womans suffrage

Today is International Women’s Day.

Today also marks the show of solidarity for women’s rights by way of a strike: A Day Without A Woman. Women around the world are refusing to take part in both paid and unpaid labor in the name of justice for all gender-oppressed people of all ethnicities, religions, and sexualities. In doing so, they join the ranks of women who have led protests, strikes, and movements throughout history.

Let’s celebrate a few of those women:

Dorothy Height (March 24, 1912—April 20, 2010)

Originally posted by womenthrive

Dorothy Height, former President of the National Council of Negro Women, was one of the organizers of the 1963 March on Washington. She stood near Martin Luther King Jr. during his “I Have a Dream” speech, but did not publicly speak that day. In fact, no woman publicly spoke. “Even on the morning of the march there had been appeals to include a woman speaker,” wrote Height in her memoir. “They were happy to include women in the human family, but there was no question as to who headed the household!“ In 1971, she helped found the National Women’s Political Caucus with other notable feminists like Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan, and Shirley Chisholm.

Marsha P. Johnson (August 24, 1945—July 6, 1992)

Originally posted by dannisue

Marsha P. Johnson spent her entire adult life fighting for the rights of LGBTQ people. She’s credited for being one of the first to fight back in the Stonewall Riots. She started the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries with her friend Sylvia Rivera. Together they provided food, shelter, and care to young drag queens, trans women, and homeless children in need in the Lower East Side of NYC. She fought for what was right, and knew how to live life with exuberance and humor. When asked by a judge what what the “P” stood for, she replied “Pay It No Mind.”

Alice Paul (January 11, 1885—July 9, 1977)

Originally posted by taryndraws

Alice Paul was one of the leading forces behind the Nineteenth Amendment, which affirmed and enshrined a woman’s right to vote. She rallied 8,000 people to march in the 1913 Woman Suffrage Procession in Washington—no small task in a world before the internet—with an estimated half million people watching the historic moment from the sidelines.

And some good activist blogs to follow:

  • Emily’s List (@emilys-list) slogan is “ignite change.” They aim to do so by backing pro-choice candidates for US office in key races across the country.
  • Women of Color in Solidarity (@wocinsolidarity) focuses on being a hub for the the WOC experience in the US. Original posts, incredibly informative reblogs…this place is wonderful.
Diana takes Etta to Themyscira...

Poor Etta is in awe and absolutely overwhelmed by the scores of gorgeous warrior women that think she’s absolutely adorable and all jostle to impress her with their battle scars, archery prowess, and perfect recitations of lost Sapphic poetry.

When one of the Amazons asks their new Sister Etta what great battles she has fought in, she gets a bit embarrassed and tells them how she’s gotten herself in a few rounds of fisticuffs when some suffrage rallies got a bit of pushback- which of course leads to a whole new gamut of questions about ‘what is this suffrage?’ and ‘you mean you’re letting men decide if you should be allowed to participate in your own government?’

Basically all I want is an army of Amazon Warriors to sail down the Thames, march on London, and challenge the King of England to honorable combat for the women’s vote. 

She was the first woman to...

…travel around the world in a damned Zeppelin.

Originally posted by lego-stories

Lady Hay Drummond-Hay (September 12, 1895—February 12, 1946) was a star journalist who became the first woman to circumnavigate the globe, and she did it in a damned Zeppelin. She went on to report from war zones like Abyssinia (now Ethiopia) and Manchuria (now part of China), fell into a tumultuous romance with a fellow reporter, and was eventually captured by the Japanese during WWII.

…swim the English Channel.

Originally posted by hero-generator

Gertrude Ederle (October 23, 1905 – November 30, 2003) was a competitive swimmer, Olympic champion, and at one time held five world records. If there was a world record for coolest nickname she would’ve held six, because hers was “Queen of the Waves.” When Ederle set out to become the first woman to swim the English channel, she used motorcycle goggles and sealed the edges with wax to keep the salt water out of her eyes. Due to unfavorable and violent wind conditions twelve hours into her 14 hour and 34 minute journey, her trainer shouted at her to get out of the water and into his boat. She reportedly popped her head up from the water to simply ask “what for?” 

travel around the world in less than 80 days.

