Women-Suffrage

4

The Pickler Mansion, aka the “Pink Castle” — historic home of Major John A. and Alice Pickler — has been a Faulkton, South Dakota landmark for over 130 years, well known for its pink facade and eccentric architecture, as well as the important roles the Picklers played in the women’s suffrage movement and the early days of statehood. 

What Jada Pinkett Smith Can Teach Us About Hillary Clinton’s Campaign

On April 18, actress Jada Pinkett Smith posted a note on Facebook that raised one of the biggest questions in the 2016 presidential election: Can Hillary Clinton get women of color to the polls?

In her note, Pinkett Smith wrote that Clinton’s official entry into the race made her “more confused and anxious than excited.” She referred to the Women’s Suffrage Movement, in which “black women were specifically excluded because Northern white women feared of losing support of Southern white women.” Pinkett Smith said she often has spirited conversations about women’s rights with her teenage daughter, Willow, who identifies as a feminist. Pinkett Smith calls herself a “womanist”—a term coined in the 1970s by Alice Walker to describe black women’s activism “Can Hillary, whether she becomes President or not, heal the broken political ties of the women of this nation? …. Because if she can…she would not only have my vote, but she would have my heart.”

Pinkett Smith’s is an impassioned celebrity plea that gets to one of Clinton’s biggest challenges in this election. President Obama enjoyed broad support among voters of color—particularly black voters, especially women. Clinton, however, is arguably saddled with the political baggage from her husband’s presidency and her own pioneering career as a U.S. senator, 2008 presidential candidate, and secretary of state. Bill Clinton proudly introduced welfare reform in 1996, years after highly racialized imagery of black “welfare queens” had become popular in America’s political discourse. In her book Living History, Hillary Clinton wrote: “By the time Bill and I left the White House, welfare rolls had dropped 60 percent.” But poverty didn’t drop. Instead, by 2004, the percentage of total government transfers going to the poor and near poor dropped to 32 percent from 56 percent in 1983.

There’s also deep mistrust among blacks about the Clintons after the contentious 2008 Democratic primary, in which the former president quipped that Obama’s candidacy was “the biggest fairy tale I’ve ever seen.” That’s on top of the fact that it will be hard for any candidate to recapture the excitement of black voters supporting the nation’s first black president.

Clinton, it seems, recognizes this problem and is actively working to address it. Recently, she announced the hire of Maya Harris, an attorney and sister of Kamala Harris, California’s attorney general and a U.S. Senate candidate. As a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning think tank, Maya Harris wrote a paper titled “Women of Color: A Growing Force in the American Electorate” that gets directly to the heart of Pinkett Smith’s concern. Harris argues that as the fastest growing voting bloc in America, politicians must prioritize the concerns of women of color. In an op-ed praising Harris’ appointment to the Clinton campaign, Vox’s Ezra Klein put it clearly: “The math is on her side,” he wrote. “A majority of the electorate is female. A majority of voters of color are female. If Clinton somehow polarizes the electorate perfectly around her gender—if every woman votes for her, and every man votes for her opponent—she’ll win, and easily.”

That, of course, probably won’t happen. The key challenge for Clinton will be giving those women a reason to turn out to the polls. She’s off to a decent enough start with her official campaign announcement video, which showcased a diverse set of voters, including black women. We’ll see in the months ahead if that carefully packaged rhetoric, and imagery, can turn into action.  

Read more about Hilary’s campaign at takepart.com!

“My response to the “I am not a feminist” internet phenomenon….

First of all, it’s clear you don’t know what feminism is. But I’m not going to explain it to you. You can google it. To quote an old friend, "I’m not the feminist babysitter.”

But here is what I think you should know.

You’re insulting every woman who was forcibly restrained in a jail cell with a feeding tube down her throat for your right to vote, less than 100 years ago.

You’re degrading every woman who has accessed a rape crisis center, which wouldn’t exist without the feminist movement.

You’re undermining every woman who fought to make marital rape a crime (it was legal until 1993).

You’re spitting on the legacy of every woman who fought for women to be allowed to own property (1848). For the abolition of slavery and the rise of the labor union. For the right to divorce. For women to be allowed to have access to birth control (Comstock laws). For middle and upper class women to be allowed to work outside the home (poor women have always worked outside the home). To make domestic violence a crime in the US (It is very much legal in many parts of the world). To make workplace sexual harassment a crime.

In short, you know not what you speak of. You reap the rewards of these women’s sacrifices every day of your life. When you grin with your cutsey sign about how you’re not a feminist, you ignorantly spit on the sacred struggle of the past 200 years. You bite the hand that has fed you freedom, safety, and a voice.

In short, kiss my ass, you ignorant little jerks.“

—  Libby Anne
3

September 17th 1849: Tubman escapes

On this day in 1849, Harriet Tubman escaped from slavery. Tubman was born into slavery but eventually escaped to Philadelphia, using the North Star to guide her. She soon returned to Maryland to rescue her family from slavery. She became a major figure in the Underground Railroad, helping to rescue hundreds of slaves. Tubman was a notable member of the abolitionist movement, and served as a Union spy during the Civil War. After the war she campaigned for female suffrage alongside Susan B. Anthony. Harriet Tubman died in 1913 aged 93.

The Masculine Woman
She is mannish from shoes to her hat,
Coat, collars, stiff shirt and cravat.
She’d wear pants in the street
To make her complete,
But she knows the law won’t stand for that.”

