The 95th anniversary of the 19th Amendment on August 26, 2015. . . plus news notes

This coming August 26th, Women’s Equality Day, is the 95th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that extended the right to vote to American women. There are many media references to 2020, the nation’s suffrage centennial or the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment. And five years to go might seem like a long time, but the time is passing quickly. The Women on Money campaign this year set 2020, the national suffrage centennial, as its goal for the U.S Treasury to place a woman’s image on national currency. And advocates for the revival of the ERA (Equal Rights Amendment) are also looking toward 2020 for the completion of the ERA’s ratification. There’s still plenty of time to plan something special for August 26th. Check out the audio recording to find out about the designation by the U.S. Congress in 1971 to create Women’s Equality Day on August 26th.

OTHER NEWS NOTES: New York State residents are urged to contact their state representatives in the NYS Assembly and Senate to fund the New York women’s suffrage centennial commission that will be planning events and celebrations in 2017. The New York Council for the Humanities has made available a web site link that makes this easy for the state’s citizens. New York State women won the right to vote in November 1917. The year 2015 is the centennial observance of the 1915 NYS suffrage referendum that may have lost, but an infrastructure was created that led to the 1917 victory. For more information. October 1, 2015 is the date for a conference sponsored by the NYS Cultural Heritage Tourism Network at the Holiday Inn Waterloo/Seneca Falls, 9-4 p.m., to address issues including: Working with “I Love NY” to promote 2017 events, the connection of Native-Americans, African Americans, and religious groups to the women’s rights movement, and how to attract visitors to the state during 2017. For more information.

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Buckle your seat belt for suffrage centennial celebrations that could knock your socks off!

Suffrage centennials are taking the nation by storm! on Vimeo.

New York State is positioning itself to be a frontrunner in cultural heritage tourism that could demonstrate to the nation the type of sustainable economic development that’s possible on the ground. Current shifts toward favorable public opinion about the history of women’s voting rights and upcoming suffrage centennial celebrations suggest that such observances can be meaningful as well as economically advantageous for local communities, regions, states and the nation.

In recent years, the following states 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 observed 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. And there’s the upcoming national suffrage centennial in 2020.

SUFFRAGE CENTENNIAL CELEBRATIONS HAVE THE POTENTIAL OF GOING VIRAL

Opportunities for New York State are in the early stages and they follow the best practices of states that have already held suffrage centennial observances. The pieces are in place to develop cultural tourism networks and infrastructures. There’s a state suffrage centennial commission recently passed in the NYS Legislature, the involvement of state agencies, the result of long and dedicated work by citizens and organizations working together.  New York City and upstate communities are involved. Passionate grassroots advocates have taken leadership roles. Funding is available. And the internet is exploding nationwide and around the world with stories of amazing women, today and in the past. A major motion picture, “Suffragette,” will direct public attention to voting rights struggles. It’s a matter of bringing all of this together that will make the difference between blowing an opportunity and the potential of suffrage centennial celebrations going viral.

We can’t take anything for granted in a controversial climate that has marginalized women’s history over the past century. We could miss opportunities and assume that someone’s in charge, when in fact, a grassroots collaborative initiative is underway that could be taking on more than it can handle. The good news includes the efforts of visionaries who have set 2020 as the goal of achieving equality for women in the United States. There are stirrings in the U.S. Congress to revive the ERA (Equal Rights Amendment) by 2020. A woman on U.S. currency is now a possibility. Special projects are downright exciting, including the building of a statue of women in NYC’s Central Park, a nationwide women’s trails initiative, upcoming conferences, literary initiatives, a proposed suffragist national memorial outside of Washington, DC, and a core of dedicated activists who view sustainable economic development of cultural heritage tourism as key to the process.

COMPARED TO THE 2017 WORLD WAR I CENTENNIAL OBSERVANCE, WOMEN’S CELEBRATIONS COULD TURN OUT TO BE A FLASH IN THE PAN

Compared to the big bucks being invested in the national centennial observance of World War I in 2017, the story of women and our accomplishments could turn out to be little more than a flash in the pan. Getting our story out to the nation takes dedicated and persistent work. Local communities must set priorities about how to honor this extraordinary opportunity. There’s a cultural struggle underway in light of the 2016 presidential elections and a great deal of past neglect of women’s history to overcome. A great deal of our history has been buried or marginalized. We can blow these openings and opportunities. And we can built infrastructures and constituencies that will last longer than any planned centennial celebrations.

WE NEED ALL HANDS ON DECK!

