Born in Boston in 1871 to Mary Russell (Collins) and James Rodney Wood, she attended St. Agnes School in Albany, N.Y., and taught school for eight years before attending Radcliffe College, where she was a co-ed intercollegiate debater. In 1898, she and fellow student Inez Haynes Irwin invited Alice Stone Blackwell, a leading feminist and suffragist and daughter of Lucy Stone and Henry B. Blackwell, to address Radcliffe students. She secretly married Charles Edward Park before graduating summa cum laude.
A frequent speaker, she joined the Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association (MWSA). After attending her first National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) meeting as nearly the only young woman, she committed to engaging students in the suffrage movement. She organized a College Equal Suffrage League (CESL) with Inez Haynes Irwin, visiting women’s colleges in Massachusetts to form local chapters. In 1908, she traveled nationally on behalf of CESL and, with Bryn Mawr College president M. Carey Thomas, established the National CESL. In 1901, she co-founded and served as executive secretary of the Boston Equal Suffrage Association for Good Government (BESAGG).
Following her marriage to actor and theatrical agent Robert Hunter, Park also became a playwright. Keeping her dedication to suffrage, during this period, she traveled aboard to learn about women’s rights in other countries.
As a NAWSA leader from 1912-1915, she worked in Massachusetts to formulate suffrage campaign strategies, implement NAWSA president Carrie Chapman Catt’s “Winning Plan.” Although the fight for the 1915 Massachusetts suffrage referendum was unsuccessful, her leadership prompted Catt’s invitation to move to D.C. and chair the NAWSA Congressional Committee.
In a parallel effort to that of the National Woman’s Party under Alice Paul, Park led suffragists from all over the country in lobbying for a suffrage amendment to the Constitution. She coordinated with NAWSA state affiliates, oversaw a detailed record of the personal lives and interests of members of Congress, and established a lobbying model characterized by meticulous instructions, absolute propriety, and respect for U.S. Representatives and Senators. In fact, their lobbying decorum was so open and above board they were called “The Front Door Lobby” by the Congressmen themselves — a major contrast to the “backstairs” methods by some business and other interests.
After woman suffrage was won, she served for four years as the first president of the National League of Women Voters. She also chaired the Women’s Joint Congressional Committee (WJCC), a coalition of ten women’s organizations that included the League. During her tenure, WJCC lobbied successfully for such federal legislation as the Sheppard-Towner Maternity and Infancy Protection Act.
After becoming ill in 1924, Park moved to Maine but continued to write plays under both her own name and pseudonyms. After her playwright husband’s death in 1928, she served as a League of Women Voters legislative counselor and continued to lecture on topics that included advocacy for a World Court. In 1939, her play Lucy Stone was performed in Boston.
In 1943, with former secretary of BESAGG Edna Stantial, she prepared and gave her suffrage and League papers, the Woman’s Rights Collection (WRC), to Radcliffe College. This collection became the core of what is now The Schlesinger Library on the History of Women, one of the major repositories of women’s history in the United States. In 1960, her book recounting the NAWSA lobbying experience, Front Door Lobby, was published posthumously.
Sources: Park, Maud Wood, 1871-1955. Maud Wood Park Papers in the Woman’s Rights Collection, 1870-1960; item description, dates. M-91, folder Pa-#. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University,http://oasis.lib.harvard.edu/oasis/deliver/~sch01035, view on November 12, 2015. Edited by Edna Lamprey Stantial, Maud Wood Park, Front Door Lobby (Boston: Beacon Press, 1960). Photo Courtesy of the Library of Congress.
By Whitney Stohr
Late last month, the outdoor and sporting gear retailer REI made headlines with the announcement that the store would remain closed on Black Friday. Rather than opening their doors on Friday morning to crowds of door-busting, deal-hunters, REI is encouraging people to forego the year’s biggest shopping tradition and, instead, #OptOutside.
REI President and CEO, Jerry Stritzke, explained: “We’re a different kind of company — and while the rest of the world is fighting it out in the aisles, we’ll be spending our day a little differently. We’re choosing to opt outside, and want you to come with us.”
For those planning to spend the day in the great outdoors, why not make your adventure an educational one?!? Here are six options to #OptOutside while learning more about women’s suffrage history.
