Preparation for 2020 suffrage centennial involves input for National Park Service

The “Cradle” of the women’ rights movement in the U.S. has one national park in Seneca Falls, NY and the possibility of a second, the Harriet Tubman national park in Auburn, NY. However, the U.S. Congress appears to be unable to act so far on the Tubman proposal in spite of widespread public support. See coverage in, as well as previous coverage on

The year 2016 may be a momentous one for the National Park Service when it will mark the centennial of its founding. The National Historic Preservation Act will have been in effect for 50 years. A Working Group for the National Council on Public History (NCPH) 2015 annual meeting in Nashville is expected to serve as a collaborative forum for planning a scholarly symposium to mark these important events. The symposium will take place in March 2016 during the NCPH annual meeting in Baltimore.

The intent is to create a symposium not only to commemorate the history of federal preservation, cultural resource management, and historical interpretation, but also to invite dialogue about the future of federal cultural policy and practice. Work has been completed in the past to reframe and energize the goals, purpose, and impact of federal cultural institutions. These initiatives have resulted in a number of internal and external reports –including “Imperiled Promise” and “A Call to Action” in the Park Service and the “Grand Challenges Consortia” program at the Smithsonian.

A pre-conference conversation will be held on History@Work in order to invite the members of a working group–and anyone else interested in joining the conversation–to identify the key themes and issues that should be at the heart of the 2016 symposium. Image: Harriet Tubman home in Auburn, NY. Respond to the call for National Park Service input by December 15. For more information.

Dear Santa, Will the Harriet Tubman National Park fit in your sleigh? VIDEO

VIDEO: Get the U.S. Congress to approve the Tubman National Park.

The Harriet Tubman sites in New York State and Maryland proposed for a national park are significant in terms of the abolitionist and suffrage movements. There’s a direct relationship between the past and the present, in part because of the large support base these historic sites have among people of the respective regions, many of whom are direct descendants of Harriet Tubman. Her life history inspires faith and courage among people even generations later. It will take a determined coalition of people acting together to fund a Harriet Tubman national park, however. The park’s a popular travel destination among a wide variety of people from the U.S. and around the world. And it will be even more so during upcoming suffrage centennials from to 2020, the year of the votes for women centennial across the nation.

LetsRockTheCradle visited the Harriet Tubman historic site in Auburn, NY and wrote about it in 2013 in “New York History.” Check out these special reports: #1. “The Politics of Harriet Tubman and Barack Obama.” #2. “Harriet Tubman and the Projected National Park.” The reports may be a year old, but the background and significance of the proposed national park remains current.

Tell Congress to fund the Harriet Tubman National Park. Make your voice heard! Donate to the Harriet Tubman historic site. While the proposed Harriet Tubman National Park’s status is still uncertain, the Tubman site in Auburn, NY remains in private hands until there is Congressional action. Follow


What’s a suffrage centennial celebration without a “Votes for Women Trail”? Ask Santa!

This is the second year to ask Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus to perform a miracle and have them lean on members of Congress to pass the “Votes for Women Trail” that has been kicking around Congress for so long, it takes an improved memory to keep track of it. A women’s trail isn’t as expensive as starting and continuing a war overseas. There’s no cement block foundation to lay down, no roadway to build and maintain. The federal “Votes for Women” trail is a modest proposal and therefore embarrassing to show the rest of the world just how difficult it is to get the attention of lawmakers to throw a few crumbs in the direction of a trail and the national Votes for Women 2020 centennial celebration. Last year the dilemma was shared with readers of the New York History blog. Since then, very little has changed. Here are the links to the two-part article that provides the background:  Part I. Part II. The project is part of the reauthorization of a bill that includes a Votes for Women federal trail in upstate New York in what’s known as the “Cradle” of the women’s rights movement in the U.S. Follow the Trail project on

Iceland’s 2015 suffrage centennial story has an American angle

Part of the background from the web site devoted to the 2015 Iceland suffrage centennial is concluded here: Carrie Chapman Catt, leader of the International Woman Suffrage Alliance (IWSA), contacted an Icelandic woman, Bríet Bjarnhéðinsdóttir, in 1904 and asked her to found a suffrage society in Iceland . Bríet Bjarnhéðinsdóttir had everything that was required to create a social movement. Being a widow she was financially independent as well as being her own master. She knew Danish and English which meant that international communication was possible. She was interested in women’s suffrage, and last, but not least, Bríet owned the woman’s magazine Kvennablaðið (The Women’s Magazine), which was popular among women all over Iceland.