Are you on board? The move to celebrate suffrage events and centennial celebrations is about insisting on taking our place in the sun, assuming leadership, and spreading the word about how we stand on strong shoulders with not only women’s issues but our shared national activist history. Marriage equality was once thought impossible. One commentator recently called the activist who took down the Confederate flag in South Carolina as someone who had committed “patriotic civil disobedience.” Women’s suffrage history has a strong tradition of patriotic protest. We can connect the past and present and future by supporting efforts to build sustainable lifestyles and practices necessary for life in the 21st century and beyond. We’re moving mountains, but we can’t take anything for granted yet. Let’s make the most of every door that opens to us. We can sail through the challenging times ahead if we pull together. We’re on our way. Onward!

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New York State could blow its 2017 suffrage centennial celebration or it can lead the way to 2020!

Goal of 200 storytelling videos about women’s suffrage movement makes learning American history easy for young people on Vimeo.

Just because New York State has an opportunity to market its unique position as the “Cradle” of the women’s rights movement in the United States doesn’t mean it will be successful. All the pieces are in place for New York to walk into the sunset with the entire nation and the world paying attention. This requires a correct balance of circumstances and attitude. If New York State believes it can bus people in from China and Australia and have them leave excited, it’s possible. And it’s more likely that the intentions will be good but there won’t be the necessary followup and input and grassroots support to make it work. The key is in bringing the right balance of excitement and connection together, to link the past and present and redefine the “Spirit of 1776” for a new time and place and set of conditions in this contemporary world.

WE COULD BLOW THIS OPPORTUNITY, OR ALL THE PIECES COULD COME TOGETHER!

Today the internet is exploding with stories of suffrage activists. Sometimes they’re called suffragettes. Other times they’re referred to as suffragists. In the past, some women preferred one term over the other which is why we here on SuffrageCentennials.com refer to votes for women advocates as suffrage activists. It’s important to not leave anyone out. Many different types of people were involved in shaking up the status quo during this time in history, including men and those who opposed the idea of women voting altogether.

Women vote in high numbers today. More than at any other time in history, there’s a fascination with storytelling about the votes for women movement. We even find descendants of the anti-suffragists lamenting the day women won the right to vote. It’s essential the entire story of the suffrage movement be told: the warts, the compromises, the courage, especially the parts revealing the movement’s weaknesses and prejudices.

LET’S TELL THE TRUTH, THE WHOLE TRUTH AND NOTHING BUT…!

Women of the 20th century didn’t invent racism, classism, and sexism. They inherited it. We’re all born into this social and economic system where discrimination and prejudice is profitable, which is why women’s suffrage storytelling can bring us together as we peel back the layers. The storytelling about this remarkable social movement of our grandmothers and great-grandmothers, other family members and ancestors has the potential of completing the unfinished American Revolution, hopefully in our lifetimes.

There are so many stories to tell. Women’s suffrage storytelling was featured on Suffrage Wagon Cafe on July 8, 2015. Storytelling features the women of the past reaching out through time to meet us where we are today. Transferring the messages and spirit and content into upcoming women’s suffrage events and celebrations is up to us. Let’s get together to celebrate suffrage centennial celebrations, whether in New York State in 2017 or the national observance of the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 2020!

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Save the Sewall-Belmont House says the National Park Service!

Torch from Library of CongressThe situation is urgent notes the report from the National Park Service (NPS) in a special 75+ page report that makes recommendations about the future of the Sewall-Belmont House in Washington, DC that’s presently owned and operated by the National Woman’s Party (NWP). The historic site is described as “one of the premier women’s history sites in the country.” The feasibility study notes how financial constraints in recent years have “… decreased the capacity of the NWP to preserve and interpret the site and its extensive museum and archival collections, creating the need to explore options for increased National Park Service assistance.”

Sewall-BelmontHouse4

But all is not lost, the report reveals, even though the NPS admits it is extremely limited in funding. “Since the economic downturn of 2008, the NWP has experienced challenges in raising necessary funds to operate and properly maintain the property. As a consequence, the site is currently only open to the public on a limited basis. The NPS is not currently authorized to provide additional financial assistance to the NWP after surpassing a legislated cap set in 1988, a loss of roughly $100,000 in annual funding.

“A recent condition assessment determined that the house itself is largely in good condition. However, without attending to deferred preservation maintenance needs in the near future, the condition of the structure is likely to deteriorate. Of particular concern is protection of the portion of the NWP collection stored in the library on the first floor of the house; the library is not climate-controlled and lacks a fire-suppression system.”