1. Boston, Massachusetts
Dress warm, Bostonians, for a walk on the Women’s Heritage Trail. The self-guided “Ladies Walk” honors three important historical figures: Abigail Adams, who famously reminded her husband and Founding Father John Adams to “remember the ladies,” Phillis Wheatley, the first published African-American female poet, and suffragist Lucy Stone, founder of the American Woman Suffrage Association’s Women’s Journal.
For more information about the Boston Women’s Heritage Trail and stops on the Ladies Walk, visit: http://bwht.org/ladies-walk/.
2. Occoquan, Virginia
Nestled along the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail in Northern Virginia lies Occoquan Regional Park, a 400-acre recreational space, which will soon undergo a planned redevelopment, and future site of the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial. When complete, the memorial, near the site of the original Occoquan Workhouse where suffragists were imprisoned and beaten for picketing the White House, will be a noteworthy addition to the park’s new cultural area.
Learn more about Occoquan Regional Park at http://www.nvrpa.org/park/occoquan/.
(Not in Northern Virginia? Check out the other trails forming the expansive Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail at: http://www.nps.gov/pohe/.)
3. Portland, Oregon
Whether rain or shine, Portland’s Washington Park offers a nice outdoor space to spend the day. Be sure to visit the bronze monument to Sacajawea, the nation’s first, designed by sculptor Alice Cooper and paid for with funds raised by local suffragist Sarah Evans and other women. Present at the 1905 unveiling were prominent suffragists Susan B. Anthony, Abigail Scott Duniway, and Eva Emery Dye.
Learn more about Washington Park and the Sacajawea monument at: http://bit.ly/1JN8YYu.
4. Seneca Falls, New York
In 1848, a group of over 300 women’s rights advocates traveled to Seneca Falls to attend the country’s first Woman’s Rights Convention. On Friday, as you walk around town, let your mind travel back in time to the birth of the women’s rights movement.
Stop by the Visitor Center at the Women’s Rights National Historical Park to learn more about the 1848 Convention and the related Declaration of Sentiments. Continue your walk to the Wesleyan Chapel where the Convention was held, and on to the Elizabeth Cady Stanton House, former home of the suffrage pioneer.
Visit the Women’s Rights National Historical Park website for more information: http://www.nps.gov/wori/index.htm.
5. Spokane, Washington
On the morning of June 28, 1909, a group of suffragists stepped off a Northern Pacific Railroad train in Spokane. The ladies were traveling to the National American Woman Suffrage Association convention in Seattle and were welcomed at the train depot by local suffragists Emma Smith Devoe, president of the Washington Equal Suffrage Association, May Arkwright Hutton and La Reine Baker. (Learn more about the suffragists’ time in Washington State here.)
Leaving the Northern Pacific Depot, the suffragists visited the Spokane Chamber of Commerce, the Amateur Athletic Club, and the historic Davenport Hotel. Commemorate the suffragists’ 1909 visit as you wander through downtown Spokane, or when hiking the nearby Spokane River Centennial Trail, formed from several of the city’s historic and abandoned railroad rights-of-way.
6. Washington, D.C.
Thanks to the National Women’s History Museum, those visiting our nation’s capital over the Thanksgiving holiday can spend the day trekking across the city in search of historic sites. Luckily, the
museum has created a self-guided tour, called “In Their Footsteps: Woman Suffrage Historic Sites in Washington, D.C.,” with stops at Pennsylvania Avenue, the U.S. Capitol Building and White House, and the Sewall-Belmont House and Museum, former headquarters of the National Woman’s Party.
To access the complete self-guided tour, visit the National Women’s History Museum website: http://www.nwhm.org/education-resources/activities/womans-suffrage-tours.
How will you #optoutside for women’s suffrage history?
Historic sites abound! Much of the day-to-day advocacy on behalf of women’s suffrage happened in cities and towns across the country. Each state has its own local heroes, pillars of the suffrage movement. While this list offers several options, there are no doubt many other ways to #optoutside for women’s suffrage history.
How do you plan to #optoutside this Friday? Let us know in the comment section below!
(1) Becker, P. 2008. Prominent suffragists arrive in Spokane on June 28, 1909. HistoryLink.org.
(2) Sacagawea Historical Society. Historical Landmarks. Sacagawea-biography.org/.
Whitney Stohr is Social Media Chair for the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial Association and a member of the organization’s Media and Marketing Committee. Find her online at http://www.linkedin.com/in/whitneystohr/and twitter @WStHendricks.