Originally posted by meedean

Nellie Bly (May 5, 1864—January 27, 1922) asked her editor at the New York World if she could take a stab at turning the story Around the World in 80 Days from fiction to fact. Using railways and steamships, Bly chuggah-chuggahed and toot-tooted the nearly 25,000 mile trip in just 72 days, meeting Jules Verne and buying a monkey along the way. If her name sounds familiar but these stories don’t, it’s probably because you’ve heard about how she once faked a mental illness so she could write an exposé on psychiatric asylums. Or maybe it’s because of her famed coverage of the Woman Suffrage Parade of 1913. Or maybe it’s because you’re a big fan of farming and industrialist patents and heard she invented a novel milk can and a stacking garbage can. Nellie Bly did a lot in her short 57 years. 

Follow these Tumblrs for more Women’s History:

  • Stuff You Missed in History Class (@missedinhistory) is not exclusively about women, but hoo boy, it turns out most history classes aren’t great at teaching us about women’s history. You’ll learn a lot here. 
  • The New-York Historical Society (@nyhistory) has been pulling articles, artifacts, and documents deep from the Patricia D. Klingenstein Library this Women’s History Month. 
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“Depicting women in chains was ubiquitous in suffrage cartoons from the 1910s, in which women sought to be emancipated by gaining the right to vote.

…Wonder Woman is bound in almost every one of her adventures, usually in chains. The bondage in Wonder Woman comics raised hackles with [publisher Max] Gaines’s editorial advisory board, but [Wonder Woman co-creator William Moulton] Marston insisted that Wonder Woman had to be chained or tied so that she could free herself — and, symbolically, emancipate herself.

—From “The Secret History of Wonder Woman” by Jill Lepore

Can we please do away with the notion that bondage in 1940s Wonder Woman comics is nothing more than her creator’s sexual kink? 

Steve Trevor + Childhood

Wonder Woman is Diana’s movie and Steve Trevor has always been a foil, so I’m not mad in the slightest that there’s actually not a lot of backstory about him. But inquiring minds need to know! So here are some headcanons based on what we glean in the movie. No spoilers since it’s all conjecture.

Birth: Chris Pine is 36, so if we go with that for Steve and the movie takes place in 1918, we have a birth year of 1882. Progressive Era! He would have been 11 when Frederick Jackson Turner’s frontier thesis eulogized the idea of “Go West, young man.” He would have grown up idolizing Buffalo Bill and Annie Oakley. Dime novel adventures and big tent circuses and baseball and moving pictures!

Birthplace: His flat accent puts him somewhere in the Midwest. Since interviews say his character is inspired by Indiana Jones, let’s say he was born in Indiana. Definitely a farm boy, but close enough to Indianapolis to get an education and a thirst for the world.

Family: Steve may work alone but his buddies prove he isn’t a loner. Big families were common in his day, so it’s conceivable he grew up with a lot of relatives around. Maybe the Trevor farm is owned by his uncle, who has a few boys (*cough* reincarnated Steve *cough*).

His mother is a strong, smart former schoolteacher turned quasi-business woman (she turns the Trevor farm into a force with smart investments) who has a mutual respect for her husband but, based on Steve’s comment in the boat, it isn’t a love match. She is active in the city, belonging to the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, the American Woman Suffrage Association, and the Indianapolis Equal Suffrage Society, which had world peace as one of its core values. She hosted teas in their city home and Steve picked up a bunch of values that would later endear him to Etta Candy.

I can’t see Steve as anything but the youngest. Charming, lively, open to love, easy respect for women? Yeah, he grew up with a mess of older sisters. They spoiled him and tortured him and made sure he never questioned the fact that women are, like, people with distinct personalities and wills.

His father (William Stephen Trevor, maybe, named for the WW creator) is a career military man, possibly maxing out as a colonel. Wristwatches weren’t really a thing for men until after WWI, but military men adopted them in the 1800s. It’s conceivable his father fought for the North in the Civil War as a very young man, but he would have spent his career neck-deep in the Indian campaigns. (His people, indeed, Chief.)

