New Yorkers move suffrage celebration plans forward for 2017

SuffrageCentennialsLOGONew York State has two national parks now in the Finger Lakes region, what many people refer to as the “Cradle” of the women’s rights movement in the United States. The news concerning recent Congressional approval and funding of the Harriet Tubman national park gives a huge boost to everyone interested in the upcoming New York State suffrage centennial celebration in 2017, as well as the national suffrage centennial in 2020.

New York City has made a huge leap already in terms of preparing for the state’s 2017 suffrage centennial. Tracy Penn Sweet is the program director for the Women’s Suffrage Centennial in New York City. Her job is to develop a five-year plan to prepare for the 2020 national suffrage centennial. There’s also planning activity in the Rochester, NY area, plus many busy activists in New York City, Long Island and around the state, as well as a 2017 statewide conference in the the final stages of organization. We’ll let you know as soon as the information is available.

Over the past year various historic coalitions and ad hoc citizen groups in New York State have been discussing the possibilities inherent in preparing for such important future observances. Special projects are in the early stages of discussion and organization and people are spreading the word enough to stir plenty of interest. The committee supporting the statue proposed for Central Park statue in NYC of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony just set up its web site. And there’s more to come from organizations large and small on the local, state, and national levels.

Will the State of New York weigh in on any of this? It’s hard to tell. The best possible case would include state funding, promotion and support services for upcoming suffrage centennials because of the economic development and tourism potential. There’s considerable support on the grassroots for early planning and preparation. Over the next few weeks we’ll follow up with more about national initiatives in support of the 2020 centennial observance of the passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. There’s activity on the national level in support of 2020, including plans to complete a national suffrage memorial in Lorton, Virginia, 2020 ceremonies in Philadelphia, support groups and special interest coalitions and communications that are visualizing what’s possible and then taking the next step. Stay tuned! has a Facebook page, in addition to Twitter, email subscription, and a Quarterly Newsletter. Stay up to date with postings, audio podcasts, and videos.

A new video about the suffrage centennial gifts we want under the holiday tree this year. . .

Check out the new video about the gifts we want under the tree this year.

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A VIDEO: “All I want for Christmas…” and Susan B. Anthony is watching Congress!

Votes for Women heritage trail

WARNING TO THE U.S. CONGRESS: It’s more than Susan B. Anthony watching you.

This video may have been produced during the 2013 holiday season, but the message is just as current in 2014. By watching the video it’s possible to refresh our collective memories about the proposed “Votes for Women” heritage trail in the Finger Lakes region of New York State. Link to our last posting about the U.S. Congress being unable to pull off even a simple reauthorization bill to send the “Votes for Women” trail bill on its way down the legislative pipeline. And then enjoy the video about how all we want for Christmas is a women’s trail. Follow with email and Twitter.


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

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.

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!

How to get suffrage centennials more of the attention these events require…

Promoting suffrage centennials requires an examination of the history of how women won the vote and the various reasons why this part of American history hasn’t received the attention it deserves. Musician and historian Gerri Gribi addresses this topic in a brief audio podcast where she examines what she discovered after spending several decades speaking to groups and performing songs about women and their history. This is important to keep in mind with the upcoming 2017 suffrage centennial in New York State that will coincide with the centennial of the United States entering World War I. Unless there’s a concerted effort to care about and promote the suffrage movement, this period of our history may well be overpowered by other centennial observances  in New York and around the nation. We won’t be able to say that Gerri Gribi didn’t warn us. Pull up a chair, listen, and reflect. The podcast.

Bernice Ende from Montana is on the road speading the word about the suffrage movement!

Word is spreading about the importance of the suffrage movement in American history. And the subject matter takes over the local news when someone like Bernice Ende rides into Rochester and Fayetteville, NY to tell people that’s she’s honoring our suffrage ancestors when she talks about suffrage centennials. Ende is from Montana, one of two states honoring its suffrage centennial in 2014. Recently she stopped in Rochester to visit Susan B. Anthony’s grave and then carved out a visit to the Susan B. Anthony House before heading to Fayetteville and the Matilda Joslyn Gage Center. Friends and neighbors in both towns spread out a red carpet for Bernice. And for good reason!

Figuring that Bernice didn’t have much time to spend on a computer crafting a quote for this web site, we suggested that Bernice offer up a single sentence to sum up her ride. So she sent back a reply: “What do you say to a woman who devoted her life to unlocking doors you now freely walk thru? What do you say to the woman who cleared what was once a pitiful path to become what is now a free-way that I travel on? I simply couldn’t believe I was witnessing such an important region! AND the appreciation I felt to the women who work to keep this history alive. Goodness, you all need to be applauded. I know Susan would be proud of you.” Bernice understands the importance of putting both Gage and Anthony on her priority list and telling others about their remarkable lives and contributions. She’s modeling how to put the spirit of the suffrage activists to work in our own lives. Bernice’s web site.

Bernice says that if she rides into your town, she’s available to present a slideshow on women’s suffrage. So contact her at if you’d like to schedule a presentation. See her blog for the route of travel.
Susan B. Anthony House

Photos of Bernice Ende in Rochester, NY by John Adamski. Photo #1 at Susan B. Anthony’s grave: Bernice and Deborah Hughes of the Susan B. Anthony House. Photo #2: Bernice at the Susan B. Anthony House on 17 Madison Street in Rochester, NY.

Reflections about the upcoming 2017 New York suffrage centennial

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.