With the current State of Things, it feels like there isn't much to celebrate. But today, my friends, we have something!
Because on this day . . .
100 years ago . . .
The State of Tennessee passed the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution, bringing the number of states passing the amendment to 36 and providing the necesary majority to ratify the amendment, which extended universal suffrage to women.
"The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation."
--- 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution
Something to celebrate, indeed!
(But holy moly . . . check out the cords on that electric light chandelier . . . )
Today, in "Start Your Engines" fashion, I've got some ways we can celebrate this special day together. (Starting with a quote, of course.)
"Any great change must expect opposition, because it shakes the very foundation of privilege."
--- Lucretia Mott
Telling the Whole Story
By now, I'm sure most of us are pretty familiar with the story of women's suffrage. Although I never learned the history as a child (there was never any time devoted to women's history when I was in school), I devoured biographies about the (white) movers and shakers of the women's suffrage movement and histories chronicling the process of passing the 19th amendment as I grew up. If you're interested in a quick overview, here's a quick refresher (from PBS). And here's a Women's Suffrage Timeline (from the National Women's History Museum) covering the years 1840 through 1920.
That's not the whole story.
Because passing the 19th amendment . . . didn't actually guarantee or even mean suffrage for ALL women in the U.S. For years after 1920, many women, including Native Americans and Chinese immigrants, were not able to vote. And for many others, especially African-Americans, casting a ballot was extremely difficult. Until the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, all women in the US did not actually enjoy the right to vote.
And . . . the stories of the movement and the history most of us are familiar with didn't include the contributions of women of color and LGBTQ women at all. It's time we rectify that and make sure we understand and know the whole story.
Celebrate today by expanding your knowledge and challenging your understanding of the story of women's suffrage in the United States.
- For an excellent explanation of the complicated racial history of the women's suffrage movement, along with an introduction to key women of color involved in the movement, click here for an article from CNN.
- Add a book (or two!) to your "to read" list:
- Recasting the Vote: How Women of Color Transformed the Suffrage Movement by Cathleen D. Cahill (due to be published in November 2020)
- Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insisted on Equality for All by Martha S. Jones (due to be published in September 2020)
- If you have access to the New York Times, they are releasing a series of articles in celebration of Women's Suffrage, with special emphasis on highlighting the lesser-known women who were crucial to the movement -- from women of color to LGBTQ women to women cartoonists. (Start here for a rabbit-hole's worth of links.)
This was my first introduction to a "suffragette" . . .
I'm sure many of you remember this scene from the Mary Poppins movie. (And, like me, you're probably already singing the song!)
Here's a little history on the term "suffragette" -- where it came from, how it evolved, and how the movement embraced the nickname. (Time Magazine)
Celebrate the 19th Amendment AND support the U.S. Postal Service by purchasing this new commemorative stamp . . .
The stamps will be available beginning August 22 at your local post office OR you can pre-order online here. (Please know . . . these stamps are extremely popular right now, and they may not be available at all post offices. I pre-ordered mine online.)
Watch a Movie
Yeah, this movie is about the British women's suffrage movement, but it gets the point across. It's a hard to watch, but really gives a sense of the passion, commitment, and hardships of the movement. It's available to stream on Netflix, or to rent on Prime.
A Final Note
You may have seen this a few years ago when it first came out, but enjoy Lady Gaga's parody of her own song, Bad Romance, now with a suffragette twist.
Votes for women!
Votes for ALL women!