The Sewall-Belmont House and the National Archives in Washington, DC collaborated to set aside August 26th, Women’s Equality Day, for a panel discussion of the upcoming 2020 suffrage centennial that was streamed online. It’s still possible to review the highlights of the hour-long conversation. It may seem like a discussion scheduled well in advance of the centennial, although moderator Page Harrington of the Sewall-Belmont House emphasized that the purpose of the discussion was to “expand the dialogue and get it out into the mainstream.”
The panelists included Bridget Howe for the Girl Scouts; Dr. Ida E. Jones of the Moorland-Springarn Research Center at Howard University; Cindi Malinick of the National Trust for Historic Preservation; Dr. Libby O’Connell, chief historian for the History Channel; Nancy E. Tate for the League of Women Voters; and Page Harrington of the Sewall-Belmont House.
No matter where you are in the 2020 suffrage centennial food chain, it’s important to get out the word to all interested organizations to begin planning for 2020. It may seem early; however, this is a national celebration even if the effort at the present time doesn’t have a national commission already at work like the one underway for World War I. There’s a great deal of dreaming and conversation about the national suffrage centennial. People are determined to do something. That’s why the August 26th streaming panel discussion seems like an important step in the right direction.
The rich tapestry of suffrage stories was mentioned enough times by the panelists to be of note. How the suffrage movement centennial will fit into the programs of the Girl Scouts is something to watch in the future. Educating about the issues of race and the release of a new database of African-American suffragists is in the works. Bringing women’s stories out of the back rooms of historic sites is likely to be a significant direction, as well as major media channels such as A&E looking for suffrage movement content. The descendants of suffrage activists involved in the League of Women Voters, for example, are likely to strengthen the theme of storytelling and the many ways in which the past is linked to the present day. Specific suffrage programs linked to 2020 are still in the planning stages, so we look forward to how a unified theme will develop. It would be productive to sponsor a panel discussion with the same panelists in the future and find out about their specific plans as a way to inspire others.
Will there be funding and a well-defined and funded national momentum that will make the most of the opportunity? Let’s keep this conversation ongoing!
In recent years, nine states have celebrated their centennials of women winning the vote prior to 1920: Wyoming (1890), Colorado (1893), Utah (1896), Idaho (1896), Washington (1910), California (1911), Arizona (1912), Kansas and Oregon (1912). Montana and Nevada are observing one hundred years of women voting in 2014 with special events, projects and activities. New York’s centennial celebration is scheduled for 2017, with Michigan, Oklahoma and South Dakota to follow.
The United States will celebrate its national centennial of women voting in 2020. At that time more people than ever will be aware of the context of the international suffrage movement following the anticipated release in January 2015 of “Suffragette,” the major motion picture from the UK directed by Sarah Gavron, written by Abi Morgan, and starring Meryl Streep and Carey Mulligan.
Put a reminder on your calendar about logging into an important program about the upcoming U.S. suffrage centennial in 2020. It’s not necessary to leave the comfort of home to sit side by side virtually with friends and colleagues from around the nation who will be glued to every word of the program: “Women’s History on the Horizon: The Centennial of Woman Suffrage in 2020.”
It’s scheduled for August 26th in commemoration of Women’s Equality Day and the 94th anniversary of the 19th Amendment. The discussion considers how nearly one hundred years of voting rights has impacted present-day political, social, and economic roles for women. The National Archives is presenting the program along with the Sewall-Belmont House.
A one-hour stage adaptation of “The Yellow Wallpaper” brings to audiences a profoundly influential short story by Charlotte Perkins Gilman played by Michèle LaRue. This candidate for programming during suffrage celebrations and centennials provides modern audiences with a real feeling for what it was like for many women before the turn of the 20th century. Gilman’s tale continues to chill readers today, dazzling feminists and historians, mystery and horror story enthusiasts alike, with its wit, suspense, and superlative style. This faithful dramatization, directed by Warren Kliewer, is fully staged and performed in period costume. Atmospheric lighting and Victorian music evoke the period and conjure up the ever-changing yellow wallpaper. The production is most effective in a small theatre with a sound system and versatile lighting. Two more-simply staged and less-expensive versions are also available.
The Yellow Wallpaper runs one hour, plus an optional post-performance talk back. The Yellow Wallpaper has been popular with college and university Women’s/Gender Studies programs. It is recommended, as well, for high school students. This extraordinary story and performance can stimulate discussions about imagination vs. science, the place of women in society and marriage, and more. A study guide is also available. Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” was published in 1891 in New England Magazine. For more information: Michèle LaRue, 201-863-6436, email@example.com, http://michelelarue.com
July is the month to remember the 1848 Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, New York. Follow the audio podcast series of “Trouble in Seneca Falls” with Elizabeth Cady Stanton. She lays out the story from when she moved to Senena Falls through the convention days and after. An easy way to learn history. Selections from “Eighty Years and More.” Audio by Librivox. The entire seven audio podcast series.
There are some treasures in the national storytelling archives of our nation, and one of them is about how suffrage activists crashed the national centennial celebration in Philadelphia on July 4th in 1876. Check out the story in an audio file. It’s quite amazing.
Last year on July 1st the “Spirit of 1776” suffrage campaign wagon celebrated the centennial of its first journey on the road in 1913 with Edna Kearns, Serena Kearns, and Irene Davison. There’s an effort underway to get the old wagon out on the road again in 2017, and we’d like you to be involved. Just send an email to: suffragewagon at gmail.com and you’ll be brought up to date on how you can help. You can subscribe to Suffrage Wagon NewsChannel for regular campaign updates.
The dreaming comes first and then the planning for New York State’s 2017 suffrage centennial. Authors Teri Gay and Antonia Petrash speculate why this centennial is important and some of the ways in which it might be celebrated.
One hundred years ago Rosalie Jones and a determined band of suffrage activists marched from New York City to Albany, NY, the state capitol. This video highlights another example of the ways to which these women (and men) put themselves on the line for freedom. SPECIAL VIDEO: Short feature about Rosalie Jones with images from her career. Jones led a “hike” from New York to Washington, DC in 1913 to join the big suffrage parade there.
She also led a 1912 hike” to Albany and traveled with activist Elisabeth Freeman in a horse-drawn wagon trip to Ohio to campaign for the cause there.