The film Suffragette (2015) is a period drama set in Britain in the early 1910s that tells the story of the fictional suffragette Maud Watts (played by Carey Mulligan) and her growing involvement in the UK’s suffrage movement. The film was released in the United Kingdom on October 12, 2015, and in the U.S. in select theaters on October 23, 2015.
During the month of October, the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial Association remembers suffragist Rose Schneiderman (b. April 6, 1882 – d. August 11, 1972) as our Suffragist of the Month. [Written by Annie Schneiderman Valliere, grandniece of Rose Schneiderman]:
Rose Schneiderman was born Rachel Schneiderman in Savin, Poland in 1882 and immigrated to the United States in 1890. Her father, Samuel, died of meningitis two years after their arrival in New York City leaving three children and a pregnant wife. Deborah Rothman Schneiderman did her best to support her children, Rose (eldest), Harry, Charles, and Jane (Jennie). She took in boarders, sewed and washed for neighbors, and even worked as a janitress. Still, for a time, she was forced to place her three children in an orphanage. When Rose returned home, her mother worked nights so that Rose could attend school. But in 1895, when her mother lost her job, thirteen-year-old Rose was forced to leave school and enter the paid workforce. For a short time Rose was a department store clerk and then worked sewing caps.
In 1903 Schneiderman helped organize a New York City local of the United Cloth and Cap Makers and took the lead in getting women elected to the union. The next year she was elected to the union’s executive board, the highest position yet held by a woman in any American labor organization. From 1905 through the 1950’s Schneiderman was one of the most active members of the Women’s Trade Union League (WTUL) rising to national president. Also an organizer for the International Ladies Garment Workers Union from 1914 to 1916, she is best known for her leadership in the Girls Shirtwaist Strike in 1909 and her landmark speech after the Triangle Fire in 1911.
Rose Schneiderman was a well -known suffrage speaker from 1907 through 1920. She was the head of the industrial section of the New York Women’s Suffrage Association in 1917 and a member of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). She traveled the east coast and the mid-west speaking for suffrage on behalf of the NAWSA. Schneiderman, a Jewish immigrant at four feet six inches tall with striking red hair was one of the few working-class, non-native born women traveling the country speaking on behalf of suffrage. She was a founding member of the Equality League of Self-Supporting Women in 1907 with Harriot Stanton Blatch, daughter of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Leonora O’Reilly, labor leader and dynamic suffrage speaker. Schneiderman, Blatch, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman, well known writer and women’s activist, had spoken about suffrage together including at Cooper Union in 1907. In 1909 Schneiderman was one of a star-studded suffrage group who spoke in the graveyard across from Vassar College to about 50 students, professors and local citizens of Poughkeepsie, NY. Inez Milholland Boissevain organized the lecture banned from the Vassar campus by President Taylor.
In 1912 Rose was asked by the NAWSA to help rally support in Ohio. As a 1912 poster states, ”Gifted Young Lecturer Presents Woman’s Question from the Industrial Point of View.”
From these lectures in Ohio came Schneiderman’s well known statement, “What the woman who labors wants is the right to live, not simply exist–the right to life as the rich woman has the right to life, and the sun and music and art. You have nothing that the humblest worker has not a right to have also. The worker must have bread, but she must have roses, too. Help, you women of privilege, give her the ballot to fight with.” (1912, Cleveland). There is much debate as to whether Schneiderman actually came up with the phrase “bread for all and roses too.” But she expanded on the short phrase in her classic rhetorical fashion. M. A. Sherwood wrote to H. Taylor Upton, treasurer of the NAWSA, regarding Schneiderman in Cincinnati, “…But no one has touched the hearts of the masses like Rose Schneiderman…Strong men sat with tears rolling down their cheeks.”
On April 22, 1912, New York senators debated the suffrage question with suffragists at Cooper Union. A New York senator stated, “Get women into the arena of politics with its alliances and distressing contests–the delicacy is gone, and you emasculize them.” Schneiderman’s response included the following, “Women in the laundries, for instance, stand for 13 or 14 hours in the terrible steam and heat with their hands in hot starch. Surely these women won’t lose any more of their beauty and charm by putting a ballot in a ballot box once a year than they are likely to lose standing in foundries or laundries all year round… We want to tell our senators that the working-women of our state demand the vote as an economic necessity. “
On February 2, 1914, Schneiderman, and four other activists, Glendower Evans, Margaret Hinchey, Rose Winslow and Melinda Scott lead 300 to 400 working class suffragists and their allies from a mass meeting of the NAWSA to the White House. Schneiderman and the four other activists spoke to Woodrow Wilson in his chambers, pleading with him to support women’s suffrage.
