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Syndicate contentNY Women's Suffrage Centennial

Getting it Right on Suffrage

August 7, 2016 by pegjohnston

This is an article from the Women's Media Center, on the recent attention and in accuracies by the media on suffrage.

With the nomination of Hillary Clinton for the U.S. presidency, commentators have felt compelled to fill in historical background and say something about the fight for political power, especially for women’s right to vote, that preceded her. A flick of the finger on Internet search engines or a quick visit to the photo archives has, however, resulted in a torrent of “information” about the suffrage movement with holes as wide as Bella Abzug’s hat.

So here, for the next producers of suffrage chatter, are a few things to keep in mind.

1. The United States is not England. An ocean sits between the two. “Suffragette” was a derisive term used by the British press. In a verbal turnabout, English women adopted the term, but Americans generally preferred to call themselves the less sexy “suffragist.” The Brits (some) attacked private property with bricks and torches; Americans heckled public officials, and some eventually stood silent vigil at the White House gates. Check your captions to be sure the images do not come from across the pond.

2. Seneca Falls is a prompt, not a movement. That town in northern New York state was the site of a meeting in 1848, where black abolitionist Frederick Douglass urged Elizabeth Cady Stanton to add “the right to vote” to a list of rights she would argue for. The attendees were local people, mostly family groups. Susan B. Anthony was not there, but Quaker Lucretia Mott was.

While Seneca Falls may have been “the shot heard round the world” for women’s rights, it did not lead to anything nearly as quick or as unified as the American Revolution. It led, in fact, to more than seven decades of political sprawl, with groups of distinct interests and ideologies, all part of “the suffrage movement.”

3. 1848 is not 1920. The original tactic, for winning a variety of rights, was organizing state by state, holding large indoor “conventions” and collecting petitions. Stanton died in 1902 and Anthony in 1906, with the big dream of federal voting rights unfulfilled.

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photo: collection of Peg Johnston

NEW YORK WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE CENTENNIAL CONFERENCE - 1917-2017

August 17, 2015 by pegjohnston

Sponsored by the New York Cultural Heritage Tourism Network
In conjunction with its Women’s Rights & Suffrage Committee

A conference to provide awareness, stimulate interest and nurture partnerships in preparation for the
Centennial Celebration of women’s right to vote in New York State & to explore cultural heritage tourism opportunities for 2017

Holiday Inn – Waterloo/Seneca Falls
2468 NYS Route 414
Waterloo, NY 13165
Thursday, October 1, 2015 – 9:00 am to 4:00 pm

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