The study analyzes different management options to address the site’s financial and preservation challenges:

“Model 1, where the NPS takes on the greatest management role and staffing commitment, is projected to cost the bureau $636,000 annually. In contrast, in Model 3 the NWP continues most operations and maintenance with increased NPS financial assistance totaling $312,000 annually. Model 2 presents two variations of an option in which the NPS and the NWP jointly operate the site. This model is probably the most feasible given a balanced distribution of responsibilities between the two entities and the comparably moderate annual cost to the NPS, at $511,000 for Model 2a and $445,000 for Model 2b. These variations, particularly Model 2a, are the preference of the NWP, which sees the responsibilities required of the NWP most in line with its capacity and mission.”

The feasibility study’s report contains photographs, analysis, charts and more information than you could possibility imagine. For those of us who follow women’s history, suffrage centennials and related observances, this is an excellent opportunity to become informed about the challenges and possible solutions, especially as the national women’s suffrage centennial approaches in 2020.

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Story of the Fourth of July co-conspirators

Do you know the story of the five co-conspirators who crashed a national Fourth of July centennial celebration?If not, you aren’t alone.

Picture the scene: July 4, 1876. Philadelphia, PA. A national celebration with visitors from all over the world.
The platform’s filled with dignitaries, but the co-conspirators waited until after the reading of the Declaration of Independence.

Declaration

At this very moment Susan B. Anthony was ready to make a move along with Matilda Joslyn Gage, Sara Andrews Spencer, Lillie Devereau Blake, and Phoebe W. Couzins.

Anthony marched up to the platform filled with centennial officials. She formally presented the Declaration of Rights of the Women of the United States, an update on the declaration from back in 1848 in Seneca Falls, New York.

THE MESSAGE: that the nation must not turn its back on the Unfinished American Revolution by denying women equality and the right to vote.

After delivering the proclamation, Anthony and others distributed copies to the crowd and left the centennial hall. THE RESULT: Pandemonium. General Howley, chairman, shouted for order to be restored.

THE OUTCOME: Suffrage activists held their own independence celebration in Philadelphia.

The July 4th Co-conspirators

AUDIO ACCOUNT OF WHAT HAPPENED on July 4, 1876 at the Fourth of July national centennial, as told by Elizabeth Cady Stanton in her memoir, Eighty Years and More. Read by Amelia Bowen for Suffrage Wagon News Channel.

NOW, LET’S FIRE UP THE BARBEQUE GRILL in 2015 and have some fun!
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Thinking about travel to Seneca Falls, NY: Listen to audio podcast, “Trouble Brewing in Seneca Falls”

Convention Days in Seneca Falls, NYWhat's to see in Seneca Falls, NY

July is the month to celebrate the 1848 Women’s Convention in Seneca Falls, New York. And if you’re planning to visit Seneca Falls, NY for the annual three-day celebration, note the dates. July 17, 18, and 19, 2015. Consult the Convention Days web site for the daily schedule. And then start by listening to the short podcasts from Elizabeth Cady Stanton reporting from her early days living in Seneca Falls, NY up to the point of the July 1848 convention and after.

And now the entire audio series of “Trouble Brewing in Seneca Falls.” Podcast #1. Podcast #2. Podcast #3. Podcast #4. Podcast #5. Podcast #6. Podcast #7. Audio by Librivox. Production by Suffage Wagon News Channel. The June program of Suffrage Wagon Cafe featured visiting Seneca Falls, NY with videos, audio, and recommendations for travelers. Take note of the special report on the 1848 Seneca Falls convention on SuffrageCentennials.com  Visit our TRAVEL link with travel notes and recommendations.

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Suffrage Centennials News Notes Roundup

CentennialSliderThe National Collaborative for Women’s History Sites (NCWHS) and the National Women’s History Project (NWHP) have joined forces to create a national clearinghouse for information on state woman suffrage celebrations leading up to the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution on August 26, 2020. Such an effort will culminate in the creation of a nationwide woman suffrage trail highlighting the role of each state in the 72-year struggle from 1848 to 1920. The NCWHS and NWHP invite state governments, as well as women’s groups and history organizations, from across the nation to join this effort. The call also includes identifying women’s history sites. For more information, contact Pam Elam at plelam@aol.com.

The Suffrage2020 Listserv has valuable information that will be delivered to you personally by email if you sign up. In a recent bulletin there’s a suffrage centennial timeline, women’s suffrage resources, and news about a new document listing Women’s Heritage/History Trails and Tours around the nation. Post to Suffrage2020 by sending an email with your message to Suffrage2020@thezahnisers.com.