Schneiderman helped organize the first International Conference of Working Women in 1919. In 1920 she ran but lost the race for the US Senate on the New York Labor Party ticket. She began advising President Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt on labor issues, and in 1933 FDR appointed her to the Labor Advisory Board for the National Industrial Recovery Administration, as the only woman member. Schneiderman was Secretary of the New York State Department of Labor from 1937 until 1943. Her memoir, All for One, was published in 1967. She lectured widely before diverse audiences and served on various boards, ending her long life as one of the most respected spokespersons and activists for improving the conditions of working people.
Although later a firm opponent of the Equal Rights Amendment along with other well known industrial feminists such as Frances Perkins, she contributed greatly to the passing of the women’s suffrage laws in New York and nationally.
Sources: Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division (LC-USZ62-112772).
By Whitney Stohr
The Turning Point Suffragist Memorial Association is raising funds to erect a memorial honoring the suffragists who fought for and won women’s right to vote. For seventy-two years, since the first Woman’s Rights Convention was held in Seneca Falls, New York in 1848, many women (and some men) actively participated in the movement and all deserve to be honored and remembered for their role in American history. These women were pioneers, rabble-rousers, and dedicated social activists, who yearned for equality and were unrelenting in their fight for political rights. So dedicated were they to social activism that, even after the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920, many remained active in the public sphere, promoting civil rights and educating women about their new political power. This piece highlights the inspiring, post-suffrage activities of five suffragists known both for their involvement in the suffrage movement and for their later accomplishments.
1. Alice Paul, heroine of the Silent SentinelsAlice Paul was one of the key players of the late suffrage movement, the daring leader of the National Woman’s Party (NWP), and General of the Silent Sentinels, whose pickets outside the White House in the late 1910s ended in their imprisonment and brutalization at the Occoquan Workhouse. Following ratification of the 19th Amendment, Alice continued her advocacy for women’s equality when, in 1923, she introduced the first Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), stating “Men and women shall have equal rights throughout the United States and every place subject to its jurisdiction.” She was later involved in the creation of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women and successfully led the coalition responsible for the inclusion of the sexual discrimination clause in Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
Read more about Alice Paul at http://www.alicepaul.org/.
2. Carrie Chapman Catt, pillar of the suffrage movementRising through the ranks of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA), Carrie Catt became President of the organization in 1900, and after briefly stepping away from NAWSA, re-assumed leadership in 1915. Her efforts, combined with those of the NWP, were instrumental in the eventual ratification of the 19th Amendment. Post-ratification, Carrie worked to educate the recently-enfranchised, female demographic, and founded the League of Women Voters in 1920, which now includes over 800 state and local Leagues in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Hong Kong.
3. Dorothy Day, suffragist and social workerBorn in Brooklyn in 1897, Dorothy Day developed a passion for social justice early in life. As a journalist involved in the suffrage movement, Dorothy was arrested in 1917 while picketing outside the White House with the NWP and joined the Silent Sentinels in a hunger strike when imprisoned at the Occoquan Workhouse. Co-founder of the influential newspaper, The Catholic Worker, and leader of the Catholic Worker Movement, Dorothy is best known for her work in the post-suffrage years.
Learn more about Dorothy Day and her later activism at http://www.catholicworker.org/.
4. Harriot Stanton Blatch, heir to activismThe daughter of pioneering suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton and abolitionist Henry Stanton, Harriot Eaton Stanton Blatch was raised by two activist parents, and added substantially to her family’s legacy through her own involvement in the suffrage movement and home front war efforts during WWI. After leading the wartime Food Administration Speakers’ Bureau and the Woman’s Land Army, Harriot published “A Woman’s Point of View” in 1920, making the case for women’s continued involvement in peace efforts. Following ratification of the 19th Amendment, Harriot twice ran for political office: in 1921, for Comptroller of the City of New York, and later, in 1926, for the Senate.