The way Steve is, I can’t imagine his father as anything but honorable. I can see him sharing his grief at the horrors of war and the rights of natives to protect their own alongside his belief that a solider follows orders to the letter but does what he can to deliver them in a “just” way.

He’s a complicated figure in Steve’s life, representing discipline and a stoicness Steve can’t relate to, “soft” as the women in his life have made him. As the only son, there would be a lot of expectations on Steve, ones that he desperately wants to fulfill and rebel against in equal measure. His father isn’t around much in Steve’s childhood, but when he is home is a very different place full of rules.

I don’t want this to go too long, so more on young man Steve later!

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Another set of bookplates recently found while cataloging. Fun fact about the last one shown here:  Helen was born in Hannibal, Missouri, on July 25, 1873. She received her education in both public and private schools in Boston, MA. She married Rev. Minot Simons in Boston on December 18, 1894. The couple had one son, Langdon, and eventually settled down in Cleveland, Ohio, where Minot served as minister for a Unitarian church. Helen was an active member of the Woman Suffrage Party.

On January 29, 1866, Congressman Thaddeus Stevens, leader of the Radical Republicans in the House of Representatives, presented one of the first of several hundred petitions for universal suffrage on the floor of the House of Representatives. Signers of this petition included Elizabeth Cady Stanton; Susan B. Anthony; and members of the former Women’s Loyal National League, Ernestine Rose, Lucy Stone, and Antoinette Brown Blackwell. This exceptional combination of signatures represents some of the period’s foremost advocates for suffrage and abolition.

Petition of E. Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Others on Universal Suffrage, ca. 1865, HR39A-H1.9, Records of the U.S. House of Representatives (NAID 306684)

On This Day: May 15
  • 1525: Insurgent peasants led by pastor Thomas Muentzer defeated at the Battle of Frankenhausen, ending the German Peasant War.
  • 1850: Bloody Island Massacre takes place in California, when large number of Pomo Indians slaughtered by a regiment of US Cavalry.
  • 1869: Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Stanton form the National Woman Suffrage Association in New York.
  • 1894: New Jersey becomes first US state to outlaw employment discrimination against union members.
  • 1897: Max Spohr forms “Scientific-Humanitarian Committee” in Munich to campaign for LGBT recognition and rights.
  • 1916: Alexander Berkman published “The Only Hope of Ireland” in an issue of The Blast!
  • 1919: Winnipeg general strike. The infamous “Bloody Saturday” marked the end of the strike. This was the largest general strike in Canadian history and set the stage for future labour reforms.
  • 1935: US National Labor Relations Act passed; workers have right to organize unions and collectively bargain.
  • 1935: Utah Phillips, labour organizer and folk singer, born in Cleveland.
  • 1965: National teach-in opposing Vietnam War held in Washington with 3000 students and professors and televised to 100 campuses in US.
  • 1966: 10,000 anti-war protesters picket the White House.
  • 1967: Student protesters confront police at Texas Southern University, resulting in the death of a police officer, and over 400 arrests.
  • 1969: Bloody Thursday: Alameda County Sheriffs and National Guardsman authorized by governor Ronald Reagan move to eject unlawful protestors from People’s Park at Berkeley. They open fire with buckshot-loaded shotguns, mortally wounding student James Rector, permanently blinding carpenter Alan Blanchard, and inflicting lesser wounds on several others.
  • 1970: 30% of US colleges hold strikes after invasion of Cambodia and students killed at Kent State and Jackson State.
  • 1970: Philip Lafayette Gibbs and James Earl Green shot dead at Jackson State University by police during anti-war protests.
  • 2015: 3,000 Renault workers drop tools in Bursa, Turkey
The Seven and the Nineteenth

Anon requested: The magnificent seven react to a suffragette!Reader. 

Sam Chisolm: Sam was pleasantly surprised when the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified, but he’s genuinely surprised and disappointed that woman suffrage hasn’t come to pass. Somewhere in his mind, Sam has always believed that no one is free unless everybody is (or at very least have the right to choose), and that sentiment absolutely extends to your right to vote. He laments that it is something that his sisters and mother will never get to do, and on some level you affect him in a way he would never have expected. 

