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August 18

Compiled and Written by Irene Stuber
who is solely responsible for its content.

U.S. woman's suffrage ratified, but opponents use illegal delaying tactics

Women are Turning to the Goddess

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More Achieving Women


QUOTES by Sara Davidson, Virginia Woolf, and Simone de Beauvoir.

By the Margin of One Man's Vote, One State U.S. Women are Guaranteed by the Federal Government the Right to Vote

On 08-18-1920, Tennessee through its legislature became the thirty-sixth state and deciding state to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States and make it the supreme law of the land.
      On 08-18-1920, 144 years after it was declared that "All MEN are equal," the word woman was inserted into the U. S. Constitution for the first time - and 50% of the adult American population was returned its dignity.

But like all such momentous changes, there were further delays by those who profited by women's continued inferiority and dependance.
      It would be six more days before the governor of Tennessee signed the bill and then mailed it to Washington delaying it even further... the great day of celebration would be delayed until August 26, 1920 now celebrated as Woman's Equality Day.

American women's dreams of having a voice in their own destiny through voting was bogged down shamefully by a small group of male legislators from Tennessee.
      Some Tennessee legislators went so far as to flee their state at midnight in an attempt to prevent the finalization of the vote that ratified the woman's suffrage amendment to the U. S. Constitution. The Tennessee Supreme Court had to intervene and tell the legislators to do their sworn duty (and to behave).
      Revisionist historians are now trying to minimize the situation (and thus the women's movement in its entirety) by claiming woman's suffrage was a forgone conclusion.

It was not.

Had Tennessee failed to ratify, the suffrage amendment would have been dead in the water.
      In fact, as with the ERA 50 years later, some states were poised to reconsider it and vote it down.

On August 18, 1920 the ratification of the 19th Amendment by Tennessee that would two-thirds of all states, an amendment that would guarantee suffrage for ALL women in the U.S. had come down to one state and to a 24-year-old man Harry Burns who had been considered a safe vote for men's continued supremacy - before his mother intervened.
      He stood up at his seat in the Tennessee legislature, swallowed and voted "yeah." He would face terrible denunciations and accusations for his change of heart and in the coming days he would explain his position on the floor of the legislature. His political career was over; his constituents opposed suffrage for women.
      One vote, one state.
      By that unbelievably slim margin, American women finally won the vote.

Mrs. Burns's telegram to her son 08-18-1920 that changed history read:

"Hurrah! and vote for suffrage and don't keep them in doubt... I've been watching to see how you stood but have noticed nothing yet. Don't forget to be a good boy and help Mrs. (Carrie Chapman) Catt* put 'Rat' in Ratification."

*CCC was president of the National-American Woman Suffrage Association of 3.5 million members.

Eighty years later, we tend to forget what a burning and divisive issue was woman suffrage. Ten days after ratification, the Literary Digest printed this roundup of opinions which spotlights the hope and bitterness both that heralded the advent of the woman voter.

"Tennessee has triumphantly closed the sixty years of women's struggle for the right to have their prayers counted on Election day," says Mrs. Carrie Chapman Catt, president of the National Woman Suffrage Association.

To most American women the news of what was going on in Tennessee was slow in coming because so few had radios and newspapers coverage was limited... Many newspapers (depending on the attitude of publishers toward woman's suffrage) gave out false information about the progress, many assured their men readers that this foolishness would not become supreme law of the land.

The nation began to wait. Would the Tennessee legislature succeed in tabling the vote? Would the legislature meet to continue the ratification finalization. Would the attempts to rescind succeed. When would the governor sign it?

Few women could celebrate in the streets. Perhaps they cried in the secrecy of their closets - for married women in particular had few rights. Their husband's could beat them with impunity. The husbands did not have to support them, or honor them in any way. They could be raped at will. Their children and their possessions belonged to their husbands as well as any wages they might earn.
      Because of state's rights, some women in some states did have more freedom, but not in all and not in the majority.