For more information about the suffrage centennial in Iceland.

Follow as your go-to place for highlights of suffrage centennials.

November 15th is the “Night of Terror” and first annual observance

The “Night of Terror” is one of the most sensational events of the suffrage movement in the United States. It’s featured in the HBO movie “Iron Jawed Angels” as one of the consequences of the National Woman’s Party picketing the White House in 1917. The “why” of the picketing isn’t as sensational as the “Night of Terror” itself. In essence, the picketing by the NWP was a last-ditch attempt in the minds of Alice Paul and associates that they needed to play hard ball with U.S. President Woodrow Wilson and his administration. Women in the larger movement didn’t all agree that it was a good idea. However, in retrospect the picketing became a “turning point” in the long and difficult campaign to gain voting rights. November 14-15, 1917 are the dates when the “Night of Terror” is observed. And 2014 is the first annual observance when Turning Point Suffragist Memorial and Suffrage Wagon News Channel collaborated to raise awareness of this pivotal event. Part of the observance included audio podcasts from Doris Stevens’ “Jailed for Freedom” 1920 book, an audio feature of Librivox. Follow the suffragist memorial project that will hopefully be funded and built by the time of the 2020 votes for women centennial in the United States. Subscribe to by email or Twitter.

Happy birthday on November 12th to Elizabeth Cady Stanton!


Video that wishes Elizabeth Cady Stanton a happy birthday. Recent news: The Central Park statue project is moving forward to put Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony in a permanent spot in New York City, a goal hopefully in time for the 2020 suffrage centennial in the United States. Also, a 2015 traveling performance about Stanton with Sally Rosche Wagner during the year of her 200th birthday. Follow on

Moving forward on Central Park statue that features suffrage movement movers and shakers

November 12th marks the 199th anniversary of the birth of women’s rights leader Elizabeth Cady Stanton. In celebration, the Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony Statue Fund Inc. officially announces its campaign to create a statue in New York City’s Central Park honoring Stanton, Anthony and all those who fought for women’s right to vote. It will be the first statue in Central Park’s 160 year history built to honor real women. Pam Elam, President of the ECS and SBA Statue Fund, stated: “There are statues in Central Park of Alice in Wonderland, Mother Goose, Juliet (with Romeo), and numerous representations of the female form (like angels, nymphs and allegorical figures), but statues celebrating the vast and varied contributions of real women to this city, state, and nation are no where to be found.” Elam added: “We intend to break the bronze ceiling by honoring these women and their work for equality and justice.”

The statue fund sent a Letter of Intent, as required by NYC Parks Department guidelines when donating works of art, to the Mayor and Parks Department Commissioner in February. On September 19, 2014 representatives of the Statue Fund held its first meeting to discuss the proposal with representatives from the Parks Department and the Central Park Conservancy.

Coline Jenkins, Vice President of the Statue Fund and the great, great granddaughter of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, said that “… by honoring Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and those who fought for the vote, New York City will also be honoring the largest nonviolent civil rights revolution in the history of our nation.” The statue will hopefully be completed before or in time for the 2020 votes for women centennial when American women will have been voting for 100 years. In addition to honoring Stanton and Anthony, a list of the names of those whose work was crucial to the success of the struggle will be inscribed around the statue’s base.

Jenkins noted that important historical milestones regarding Stanton, Anthony, and the right to vote will be celebrated in the near future such as the 200th anniversary of the birth of Elizabeth Cady Stanton in 2015; the New York State Woman Suffrage Centennial in 2017; the national woman suffrage centennial in 2020; and the 200th anniversary of the birth of Susan B. Anthony in 2020. “By creating this statue, New York City paves the way for a nationwide celebration of the United States Constitution’s 19th Amendment,” Jenkins said.

The Central Park statue project has the support of the 15-member Women’s Caucus of the New York City Council and many prominent endorsers. If you’re interested in supporting the statue campaign, by volunteering or pledging, contact the Statue Fund at or ECS and SBA Statue Fund, Post Office Box 1500, Gracie Station, New York, NY 10028. A website is under construction and supporters are welcome to follow the Statue Fund on Facebook and Twitter.