Learn more about the life and accomplishments of Harriot Stanton Blatch at http://www.biography.com/.
5. Ida B. Wells, crusader for justiceAlready an experienced activist when she became involved in the suffrage movement, as a young, African American woman in the South, Ida B. Wells was arrested on a segregated train when she refused to move to the car reserved for black passengers. In her early career as a journalist, Ida wrote on issues of race and politics in the South and initiated an anti-lynching campaign, for which she received numerous death threats, causing her to move north to New York City. As a suffragist, Ida founded the Alpha Suffrage Club of Chicago and marched in the 1913 Women’s Suffrage Parade in Washington, DC. She continued to fight for equal rights for the remainder of her life, and in 1930, launched a campaign for a seat in the Illinois State Legislature, becoming one of the first black women in the U.S. to run for public office.
Read more about the activist life of Ida B. Wells at http://www.biography.com/, and check out this article by Lynn Yaeger on Vogue.com to learn more about influential African American suffragists (“The African-American Suffragists History Forgot,” published October 21, 2015).
 Alice Paul Institute, http://www.alicepaul.org.
 Turning Point Suffragist Memorial, http://suffragistmemorial.org/suffragist-month/.
 Turning Point Suffragist Memorial, http://suffragistmemorial.org/suffragist-month-2013/.
 National Women’s History Museum, http://www.nwhm.org/education-resources/biography/biographies/harriot-eaton-stanton-blatch/.
 Biography.com, http://www.biography.com/people/ida-b-wells-9527635#synopsis.
Whitney Stohr is Social Media Chair for the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial Association and a member of the organization’s Media and Marketing Committee. Find her online at http://www.linkedin.com/in/whitneystohr/ and twitter @WStHendricks.
The annual Silent Sentinel Award honors a person who has been instrumental in advocating for women’s rights in the United States. It highlights and honors outstanding individuals who share common traits with those who stood firmly to secure the 19th Amendment, which prohibits the government from denying any citizen the right to vote because of gender. The Silent Sentinel award was named for the women who stood silently outside the White House in 1917, urging the nation’s leaders to grant women the right to vote. They were subsequently arrested and imprisoned at the Occoquan Workhouse in Lorton, Virginia, where they were beaten and force-fed, events which proved to be a pivotal turning point in the suffrage movement.
The Turning Point Suffragist Memorial Association was pleased to honor Ms. Richardson as this year’s recipient at the September 17th Silent Sentinel Award dinner. Ms. Richardson served as the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service from 1993 to 1997 and was the first woman with executive rank in the Office of the Chief Counsel of the IRS. The award was presented by Rebecca Cooper, Executive-in-Residence at American University’s Kogod School of Business and former host of WJLA-TV’s “Washington Business Report.” Emmy-winning journalist, Jan Fox, president of Fox Talks, LLC, served as Master-of-Ceremonies. Both Ms. Cooper and Ms. Fox are members of TPSMA’s Honorary Board of Directors.
Attendees heard the history of the suffrage movement and the importance of building a memorial to the women who persevered over 72 years to win the vote for American women. The dinner program included talks by Honorary Board members Edith Mayo, curator emeritus of political history at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History (“The Best Kept Secret: Suffrage History”) and Kathleen S. Kilpatrick, curator of the Virginia Capitol and executive director of the Capitol Square Preservation Council in Richmond, Virginia (“Everyday Echoes: Why this Memorial”).
A photo album from the dinner can be found on the TPSMA website at www.suffragistmemorial.org.
Thank you to our sponsors!
Dr. Sandra Treadway
Su Webb (reception sponsor)
Emily McCoy (buffet sponsor)
Copy General – Sterling, Va.
Jyothi Sunkari (videography)
Kathy Strauss (photography)
Though born in Delaware, Kathryn Lincoln considered herself a Philadelphian by the time she became active in the suffrage movement. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Sociology, she worked at the State Home for Girls in Trenton, New Jersey, then was employed by the Traveler’s Aid Society in Philadelphia before going to Washington, D.C., to join the “Silent Sentinel” demonstration of November 10, 1917.
Picketing of the White House had begun on January 10th, and arrests had been common since June 22nd, but Lincoln’s introduction to the picket line was still on a remarkable day. The authorities hoped that long sentences imposed on previous pickets would put an end to the demonstrations, but it had the opposite effect. Never before had so many as 41 pickets been arrested at once, and the military precision with which each of the five contingents alternately marched to the East and West gates of the White House impressed even the usually hostile crowd.
