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August 22

Compiled and Written by Irene Stuber
who is solely responsible for its content.
This version of Women of Achievement has been taken
from email distributions of Women of Achievement and Herstory.

And More on The History of Woman's Suffrage


QUOTE by Marion Wright Edelman.

from The History of Woman's Suffrage

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. Women in several of the colonies voted on equal level with men and those rights were TAKEN AWAY when those colonies became part of the United States of America!

      The organized battle for women's rights had started in the United States in 1848 when Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott organized the first women's rights convention, which was held in Senecca Falls, NY.
      Its report, patterned after the Declaration of Independence which ignored women's rights, (as did the U.S. Constitution) read (in part):

      "When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one portion of the family of man to assume among the people of the earth a position different from that which they have hither to occupied, but one to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mnkind requires tat they should declare the causes that impel them to such a course...
      "...When a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce [women] under absolute despotism, it is their duty to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. Such has been the patient sufferance of the women under this government and such is now the necessity which constrains them to demand the equal station to which they are entitled.
      "...Let facts be submitted to a candid world.
      "He has never permitted her to exercise her inalienable right to the elective franchise.
      "He has compelled her to submit to laws, in the formation of which she had no voice."

      Other grievances ranged from lack of basic civil and property rights, lack of the opportunity to earn a just wage, and the inability to gain an education. It is a document that any women today can recognize.
      (A full copy of the Declaraion of Sentiments appears in the WOAH library.)

      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 ... but somehow they heard.
      There were many who could not celebrate in the streets. Perhaps they cried in the secrecy of their closets - for married women in particular had few rights. Their husbands 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 by their husbands. Their children and their possessions belonged to their husbands as well as any wages they might earn.
      But most of all, women's wages were kept low so that in most cases they were FORCED to marry - and FORCED to stay married regardless of the ill treatment. Because of state's rights, some women in some states did have more freedom, but not in all and not in the majority.

      In 1902 when Carrie Chapman Catt had been personally chosen by Susan B.Anthony to head the formal woman's suffrage and equal rights movement in the US, CCC sounded a clarion call:

      "The world taught woman nothing skilllful and then said her work was valueless. It permitted her no opinions and said she did not know how to think. It forbade her to speak in public, and said the sex had no orators. It denied her the schools, and said the sex had no genius. It robbed her of every vestige of responsibility, and then called her weak. It taught her that every pleasure must come as a favor from men, and when to gain it she decked herself in paint and fine feathers, as she had been taught to do, it called her vain."

      Later Catt would say:

"It takes a hundred years to change the public's mind on important questions .... We must change people's mind about woman's function in society."

      (Many predict that a woman will be elected president of the United States by 2020... 100 years.

      And head the movement she did with such flair and insight that she was recognized as the foremost politician of her day!
      Unfortunately HIStory has so clouded women's past that many women today actually believe women's suffrage was a foregone conclusion.
      Hardly! If Tennessee had lost by one vote instead of being carried by one vote, there was almost nowhere else to go with the 19thAmendment.
      A good example of the attitude at the time was Secretary George, chair of the Senatorial Committee on Woman Suffrage who stated, after hearing CC speak in 1919,

"There isn't a man in Christendom that can answer that woman's arguments, but I'd rather see my wife in a coffin than going to vote."

One wonders what MRS. George's opinion of his death wish was...
      The depth of the opposition is shown by the fact not a single southern state adopted the 19th Amendment. Maryland, for example, did not ratify the amendment until 1941 - and then didn't forward it to Washington until 1958!

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B. 08-22-1861, Mary Elizabeth Wood established a traveling library in China that distributed both English and Chinese books, established a library school in Boone College that graduated more than 500 librarians before it became part of National Wu-han University.

B. 08-22-1868, Maud Powell, one of the great violinists of her day. Organized the Maud Powell String Quartet which gained world fame.

B. 08-22-1884, Ruth Murray Underhill, anthropologist, authority on Southwest Amerinds.

B. 08-22-1885, Helen Maud Cam, the first women to hold full professorship at Harvard University, expert in medieval history.

B. 08-22-1893, Dorothy Parker, humorist, short story writer, poet, member of the Algonquin Round Table group, brilliantly witty and somewhat cynical.

B. 08-22-1932, Philippa Duke Schuyler, black-American pianist and writer started composing music at age three and at 12 her award- winning symphonic work was played by the Detroit Symphony. She has appeared as guest soloist, performing her own works with major symphony orchestras in the U.S.

Event 08-22-1986, Janice Hart presented a Roman Catholic bishop with a piece of raw liver to symbolized the blood shed due to his support of the Internal Monetary Fund and she was found guilty of disorderly conduct and fined $500.

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      "You really CAN change the world if you care enough."
            -- Marion Wright Edelman

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