A New Play: “Susan B” by Daphne White Highlights Suffrage Conflicts

“Susan B.” Goes Behind the Scenes and Behind the Masks

by Daphne White

“Susan B,”, the play, is a no-holds-barred exploration of the epic battles, lies and betrayals that took place between the early suffragists and the male power brokers of their time. And in a brief flash-forward to the present, the play also asks: How much has really changed in the power dynamic between men and women?

“Susan B.” is a finalist in the 2020 Julie Harris Playwright Award Competition, and is available for readings and productions during the Suffrage Centennial.

While the play is a work of historical fiction, it is based on two years of my painstaking research. Some of the scenes are taken from condensed transcripts of actual events — Sojourner Truth’s “Ain’t I a Woman” speech; Stanton’s appeal to the New York State constitutional committee; the contentious 1869 American Equal Rights Association meeting; and Anthony’s 1873 “voting while female” trial. But other scenes are imagined, showing highly personal interactions that were never recorded.

In addition to well-known figures such as Sojourner Truth, Lucy Stone and Frederick Douglass, the play introduces Phoebe Harris Phellps, the abused wife of a famous Boston abolitionist and state Senator. Phellps was a “fugitive wife” who came to Anthony for help, after her husband imprisoned her in a mental institution for two years. The play also explores Anthony’s little-known relationship with Anna Dickinson, one of the most famous lecturers of her day, who was known as “America’s Joan of Arc.”

Frederick Douglass had a complicated and contentious history with Anthony, and that is also explored in the play. Douglass was no fan of Sojourner Truth, either, and she had her own issues with Douglass. Everything was fraught; nothing was simple or straightforward. This story is both messy, and eerily contemporary. Like today’s women, the suffragists were forced to make difficult decisions under incredibly harsh conditions. They were far from perfect, yet they never looked back, and they rarely apologized.

“Failure is impossible,” Anthony said in her last public speech. Yet she knew, even as she lay dying, that she would not succeed in her lifetime. And as the play suggests in its last few minutes, women have still not reached the “success” part of their story.

A special appeal from Daphne White: If you would like to stage a reading or production of Susan B. please contact me at Daphne@DaphneWhite.com. And if you know anyone at all in the theater world, I would very much appreciate a connection. I hope to see this play produced in as many cities as possible during the 2020 centennial celebrations.

NEWS FLASH: On March 2, 2020 at 7 pm, there will be a reading of Susan B. at Berkeley Rep’s Peet’s Theatre in downtown Berkeley, California. The reading will open the Bay Area Women’s Theatre Festival. This will be a three-month event (several shows per weekend). “Susan B” will be the opening event, along with a reception. None of the actual event dates have been released yet, but once tickets are available, the information will be available on SuffrageCentennials.com

Women have been Marching for Rights for More than 100 Years!

by Marguerite Kearns

1914 March of women’s rights supporters. Library of Congress.

WHAT IS THE DEFINITION OF INSANITY?

As women, we have been marching for our rights for more than 100 years. This is insanity. Are we going now to break the next record of 150 years of marching? How about 200 years of marching? Is this what it will take for US women and others to be considered first-class citizens?

You’d think that the 100th anniversary of women voting in 2020 would have impacted the thinking of those so-called “party leaders” who believe that old white men are what it’s going to take to win a seat in the Oval Office. But no. It’s business as usual. But we’re changing that!

DOING THE SAME THINGS OVER AND OVER AND EXPECTING A DIFFERENT RESULT IS ALSO CALLED “INSANITY”

“Insanity” is a word spread around on the grassroots. The on-the-ground definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. It’s not that marching in public is a bad idea. Here at SuffrageCentennials.com we support marches and other demonstrations of support.

CAN WOMEN WIN? YOU BET!

BUT KEEP IN MIND THAT there’s the same old tired jargon by some who say “women can’t win.” Nonsense. The right person can win, and marches are only part of the picture. We need women who care more about people than profit to serve our nation. The time is over for insults and condescending attitudes.