Lincoln was in the second detachment of nine protesters whose objective was the West Gate. After refusing to give up their right to peacefully protest, all were arrested, loaded into the “Black Maria” police van and taken off for booking, then each released on $25 bail, pending trial.
After the usual courtroom farce, all those who went to trial on November 14th were convicted of “blocking traffic” on the wide Pennsylvania Avenue sidewalk. They refused to pay their fines, so she and almost all the others were immediately, and as it would turn out, illegally, sent to Virginia’s Occoquan Workhouse. Sentences ranged from six days to six months, with Lincoln getting 30 days.
When Superintendent Whittaker and a number of guards burst into the room where the women were to be processed, Lincoln recognized him immediately: “He has stiff white hair, blazing little eyes, and a dull little birthmark on the side of his face,” she wrote in her diary.
After Superintendent Whittaker had his guards grab Dora Lewis, spokesperson for the group, and take her out of the room “like a dressmaker’s dummy” according to Lincoln, she herself was just as rudely thrown into a cell directly across from Eunice Brannan. When she tried to give some encouragement to Brannan, Whittaker became furious, and with clenched fists said: “… I’ll gag you and put you in a strait jacket for the night. Now get away from that door.”
After four days in a cold cell, and without having eaten any food, Lincoln noted: “My back seems to be breaking and the dull pain in my head becomes unbearable.” The next day she was taken to the prison hospital, where she could hear what she believed to be nearby sounds of force-feeding, and wondered if she would be next.
Before the end of November, public pressure caused all the suffrage prisoners to be released. Her ordeal certainly didn’t discourage her from further activism, as she did work for the National Woman’s Party for several months, and she won a coveted “Prison Pin” from the party as well.
On May 3, 1918, she and Mollie Condon, an organizer for the National American Woman Suffrage Association, and then the National Woman’s Party, arrived in Reno, Nevada, to “study practical politics” and help elect Anne Martin as the first female U.S. Senator. Though the campaign was unsuccessful, Martin still got 18% of the votes cast, despite running against the two major party candidates as an Independent.
By January, 1920, Lincoln was living in New York City, earning a salary as an “organizer,” so her commitment to activism never wavered despite prison time and a campaign setback.
Though her life after 1920 is a mystery, she did leave us with a clear insight into her feelings about being a part of the great struggle for equality that still continues all these years later:
“A Picket Song
By Kathryn Lincoln.
I will sing to the Cause of Woman,
That unites from every walk in life,
That inspires to any sacrifice,
That brings from the ends of a great country Women of all ages, Who place a remote freedom for every sister Above a near personal liberty, And above the cant of criticism.
And the Cause has brought
The light of freedom to their eyes,
And strength to battle for a world to come, Which broad vision, They who have not received the magic touch Cannot conceive.”
(Published in The Suffragist, February 16, 1918, page 12.)
“A Woman’s Crusade: Alice Paul and the Battle for the Ballot” by Mary Walton, pages 197 – 201;
“Jailed for Freedom” by Doris Stevens, pages 193 & 364;
New York Times, November 11, 1917, “Arrest 41 Pickets for Suffrage At the White House,” Page 1 Col. 1;
Los Angeles Daily Times, November 11, 1917, “Suffragists Arrested at Capital,” Part 1, Page 3, Col. 1;
Nevada State Journal, May 4, 1918, “Come from East to Study Politics,” Page 8, Col. 4;
1920 U.S. Census, Richmond Borough, NY, S.D. 3, E.D 1544, Sheet 15 B;
Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014.
2015 Turning Point Suffragist Memorial Association
National Student Essay and Creative Content Contest
FAIRFAX, Va. (August 5, 2015) The Turning Point Suffragist Memorial Association (TPSMA) announced the start of its First Annual National Essay and Creative Content Contest open to any currently enrolled undergraduate or graduate student. TPSMA will recognize the top three entries in two categories: 1) Research Essay, and 2) Creative Works. First-place winners will receive a cash prize of $500, in addition to recognition on TPSMA’s social media pages and credited publication on the organization’s official blog site. Second- and third-place winners will also receive recognition. All entries must be received by 11:59pm on Friday, October 30, 2015.