Harry Burns, one of the unsung heroes of the long battle for human rights, was a good boy... man. He followed his mother's advice. Women were not so lucky some years later when less than 20 men in various legislatures throughout the U.S. blocked the passage of the Equal Rights for Women amendment (ERA).
      That summer in 1920 Carrie Chapman Catt and almost every leading suffragist of the National American Woman's Suffrage Association was in the Tennessee state capitol talking and lobbying every legislator, every legislator's backers, and every influential person in the entire state. That summer in Tennessee offers one of the most remarkable studies of successful political pressure ever recorded in this nation: a group of mostly older women who had NO political power themselves were able to lobby and win the vote for women. These remarkable women worked WITHIN the political system of the day to win the vote.
      The militant suffragists like Alice Paul kept their heads down and their voices muted when all the chips went on the line in Nashville.
      Catt's patience with them and their disruptive methods had run out. She made it plain that the militant methods would ruin the delicate balance that they were forging in Tennessee's state capital and it would NOT be tolerated. Paul stayed home in Washington. Even her own advisors said her presence would be too disruptive and galvanizing. Instead, her trusted lieutenant and heart, also the heart of Paul's group, Lucy Burns went to Nashville and campaigned quietly.
      It wasn't only the suffragists who went to Nashville. That sweltering city in the gripes of a "normal" hot August was also the scene of huge anti-suffrage rallies and nefarious attempts to convince pro-suffrage legislators to oppose ratification.

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Women are Turning to the Goddess

Sleeping Goddess of Malta

Megatrends for Women is one of a series of books attempting to predict the future based on trends. Authors Patricia Aburdene and John Naisbitt inserted an extensive chapter on the growing goddess acknowledgement which surprised a lot of "not with it" people.
      Actually, since the discussions of the goddess been part of the major feminists conferences for a number of years such a chapter was natural.
      Aburdene and Naisbitt point out there are more followers of WICCA than are Quakers and that the movement is homing in on the numbers who follow the Unitarian "doctrine."
      (Unfortunately the authors fail to really differentiate between WICCA and the old religion goddess followers. They are, in actuality, two different disciplines. In WICCA, which is a modern discipline, men and women share almost equally positions although acknowledging the goddess, many/most of the main positions of power are filled by men. while the "old religion" is limited to women, often referred to as witches. However, some Wiccans call themselves witches also. Men are called warlocks in the old religion, and though powerful, are not part of the woman's non-existent hierarchy as they are in Wiccan.)

Right, the Goddess of Willendorg.

Left, Goddess of Bulgaria. The size and marks on
these statues indicate fertility. Many had kernals
of grain pressed into them.

      The following is quoted from Megatrends for Women:
"Activists who seek equality, disarmament, a balanced environment, eventually come face-to-face with the same cynical argument: 'It has always been this way. lt's just human nature.
      "In the late 20th century, a new generation of feminists offer a counter argument: 'No it hasn't.'
      "Archeological discoveries after World War II present evidence of a peaceful, remarkably advanced, prehistoric agricultural society where the Goddess was worshiped extensively and where women and men lived in harmony, neither dominating the other. This civilization extended across Turkey and into the Middle East, as far west as France, as far north as southern Poland.

The snakes are symbols
of energy and rejuvenation.

      "This stunning new view is most frequently associated with Marija Gimbutis, a Lithuanian-born professor at U.C.L.A., though it is also accepted by many scholars, including British archeologist James Mellart. Now in her 70s, Gimbutas has devoted most of her career to collecting evidence of Goddess culture. Gimbutas knows mythology and folklore, reads more than 20 European languages, is a veteran of five European excavations and has written 20 books and 200 articles,including Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe (University of California Press) and The Language of the Goddess (Harper San Francisco). The description of the Neolithic period in what she calls "old Europe" that emerges from her work has fascinated people everywhere.
      "The vast majority of European Neolithic sculpture portrayed the female body. Thousands of figurines of women, some from as far back as 30,000 BC, were initially considered erotic art. Gimbutas disputed that conclusion, arguing they were Goddess figures intended for worship."
      Megatrends for Women also predicts a woman president for 2020 so it is still interesting reading.

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Beers Heads World Largest Ad Agency

Charlotte Beers was appointed head of the world's largest advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide in 1992. She was rated as one of the world's 100 most powerful women in 1996. CB's career took wings when she developed the campaign's that made Uncle Ben's long-grain rice a top seller in the early 1900s.

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More Achieving Women:

Cherokee Amerind Betty Louise Bell is a novelist and Native American scholar with the University of Michigan where she teacher courses in Native American literature and serves as Director of the Native American Studies Program.

Marge Henderson Buell created the highly popular Little Lulu comic strip character who was half unrepentant devil and the other half feminist. It took the country by storm in the 1930s and she was forced to hire men cartoonists (there weren't enough women) to keep up with the demand for comic books as well as strips for comic pages. She retired while Lulu was still popular a very wealthy woman.