In 2019 I participated in the women’s march in my community carrying the above image of women and men marching at close to life size in 1914. My grandparents were in that above photo. THAT WAS WELL OVER 100 YEARS AGO. To my knowledge, I was the only person in the 2019 parade making the link between the past and the present day.

THE YEAR 2020 IS THE TIME TO BE SAYING “NO” TO INSANITY

This is what the 2020 centennial and celebration of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution is about. Making the connection between the past and the present. You’d think the old boy network might have noticed that US women have been struggling for rights for so long, it should be embarrassing. And yet the message hasn’t sunk in yet.

NEWS ALERT: Virginia’s legislative bodies today approved the Equal Rights Amendment, making it the final state to do so. Now the process begins to legitimize the ratifications. Stay tuned!

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This entry was posted on January 15, 2020, in Blog.

HAPPY 2020! This is our year at Suffrage Centennials!

This photo is of Earth Mama, Joyce Rouse. She’s ready for action in 2020.

2020 is finally here, folks. Behind the scenes over the past decade SuffrageCentennials.com has been advocating since 2013 for a national centennial celebration of the passage of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution. The 2020 observance just didn’t happen automatically. It has taken the focus and concentration of hundreds, and even thousands of volunteers—all of us working quietly behind the scenes.

Here at SuffrageCentennials.com we have been diligently advocating for 2020 since 2013…back when many people either couldn’t pronounce the word “suffrage” or they didn’t know what it meant. And look how far we have come! And the songs of Earth Mama have been important in spreading the word.

It’s time for a song, and “Earth Mama” is prepared to give it to us. Here’s a CD that you’ll find useful this year for school, organization, and other events from the Earth Mama herself: Joyce Rouse.

Follow us at Suffrage Centennials during 2020.

This entry was posted on January 12, 2020, in Blog.

Mount Inez in Adirondacks honors US suffrage martyr

Federal review and approval comes after the Town of Lewis, New York gathered public input and then voted in October to make formal request to BGN. The town now also has road markers identifying sites associated with Milholland and her family who were local residents. Inez Milholland is buried in the nearby cemetery in the Town of Lewis beside her father, John Lewis. The graves overlook Mount Inez. The Mount Inez name change had already been approved by New York’s Committee on Geographic Names, a step taken as part of federal review.

Follow the 100th anniversary of US women voting on SuffrageCentennials.com

This entry was posted on December 14, 2019, in Blog.

Keeping the goal of honoring suffragist Inez Milholland alive!

Santa, will you save the day for honoring Inez Milholland? on Vimeo.

Back in 2016, SuffrageCentennials.com was one of many supporters of those advocating that we remember Inez Milholland (1886-1916) who has been referred to often as the US suffrage martyr.

Marguerite Kearns and Bob Cooney were the national co-chairs for the effort by the National Women’s History Project (now the National Women’s History Alliance) to acknowledge the 100 years since the death of Inez and plan for her recognition during 2020.

This entry was posted on December 4, 2019, in Blog.

Thanksgiving message for 2019!

Vintage Thankgiving

Watch the Video

Giving thanks for the outpouring of support from US women and their allies for women’s rights events and activities for 2020. Have you done your part in organizing something special for the 2020 women’s rights centennial? It commemorates the 100 years since US women have been voting.

Will you be part of the next national women’s march—held each year? on Vimeo.

Suffrage CentennialsimagesFollow Suffrage Centennials on FacebookTwitter, 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. And don’t forget to pass on women’s suffrage storytelling to the next generation. Suffrage Centennial videos on Vimeo.

This entry was posted on November 28, 2019, in Blog.

Watch for Books Associated with 2020, the suffrage centennial

A sampling of the many books scheduled for publication that have been planned to coincide with the 2020 women’s suffrage centennial and the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution.

This entry was posted on November 8, 2019, in Blog.

Suffrage Centennial News Notes Continue

Charm City Fringe Festival featured Carrie Chapman Catt in October 2019 performances of a Baltimore program to bring Catt out of obscurity in the women’s rights movement.”

Performer Amy Walker has announced plans to make suffrage activist Inez Milholland visible during 2020, the national centennial to celebrate women’s voting rights.

This entry was posted on November 1, 2019, in Blog.