Please review the attached Rules & Guidelines and Entry Form documents for more information. Submit entries to Whitney Stohr at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Lauriane Lebrun
Male allies were vital to the success of the women’s suffrage movement. As members of a privileged group, men had the advantage of being influential and respected in most areas, especially at the polls and in government. While some used this against the suffragists, others reasoned that giving women the vote was the right thing to do. Many helped support the movement by writing, speaking, and voting in favor of suffrage, signing petitions, and funding projects.
Today, campaigns like UN Women’s HeForShe encourage men to continue participating in the fight for gender equity. According to the HeForShe strategy overview, “[T]he achievement of gender equality has two pre-requisites. The first is cultural and social change – or, men’s and boys’ acceptance of the importance and benefit of a gender-equal society, which is more likely to occur when ‘[men] can see positive benefits for themselves and the people in their lives’. The second is institutional change.”
Read on to get to know some of the earliest HeForShe activists: the suffragist men.
1. Frederick Douglass
Better known for his work as an abolitionist, Frederick Douglass was also a supporter of the women’s suffrage movement. In 1848, when Elizabeth Cady Stanton was criticized for her plan to read the Declaration of Sentiments at the Seneca Falls Women’s Rights Convention, only Douglass supported her. After the convention, he wrote, “All that distinguishes man as an intelligent and accountable being, is equally true of woman; and if that government is only just which governs by the free consent of the governed, there can be no reason in the world for denying to woman the exercise of the elective franchise, or a hand in making and administering the laws of the land. Our doctrine is, that ‘Right is of no sex.’”
George Francis Train supported Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony by providing his services as a speaker and by developing, launching, and funding The Revolution, their women’s rights newspaper. Train also helped out by writing articles for The Revolution.
Tennessee Congressman Thetus W. Sims showed his intense dedication to women’s rights when, in 1918, he showed up to vote in favor of suffrage—with an unset broken arm and shoulder. Sims powered through the pain and stayed for the entirety of the voting process so that he could attempt to persuade any hesitant congressmen.
James Mott, husband of suffragist Lucretia Mott, worked alongside his wife as a women’s rights activist. Mott served as chairman of the Seneca Falls Women’s Rights Convention, and was one of the men who signed the Declaration of Sentiments.
5. Daniel Anthony
Daniel Anthony was a dedicated women’s rights advocate and an important role model for his daughter, Susan B. Anthony. When Susan was a child, her school refused to teach girls math, so her father opened a school where girls and boys were taught as equals. Daniel Anthony also ran a store where he refused to sell alcohol. Like many temperance advocates, he believed that the illegalization of alcohol would lead to fewer incidences of drunken husbands beating their wives. Finally, Daniel Anthony showed his support for suffrage with his signature, which was included on the Declaration of Sentiments when it was adopted in Rochester.
6. Henry Blackwell
When Henry Blackwell married Lucy Stone, their vows included the declaration that their marriage “implie[d] no sanction of, nor promise of voluntary obedience to such of the present laws of marriage as refuse to recognize the wife as an independent, rational being, while they confer upon the husband an injurious and unnatural superiority.” Blackwell was not only a supporter of women’s suffrage, but also an activist. In 1867, he and Lucy went on a speaking campaign across the frontier, facing strenuous travel and unsavory living conditions. He served as an editor of what would eventually become the official newspaper of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, the Woman’s Journal. Later in life, Blackwell continued his impressive work as an advocate when he joined Susan B. Anthony on an extensive campaign through South Dakota—despite his age (sixty-five) and blazing hot summer conditions.
7. Francis Minor
Francis Minor, husband of suffragist Virginia Minor, was a lawyer and a women’s rights advocate. In 1869, Minor wrote a pamphlet declaring that—based on the wording of the Fourteenth Amendment—national women’s suffrage was already legal. When his wife attempted to vote and was refused in 1872, Minor used this argument in a lawsuit against the registrar. The case made it to the Supreme Court, and although the unanimous opinion was not in favor of the Minors, the lawsuit did manage to help out Susan B. Anthony. Anthony, who had also attempted to vote in 1872, was sentenced to a fine of $100, which she declared she would never pay. She didn’t—due in part to the fact that the legality of her case was in question at the time because of the Minors.
