved in Tennessee that this is a government of the people, not an empire of corporations. Let us do our part to keep it a true and triumphant democracy.”
And so, we must continue this tradition of voting and supporting voting rights for all. And we will all hope that Ms. Chapman Catt is not turning over in her grave about the modern-day part of corporations.
Selections compiled by Diane Snell from a product of the Syracuse Cultural Workers in the form of a calendar celebrating the 19th Amendment “HEAR US ROAR”.
Let’s continue roaring!