To celebrate the centennial of the White House picketing for woman suffrage that began in January of 1917, the editors of Women and Social Movements in the United States invite women’s history faculty, students and independent scholars to join a crowdsourcing experiment.

Historian Jill Zahniser compiled extensive information about women suffrage picketers and their supporters that was published as a database in the March 2015 issue of WASM. Women from 35 states and the District of Columbia are represented in the database. Zahniser has launched this project by constructing the database and writing 500-word biographical sketches of six women activists. Another 28 already have biographical sketches in Notable American Women. Biographical sketches of the remaining 190 picketers and their supporters are needed for whom there are no authoritative biographical sketches. Twenty educators in U.S. women’s history have volunteered to mentor students in their classes between now and June 2017 in the methods of researching and writing these remaining biographical sketches. Are you a graduate student or independent scholar who would volunteer to write one or two of these sketches?

Jill Zahniser will edit these new suffragist sketches and they will be published in the fall 2017 issue of Women and Social Movements in the United States. If you don’t have access to this journal, access to the excel spreadsheet which contains this database and related files from the project will be provided. Contact WASM co-editor, Tom Dublin at tdublin@binghamton.edu.

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June 19th is a big day for Iceland’s suffrage centennial celebrants!

Highlights of Suffrage Centennials: From now to 2020, go where the action is for votes for women! on Vimeo.

Move over United States and let Iceland move into position as a trailblazer and one of the best nations in the world for women. This year Iceland celebrates its suffrage centennial of women voting for the past 100 years. But it’s more than the date. The buzz is about what Iceland has been able to accomplish since 1915 when women partially won the right to vote, and then in 1920 all Icelandic women stood in line before the ballot box.

For the past five years the World Economic Forum has applauded Iceland for having the smallest wage gender gap. An equal number of men and women are involved in government. And the nation elected its first woman president in 1980. In this year of Iceland’s suffrage observances, the Reykjavík City Council’s Presidential Committee is coordinating 100 activities, planned and produced by a wide variety of organizations. These events include art exhibits, rallies, issue campaigns, panel discussions, classes, festivals, and many special programs. June 19th is Women’s Rights Day in Iceland. On October 24th, women in Iceland go on strike to bring about an even better standing for wages. They’ve been doing this for the past 40 years.

Iceland women's suffrage centeninialIceland suffrage exhibit

The exhibition “Visions of Women” from Iceland is based on photographs and documents from the years 1910 to 1920 when women in Iceland organized for the right to vote. The aim of the exhibition is to honor the women, their lives and times. A part of the exhibition is Guðrún Sigríður Haraldsdóttir´s multimedia installation “kven:vera.” The installation uses materials and methods the artist developed in her art practice in recent years. Tryggvagata 15, 1st floor. Entry free.

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Special report about Seneca Falls women’s rights conference in 1848!

Watch the Video

Special report about Seneca Falls women’s rights convention! on Vimeo.

If you’re expecting Seneca Falls, NY to be like Disneyland, you’ll be disappointed. The town and its past is better suited to an introduction to how women’s history and American history intersect. And those interested include regular tourists as well as those who view their travel as a journey or a pilgrimage to the roots of our history as a nation. There’s a special report, now available on the web site of the Women’s Rights National Historic Park, that will give you a shot in the arm of understanding the significance of the 1848 women’s rights convention. And if you’re headed to Seneca Falls in the future, it’s a recommended read before you leave town.

The Seneca Falls Women’s Rights Convention and the Origins of the Women’s Rights Movement, a special report by Dr. Judith Wellman, puts the conference into perspective and adds to other discussions about whether or not the 1848 convention was all people claimed it to be. There had been stirrings about women’s rights long before 1848, but Wellman notes that the Seneca Falls convention marks the “beginning of the organized women’s rights movement.”

The Seneca Falls gathering set the model for women’s conventions. It nailed the theme of the movement, that is, the connection between women’s rights and the nation’s founding ideals. Seneca Falls set the agenda for the suffrage movement and modeled methods for moving toward the goal of equality. In short, Seneca Falls was a “pivotal” event, one that Wellman argues in a comprehensive report, a perspective that’s also reflected in her 2004 book, The Road to Seneca Falls; Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the First Woman’s Rights Convention.

Read the special report. Find out what else is being said about Seneca Falls, such as the work, The Myth of Seneca Falls: Memory and the Women’s Suffrage Movement, 1848-1898 by Lisa Tetrault. And take into consideration what’s going on in Seneca Falls, NY during 2015, such as Convention Days in July. And check out the special program about Seneca Falls at Suffrage Wagon Cafe in June. Seneca Falls, NY is expected to be a hot spot for travelers during the 2017 New York suffrage centennial. Get a jumpstart now!