Helen Burham served as a judge in Salina New York for more than 20 years - and never had a law degree.
      It is a peculiarity of New York State that allows those without a law degree to act as judges. It is estimated that as many as 75% of the local court judges of the state do not have a law degree.
      Her husband held the post and when he died the Republican party nominated someone else to fill the post. Miffed, she ran as a conservative and with the help of the Democrats, she won handily - and for five terms, no one opposed her.
      She owned her own real estate business and had acted as her husband's clerk.
      According to her obituary in the New York Times,
"although town justices mainly handle traffic offenses and small claims disputes, perform wedding ceremonies and preside over misdemeanor cases involving penalties of no more than a year in jail,those who are hauled into court are rarely the most reputable of citizens. And the duties of a town justice also include arraigning accused murderers and other desperate felony suspects, sometimes in the middle of the night." In all, misogynists pointed out, not a job for a lady. She replied, "I became a judge and stopped being a lady."
      She was the 16th woman in New York State to become a judge.

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B. 08-18-1587, Virginia Dare - the first English child born in what is now the United States. She and the other English colonists of tiny Roanoke Island disappeared before a supply ship was able to return from a trip for supplies to England. It is conjectured that the colony sought food and refuge with a friendly Indian tribe and were assimilated into it.
      The first European child born in North America is probably Snorri who was born in Vinland (the wooded land in North America that was visited and named by Leif Eriksson about the year AD 1000. Its exact location is not known, but it was probably somewhere along the Atlantic coastline of what is now eastern or northeastern Canada) around the year 1000.

B. 08-18-1823, Phoebe Yates Levy Pember - U.S. Confederate hospital administrator.

B. 08-18-1864, Gemma Cesira Matilda Bellincioni - Italian Soprano and voice teacher, was the originator of Santuzzi in Cavelleria Rusticana (1890). She toured extensively in Europe and South America.

B. 08-18-1900, Vijava Lakshmi Pandit - Indian national leader, politician, and diplomat. She was the first woman president of the UN general assembly (1953- 4). VLP was imprisoned several times by the British in her drive for the independence of India.
      VLP served as India's ambassador to the U.S.A., to Mexico, and to the USSR (Soviet Russia). She chaired the Indian delegation to the U.N. She was one of the most influential women of the 20th century but little recognized in the U.S.

B. 08-18-1902, Dr. Leona Baumgartner - U.S. health advocate. Dr. LB served as a federal and New York city official for children's health and welfare. She promoted health services for high schoolers. "What's the use of sending a kid on to a factory if his(her) eyes aren't good? We think it's more intelligent to get a child into shape while he (or she is) in school."

B. 08-18-1908, Else Frenkel-Brunswik - Austrian psychologist. She moved to U.S. after the Anschluss in Germany in 1938.
      However, the prejudice did not end with her arrival to the U.S. Her marriage prevented her from being considered for appointment at the University of California at Berkeley because her husband was employed there.
      Her studies in prejudice were considered major accomplishments in the field, but it did her no good in face of overpowering gender prejudice by academic men.
      She committed suicide at 50 following the death of her husband, bitter that her career had been stymied because she was female and a wife.
      This tale of an accomplished wife being prevented from expressing her full potential is repeated over and over again in the U.S., in spite of our vaunted "freedoms."

B. 08-18-1912, Dame Dr. Josephine Barnes - British physician.
      JB was the first woman president of the British Medical Association.
      "For many women a hysterectomy is the best thing that has happened to them," this strong-minded doctor said who spent her life making valuable contributions to embryology, the availability of abortion, and gynaecology

B. 08-18-1918, Elsa Morante - Italian novelist, short story writer, and poet.
      EM was known for the mythical quality of her works and her intensely poetic style.
      She wrote of the poor, the oppressed, and the tragic. Her novels included House of Liars (1948), and History (1974), the latter considered one of the major modern Italian pieces of literature. L'isola di Arturo dealt with the struggles of youth coming to terms with adulthood.