200th birthday for Elizabeth Cady Stanton in 2015

November 12th is Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s birthday. And in 2015 she will be 200 years old. At the same time, there’s a proposed Stanton/Anthony statue project in the works for Central Park in New York City. Perfect to announce the Stanton Bicentennial National Tour with pioneer feminist historian/activist/performer Sally Roesch Wagner. The program is called “Sowing Winter Wheat” based on Stanton’s quote: “We are sowing winter wheat, which the coming spring will see sprout, and other hands than ours will reap and enjoy.” Hear Stanton’s words about a woman’s right to control her own body; social and economic justice; natural childbirth and children’s rights; divorce reform; women’s equal legal rights, including the right to vote; the abolition of capital punishment; and the removal of “offending passages” from the Bible. This is a great program for suffrage centennials and special events in 2015, as well as the 2020 votes for women centennial.

Sally Roesch Wagner presents a 35-minute monologue as Stanton, followed by audience interaction with the 19th-century feminist’s bold wit and brilliant logic and she concludes with a conversation with the “scholar beneath the wig.” Wagner says: “Having performed as Elizabeth Cady Stanton for 26 years, I have grown old with her. I am drawing on my 40 years of Stanton research to offer a celebratory gift – the seasoned Stanton at her witty, brilliant, and iconoclastic best.” Sally Roesch Wagner, Ph.D., is the founding director of the Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation in Fayetteville, NY. She’s an adjunct faculty member at Syracuse University. For information, call 540.533.0733.





One hundred years ago, Elisabeth Freeman, Frieda Fligelman and Belle Winestine didn’t let grass grow under their feet

The web site celebrates the exploding nature of information, research, stories and news about the suffrage movement that’s underway. An article about Jewish women from Montana who worked in the suffrage movement is well documented and illustrated in the excellent suffrage history series, “Women’s History Matters.” It’s a quality initiative, but more than that –the straight-forward accounts of grassroots women activists are enough to bring tears to the eyes of those fascinated about this under-reported slice of American history. An article, “The Lifelong Quest of Frieda Fliegelman and Belle Fligelman Winestine” recently published, is yet another example of a rich resource gathering momentum in the years leading up to the national 2020 suffrage centennial. Nevada and Montana currently are celebrating 100 years of their women as voters.

Suffragist Elisabeth Freeman is excellent example of someone we should call Great Aunt Elisabeth. Peg Johnston, Freeman’s great niece from Binghamton, NY, has produced a terrific web site about this energetic and courageous individual busy marching from New York City to Albany one hundred years ago. See centennial video for highlights. Freeman, who was born in England, had a long history of involvement in the English suffrage movement before devoting herself full-time to women’s rights and civil rights activism on this side of the Atlantic. A thorough and fascinating web site highlighting Freeman’s life and activism is available on an interactive web site and timeline for Elisabeth Freeman‘s life that provides an in-depth look at the wide range of actions and events that took place on the ground to support work in organizations on the local, state and national levels.

An excellent article in the Pasadena Weeky highlights some of Freeman’s other grassroots activism with a link to events in the present day that illustrates the interrelationship of issues, now and then. Freeman’s image often crops up in suffrage archives, and her career as an organizer is rich with examples of how women worked on the ground in order to build political power and recognition for their cause. Freeman’s use of a horse-drawn wagon for media events included work on Long Island, New York State, Ohio, and Massachusetts. See article in New York History.

Follow for news about suffrage centennial events, programs, and related issues. Get ready for the 2020 votes for women centennial!

Radio program for young people with 2020 suffrage centennial in mind

With the upcoming November election in mind, the story of Susan B. Anthony’s trial for illegal voting will be the focus on a program on 51%, WAMC’s nationally and internationally syndicated show. The program will air on Thursday, October 30, 2014 at 8 p.m. and on Wednesday, November 5, 2014 at 3 p.m.

Susan Zimet of Votes for Women 2020 will read an essay, “Susan B. Anthony Votes- Did You?” It tells the story of how Susan B. Anthony was arrested and convicted for voting illegally in the 1872 presidential election. Ironically, it was the only time Anthony ever voted. The essay is geared towards educating young women 18-29 about the hard fought battle and many sacrifices our suffragist mothers undertook to win women the right to vote, with the goal of motivating young women to vote in higher proportions than in recent elections. Votes for Women 2020 is a non-profit organized to celebrate, educate and inspire all women, but specifically young women and young adults, about the efforts of their forbearers in securing the vote.

Upcoming: Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s birthday on November 12th. Follow for news of centennials and celebrations.