Check out other travel destinations.

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Suffrage centennial planning is taking off in New York State

New York is getting ready for its 2017 suffrage centennial on Vimeo.

New York State is humming with women’s suffrage centennial planning activity. There’s the recent bill establishing a state suffrage centennial commission that’s now on its way to the NYS Assembly. New York City is buzzing with suffrage centennial planners active, organizations looking ahead, and citizens involved with their share of the action.

There’s considerable activity underway in NYC to celebrate the victories of the women’s suffrage movement across lines of race and class, with national landmarks (the Statue of Liberty, Fifth Avenue, Union Square) as a background for political theater and celebrations.

A fall gala in 2017 will honor NYC suffragists and feature their descendants. Sponsored by the Gotham Center for New York History, Suzanne Wasserman and Louise Bernikow are enthusiastic organizers. If you’re a descendant of a NYC suffragist, an invitation will be sent your way if you get in touch. Find out about the Suffrage Soapbox and a Facebook page, Votesforwomenny, for NYC suffrage centennial events and celebrations. Louise Bernikow (louisebernikow@gmail.com), 212-6626307, can be contacted for more information. Louise’s book, Milliners & Millionaires: New York City Women and the Fight for the Vote, will be published in 2017.

The New York State Museum will feature a special exhibit in 2017: “Votes for Women: Celebrating New York’s Suffrage Centennial” that’s scheduled to open in the fall of 2017. The state museum has acquired a series of 1917 Franklin County women’s suffrage petitions from Jean Kubaryk, a teacher at North Warren Central School District. The “Spirit of 1776” suffrage campaign wagon will also be on exhibit at the state museum in 2017. The state Council for the Humanities has held workshops about funding for 2017 centennial programming and taken an active role in planning for the centennial observance.

After a year and a half of work, the NYC Parks Commissioner has approved the Central Park women’s statue project proposed to honor Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. All the details, including the location, can be found on the website www.centralparkwherearethewomen.org. Next steps include the design phase and approval by the city Public Design Commission.

Women posterThe NYC Department of Records and Information Services (DORIS) is celebrating the state’s 2017 women’s suffrage centennial by launching activities and programs from 2015 to 2020 to bring attention to New York City’s under-recognized female activists of the past and present, as well as inspiring activism. DORIS is hosting an exhibition through June 30, 2015 entitled “Women Make History: A March Through the Archives” at 31 Chambers Street in New York City. Group tours are welcome. Contact visitorcenter@records.nyc.gov for more information. There’s an evening of music, performance, art, and oratory on November 12, 2015 honoring Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s 200th birthday at Cooper Union in NYC. Tickets will go on sale in the fall. Visit the NYC link at www.WomensActivism.NYC. Follow on Twitter and Facebook. Contact Tracy Penn Sweet – tsweet@records.nyc.gov for more information.

The Central Park suffrage statue activists will be shifting into a fundraising phase to pay all costs for the proposed statue and its endowment fund. Even though the Statue Fund is a tax exempt 501(c)(3) organization, fundraising is challenging. So Pam Elam, President of the Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony Statue Fund, Inc., sends out the reminder: “A thanks, again, to everyone who has already endorsed the statue campaign and/or made a pledge/donation. Please help us spread the word and gain new endorsers and donors. Your help would be greatly appreciated.”

If you have specific plans for celebrations in 2017 and 2020, let us know and we’ll highlight upcoming events. We’re also gearing up for the 2020 Votes for Women national suffrage centennial. Follow Suffrage Centennials for trends, news, and views.

PLUS SUFFRAGE NEWS FROM UPSTATE NEW YORK:

On July 22, 2015, join historian and singer Tisha Dolton as she leads a discussion and sing-a-long of some of the songs that helped shape the 72-year struggle for the enfranchisement of women in the US. It’s part of the Adult Summer Reading program at Rensselaer (NY) Public Library. Tisha has a new Facebook page that highlights her activities and programs.

We’ve been collecting suffrage centennial news from New York State–a sampling from our archive : #1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 #7 #8 #9 #10 #11 #12 #13 #14 Stanton related events

Suffrage CentennialsimagesFollow SuffrageCentennials.com on Facebook page, Twitter, email subscription, and the Quarterly Newsletter. Sign up for email on this web page. Stay up to date with postings, audio podcasts, and videos. Plan for your suffrage centennial event.