B. 08-18-1921, Lidiia Vladimirovna Litviak aka Lidya Litvak - World War II Soviet ace with 12 confirmed kills of German planes.
      LL loved to do aerobatics and her flamboyant maneuver of swooping over the hangars, soaring up into a victory roll, then a tight turn and a perfect landing would signify to onlookers that she had made a combat "kill." On her first official sortie on the front she was the primary destroyer of a Heinkel bomber. Her own Yak plane was hit by bullets from a German plane.
      By the end of that year she had shot down six German planes by herself. Her flamboyant personality extended to putting herself in greater danger by marking her plane with paintings of large White Roses which enabled the enemy to spot her coming. Legend has it that German pilots would exchange warnings when they spotted her distinctive markings.
      Each year, it seems, more legends are built around Litvak including her femininity. One has to wonder why it is so necessary for HIStorians to do that. Her life was involved in the day-by-day reality of kill or be killed and much of it in the bitter Russian winter during the defense of motherland.
      Litvak got her pilots license at 15 and when the Germans invaded Russia, Marina Raskova, the famous Russian woman aviator, was able to convince authorities to form three women's flying regiments. (Women were not only pilots but also navigators and mechanics in weather where the merest touch of a bare hand to metal froze it there.)
      The women soon distinguished themselves and were gradually integrated into men's units on an equal basis. She was wounded and shot down twice, once behind German lines but managed to evade capture.
      Her youthful flamboyancy was curtailed when her fiance, also a Soviet flying ace, was killed in action and the long, hard days always in danger and under deep pressures to defend her motherland mounted as the Germans appeared to be almost invincible. Suddenly her own mortality became a distinct possibility.
      On August 1, 1943, Lildyia Litvak was again shot down. She was observed to crash land and never seen from again. All sorts of rumors raged and it was 1989 before the place of her plane's wreckage was found and her body located. It had been buried under the wing of her plane, as was the custom, but the wreckage had been removed before her burial site was marked.
      Litvak flew 168 combat missions and was credited with 11 aircraft and 1 balloon individual kills and 3 shared victories.
      She was awarded the highest Soviet Union honors in a decree signed by Mikhail Gorbachev on May 5, 1990 after an almost 50 year delay in what many called a national disgrace.
      When she was shot down and killed 08-01-1943 she was 17 days short of her 22nd birthday.

B. 08-18-1922, Shelley Winters - U.S. actor of stage and screen.
      SW won Academy Awards for her work in The Diary of Anne Frank (1959) and A Patch of Blue (1965) and she was nominated twice more. Her autobiographies Shelley, also known as Shirley (1980) was a runaway best seller, one of the first woman's kiss and tell insider revelation of Hollywood.
      A noted actor, she conducted acting classes for some of the screens best actors.

B. 08-18-1927, Rosalyn Smith Carter, wife of Jimmy, 39th U.S. president, trusted advisor who sat in on many cabinet meetings. Her husband called her "an almost equal extension of myself."

B. 08-18-1936, Luisa Isabel Alvarez de Toledo y Maura, Duchess of Medina-Sidonia - called the 'Red Duchess' for her communistic efforts on behalf of the Spanish poor, land reform, and greater civil liberties for the citizens of Spain.

B. 08-18-1940, Joan Joyce - U.S. softball player. Her fast ball was clocked at 115 mph, faster than most major league men pitchers who get millions of dollars can fire the ball.
      Her record is absolutely astounding: she pitched 105 no-hit games and 33 perfect games in her 20 seasons. She had a lifetime batting average of .327 and scored 534 runs. (The compiler of WOAH author had the privilege of seeing her pitch one game. Awesome!)
      With the help of Billie Jean King (the tennis champion who did so very much for women in sports to upgrade their monetary compensation) JJ helped establish the International Women's Professional Softball Association. JJ's team won the league's world series all four years it was in existence. Although JJ drew crowds as large as 7,000, the league overall failed to make money and folded. At 37 she turned to golf with moderate success.

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      "We make love for hours and I cannot (achieve an orgasm). The next time we meet, I tell him, with shyness, pauses, and a voice barely audible, what might make it easier for me. Now he cannot sustain an erection.
      " '[Expletive!] I don't believe it,' he says. 'For years I've wanted a woman to do what you've done. I've asked them to tell me what they like, but they haven't and now I know why. I feel threatened, like I'm being asked to perform.'"
            -- Sara Davidson, "What Am I Doing Here?" 1975.

      "Women have served all these centuries, as looking glasses possessing the magic and delicious power of reflecting the figure of man at twice its natural size."
            -- Viginia Woolf, A Room of Her Own.

      "The most mediocre of males feels himself a demigod as compared with women."
           -- Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex.

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