- Century of Struggle: The Woman’s Rights Movement in the United States by Eleanor Flexner and Ellen Fitzpatrick, 1996
Lauriane Lebrun is a Summer 2015 Online Communications Associate with the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial Association and an honors student at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester, NH.
By Lauriane Lebrun
1. The Suffragists Deserve It. Seriously.
Anyone who successfully maneuvers the long, arduous process of getting a constitutional amendment passed probably deserves a memorial to begin with. After all, most people are not particularly fond of change, so convincing an entire nation to alter its principal legal document is no small feat. The suffragists were challenged to do much more than speak and write persuasively, however. On March 3, 1913, for instance, the women’s suffrage parade down Pennsylvania Avenue was interrupted by angry crowds. The marching suffragists were verbally and physically attacked, while police stood back and watched. For many women’s suffrage activists, working to win the vote also meant being imprisoned and then using hunger strikes as a form of protest (WARNING: link contains some graphic content). According to the Smithsonian Institution’s HistoryWired, “force-feeding has little to do with nutrition; a tube is forced up the nose and down the throat of the victim and liquid poured through it into the stomach. It is a painful procedure and can cause illness or even death.” On November 14, 1917—also known as the Night of Terror—the jailed suffragists endured beatings and were locked in the cold, dark, dirty cells of Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia. To sum it up: the suffragists didn’t just win the vote for women, they fought and suffered for it. It seems that constructing a memorial in their honor is the least we can do today to say “thank you.”
2. The Memorial Will Be Educational — And That Is Absolutely Necessary.
True Story: Shortly after being accepted as a new intern for TPSM, I—being the bookworm that I am—hurried off to the nearest bookstore to find some reading materials on women’s suffrage. I checked the American history section: nothing. Women’s studies, perhaps? Nope. Okay… biographies? The children’s history section? Suffice it to say I searched high and low, and then went online to order some books instead. On a related note, when I think back to the history courses I took in school, I don’t recall learning much about women’s suffrage. I did take a women’s literature class in my senior year of high school that involved watching a video on Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and memorizing the date August 18, 1920. This course was an elective, however, so my peers who didn’t take it may still be unaware of the importance behind those names and the significance of that date. What I’m suggesting here is that opportunities to learn about the women’s suffrage movement are available, but not necessarily easy to find. The Turning Point Suffragist Memorial is already adding to the resources on this topic with its online presence. The addition of a physical memorial—complete with thorough educational content on the overall movement and the individual suffragists—will have an important role in shrinking the information gap even more.
3. Perfect Timing, Perfect Location.
TPSM’s goal is to have the memorial up and running by 2020, which will mark one hundred years since the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment. What better way to celebrate a century of women’s voting rights than with a memorial commemorating the suffragists and their bravery? In addition, the memorial will be located in Occoquan Regional Park, formerly part of the D.C. Prison Complex where the suffragists were imprisoned. This will give visitors to the memorial a more “real” connection to the events they are learning about as they stand where the suffragists once stood.
4. A Reminder — and a Reason — to Vote.
Underneath all the heroism and struggle and triumph of the women’s suffrage movement is the one simple word that started it all: voting. The suffragists wanted a say in the laws that governed them. They wanted to have opinions that mattered just as much as any man’s. According to CNN, 65.7% of eligible females voted in the 2008 US election. This number may seem fairly high, given the popular notions that “voting is such a hassle” and “politics are annoying.” But the suffragists—after all they did to secure this right—would probably wonder: why aren’t 100% of eligible women casting their ballot, now that they are allowed (and even encouraged) to do so? The Turning Point Suffragist Memorial will be a reminder of the importance of voting, especially as a woman. Hopefully, it will inspire visitors to get informed about the issues and the candidates and head out to the polls. Voting is a right we haven’t always been able to exercise so, now that we’ve got it, why not use it?
5. A Place for Reflection on the Past, Present, and Future.
The plans for the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial design include an informational station entitled “Forward into Light.” This is set to be the final station of the memorial, and will address “events after universal woman suffrage became law, the continuing need for vigilance and reform, and the quest for full equality.” In order to move forward and make our world better, it is important to understand our past. The “Forward into Light” station will encourage guests to reflect on the suffragists’ passion, courage, and determination. It will inspire visitors to question the status quo, to pinpoint problems and fix them when possible. Finally, it will serve as a reminder that patience and persistence can lead to success—just follow the suffragists’ example.