The “Spirit of 1776” wagon reached Long Beach, NY on July 4,1913. Photo from the collection of Rose Gschwendtner, with thanks.
May 13, 2018 is the closing of the “Votes for Women”exhibit at the New York State Museum in Albany, New York. It will be your last chance to see the wagon on exhibit for now anyway. And the suffrage exhibit is terrific. For more information about the wagon: SuffrageWagon.org
Also, keep in mind that the honoring of Inez Milholland, the U.S. suffrage martyr, continues with her centennial blog: InezMilholland.wordpress.com Her centennial web site: InezMilhollandCentennial.com
SuffrageCentennials.com continues publishing. Link up with us as the 2020 national suffrage centennial approaches in 2020. Follow by email, Twitter, and Facebook.
You will also get to see the remarkable “Votes for Women” exhibit at the state museum. The “Spirit of 1776” wagon can be viewed in the lobby, not far from the exhibit. It’s worth a visit to Albany, New York. There is no word yet as to when it will be on display again.
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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 SuffrageCentennials.com by email or Twitter.
The web site SuffrageCentennials.com 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 SuffrageCentennials.com for news about suffrage centennial events, programs, and related issues. Get ready for the 2020 votes for women centennial!
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.
Who says a suffrage centennial now and again doesn’t open doors? Not us. The UK is abuzz with news that UK performer Carey Mulligan has put everything aside to negotiate a role in “The Fury,” a feature film about the suffragette movement. It has been kicking around behind the scenes for a few years, and various suffrage centennials have rescued and brought the subject matter to the attention of the media biggies. The Votes for Women centennial, for example, kicked off this year with 100 years observance for Emily Davison with a documentary, plus all sorts of cultural and political events (including an opera). And now, there’s a suffragette sit com, “Up the Women,” that has been signed up for another season. We can’t see these programs, at least for now. But it certainly will stimulate the market when the wave of interest hits our shores. Meanwhile, Norway is having its suffrage centennial. See our coverage. Suffrage centennials are great, and even greater if they’re connected to what’s happening today. The Norwegian conference planned for November fits perfectly.
Video. The “Spirit of 1776” is the name of a suffrage campaign wagon that’s part of New York State history. And it’s also representative of the national suffrage movement because it carries the theme that started in 1848 with the Seneca Falls Convention. The Declaration of Sentiments, written by Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and others rewrote the 1776 Declaration of Independence to include women. In 1913 the “Spirit of 1776” wagon began its journey in Manhattan and headed to Long Island for a month of intensive grassroots campaigning. The women wore colonial costumes to deliver their message of “Taxation without representation was tyranny in 1776. Why not in 1913?” With the presentation ceremony in Manhattan covered by New York and Long Island papers, the horse-drawn wagon emphasized the theme of the “Spirit of 1776,” the wagon’s name and references to equality, what the activists insisted were the founding principles of the nation. Because social movements don’t always have artifacts and memorabilia that lend themselves to exhibition, this suffrage wagon has come to represent the national theme of the movement, the “Spirit of 1776,” that was repeated in suffrage speeches, events, literature, and visual rhetoric. For more information: #1. #2. #3. Image: Puck, Library of Congress. Reading by Amelia Bowen.