Red Harvest: Red Harvest’s feelings on the subject of your efforts as a suffragette are…conflicted. Red understands your desire for equality (or at least the chance to have a say in things). He also recognizes and respects that you have to fight for it. However, Red has difficulty reconciling your desire to be a part of the world of the politics and the legislation that have been so actively terrible to his people.  He reminds himself that you’re trying to change things for the better, though. And not just for yourself. 

Joshua Faraday: Faraday’s cynical streak carries over into his opinions on politics and voting. It’s not that he doesn’t think you should have the right to vote; he just questions why you care so much. When he sees you shredding a pamphlet that labels suffragettes a number of untoward things, he starts to get it, though. You just want to be heard. You want autonomy. You want the type of freedom that Faraday already has just because he was born a particular way. And that, he realizes is just not goddamn fair. He comes to respect the fact that you’re trying to do something about it. 

Jack Horne:   When Jack sees your efforts to aide in gaining women the right to vote, he can’t help but be reminded of his wife. She was a good and earnest woman. While Jack believes in protecting women, he’s nowhere near pigheaded enough to think that women gaining the right to vote would be a sleight against their masculine counterparts.  He doubts that having those rights would distract women for taking care of the hearth and home. It is precisely because they occupy that role in society that Jack thinks women would have insight that men lack. 

Goodnight Robicheaux: Though the South opposes woman suffrage, Goodnight doesn’t share the view. He sees no reason you and other women shouldn’t be able to vote. He knows your efforts are collaborative and he sees a reflection of The Seven in that. He listens as you speak about the fellow suffragettes you admire, and Goodnight assures you that your own efforts are of value to your cause. More than anything, he hopes there’s a resolution to your fight. 

Billy Rocks: Billy knows what it’s like to be thought of as undeserving just because of who you are. While he might not have much personal investment the American democratic system, Billy recognizes that you are fighting tooth and nail on the front of a war many just scoff at. He knows it’ll never be a fair fight (something he knows you’re well of); and he knows your stubborn persistence is a necessity. He’s not usually one to voice hopeful things, but Billy quietly cheers for you in his own way. 

Vasquez: Much of Vasquez’s conduct has flown in the face of law and order, so when he finds that your actions as a suffragette can potentially brand you as a criminal, the irony isn’t lost on him. American laws are of no great concern to him (Mexican laws aren’t either, for that matter), but Vasquez knows that you’re about something. It’s more than he can usually say for himself, and as such, he has a high regard for your struggle for your own liberty. 

Prominent 19th century suffragist and civil rights activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902) became involved in the abolitionist movement after a progressive upbringing. She helped organize the world’s first women’s rights convention in 1848, and formed the National Women’s Loyal League with Susan B. Anthony in 1863. Seven years later, they established the National Woman Suffrage Association. With her advocacy of liberal divorce laws and reproductive self-determination, Cady Stanton became an increasingly marginalized voice among women reformers late in life. However, her efforts helped bring about the eventual passage of the 19th Amendment, which gave all citizens the right to vote. 

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Pictured above is a newspaper article written by Mary Woolley for the Political Equality Series, published by the National American Woman Association. 

This excerpt is from a bound collection of pamphlets donated by Julia Ward Howe on behalf of the Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association. 

Howe was a writer and poet. She penned several novels and even wrote the lyrics to The Battle Hymn of the Republic. 

She helped to establish the New England Woman Suffrage Association in 1868 and went on to work with the American Woman Suffrage Association and the General Federation of Women’s Clubs International. 

Woman Suffrage Tracts :: Mount Holyoke Archives and Special Collections :: circa 1900-1906

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“Mother Goose as a Suffragette” (1912)

The New York State Woman Suffrage Party was a local branch of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, which formed as the result of a national convention of suffrage groups in 1890.

In addition to protesting and organizing, the Woman Suffrage Party also published literature including magazines and pamphlets to inform suffragettes on news of the movement and recruit people to the cause.

This booklet was aimed at young and old readers alike, laying out the case for suffrage in nursery rhymes that anyone could grasp.

Eight years after this was published, the 19th Amendment was ratified, securing the right to vote for women nationwide.

Click on the pictures to make them bigger and follow the link for more rhymes!