Anti-Suffragette postcard, 1905 (via the Catherine H. Palczewski Suffragette Postcard Archive)

History of Feminism
  • 1st Wave:We want all the rights.
  • Government:Sure.
  • 1st Wave:And none of the responsibility. Dying in wars to earn the right to vote is a guy thing.
  • Government:Well, uh, okay.
  • 2nd Wave:We want all the opportunities.
  • Business:Sure, no problem.
  • 2nd Wave:But don't make it challenging. Give us quotas and extra benefits and education.
  • Business:Seriously? Uh, fine then.
  • 3rd Wave:We want respect.
  • Society:Done.
  • 3rd Wave:But we don't want to be subject to criticism at all.
  • Society:You're pulling our leg now, aren't you?
  • 3rd Wave:It's about equality, you misogynist.

Since today is Women’s Equality Day, here is one of the black women who participated in the suffrage movement. Mary Eliza Mahoney (May 7, 1845 or April 16, 1845 - January 4, 1926) was the first African American professionally trained nurse in the United States. Mahoney was a pioneer who worked tirelessly to create opportunities for other black women to become nurses and to raise the status of all nurses, regardless of color. She was also an activist for women’s right to vote and is credited as one of the first women to register and vote in Boston, Massachusetts in 1920.

Photo source: Wikimedia

The Armory Show wasn’t the only big event in 1913 - it was also the year that suffragists marched on Washington to demand women’s right to vote. In light of that centennial anniversary, which is being celebrated this weekend, and the kickoff of Women’s History Month, it seemed like a good time to present you with this declaration from Nancy Spero.

Nancy Spero letter to Lucy R. Lippard, 1971 Oct. 29. Lucy R. Lippard papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

3

Edith Garrud, the Jujitsu Suffragist,

“Woman is exposed to many perils nowadays, because so many who call themselves ‘men’ are not worthy of that exalted title.”

— Edith Margeret Garrud

Born in 1872, Edith Margaret Garrud was your typical English Victorian/Edwardian Era lady as a lady was to expected to be.  Then in 1899 Edith and her husband William took personal martial arts lessons from Edward Barton-Wright. Barton was an engineer who spent five years in Japan studying martial arts.  He became famous as the inventor of Bartitsu, a popular Victorian Era martial art which combined boxing, cane fighting, and Jujitsu.  Later Garrud studied under the Japanese  Jujitsu master Sadakazu Uyenishi, who started a school in Soho.  When Uyenishi returned to Japan in 1908, Garrud took over his school, becoming the first female martial arts instructor in Western history.  In the early 1900’s Garrud had a prosperous career teaching self defense and choreographing fight scenes for plays and for Britain’s emerging film industry.  However, with the rise of the suffrage movement Garrud would become a legend in women’s history.

The late 19th and early 20th century saw the worldwide rise of the suffrage movement, a movement for women’s rights, specifically the right to vote.  However being a suffragette was not easy.  Often protests and demonstrations were mobbed by violent, angry men who would beat and even club the demonstrating women.  Often the worst violence was committed by the police who were more interested in beating women into submission rather than peacefully enforcing the law.  Many women were badly beaten, or even killed due to the violence.

A passionate suffragist, Garrud decided the women’s movement needed her help.  She began holding special classes for suffragists to teach them methods of self defense and street combat.  She also trained an elite group of 30 women called “The Bodyguard” who were tasked with protecting suffragist leaders in Britain during demonstrations.  A hardcore group of badass ladies, the Jujitsu suffragettes were trained in hand to hand combat, armed with Indian clubs (bowling pins), and wore cardboard armor under their clothing as protection against clubs and truncheons.  

However, Garrud not only specialized in the theory of martial arts, but direct application as she took to the streets with her fellow suffragettes.  Between 1908 and 1914 she was involved in a number of “incidents” in which she was attacked by cops or unruly thugs.  In the battle that ensued she would throw around, joint lock, choke out, and all around beat the crap out of anyone who dared lay a hand on her.  

The Bodyguard was disbanded in 1914, as most suffragists suspended operations to support the war effort. During the war Garrud encouraged women to take jobs in factories formerly held by men (who were off to war) in order to support the country. In 1918 women’s suffrage became the law of Britain with the passing of the Representation of the People Act.  The 19th Amendment also granted women suffrage in the US in 1920.  

Edith Garrud continued her career as a martial arts instructor and physical fitness trainer.  In 1925 Garrud retired from public life and made a very comfortable living speculating in real estate with her husband.  On her 94th birthday she gave one last interview to Woman Magazine, demonstrating some of her joint locking techniques to journalst Godfrey Winn.

Edith Garrud passed away in 1971 at the age of 99.

Every month is Black History Month at Vintage Black Glamour, so I’m just going to keep doing business as usual here. This is educator, writer, activist Mary Church Terrell. Born in Memphis, Tennessee to wealthy parents who were former slaves (her father, Robert Reed Church, was the South’s first black millionaire), Ms. Church Terrell earned bachelor’s (1884) and master’s (1888) degrees from Oberlin College. She also studied in Europe for several years and was fluent in German, Spanish and French. Her language fluency came in handy in 1904 when she was invited to speak at the International Congress of Women in Berlin, Germany. The only black woman in attendance, she delivered her speech in German, French and English. Ms. Church Terrell was a founder and the first president of the National Association of Colored Women (Charlotte Hawkins Brown was a vice president). Adapting the motto “Lifting As We Climb,” the organization was formed, in part, in response to an attack on the character and respectability of African American women by an influential journalist who referred to them as “thieves and prostitutes”. Ms. Church Terrell died in 1954, at the age of 90, not long after leading the fight to desegregate restaurants in Washington, D.C.

See this anti-suffrage cartoon? People were accusing feminists of hating men literally a hundred years ago.

If you know someone who says that feminism used to be a good thing but now it’s being taken over by extremist man-haters, please show them this.

Their criticism of “feminism today” is just a rehash of the same age-old feminist bogeyman from their great great grandfathers’ tall tales.