Women in the United States have been fighting for their rights since 1637. August 18, 1920, is the day the 19th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution – The Women’s Right to Vote – was ratified (passed Congress June 4, 1919). Let’s celebrate some of the sheroes.
Anne Hutchinson was the first feminist in 1637, who came to Massachusetts Bay Colony for freedom and rights with her 15 children. She began holding weekly meetings to discuss religious and social issues until Governor John Winthrop found her unsettling, accusing her of Antinomianism and banishing her to East Chester, New York. Her epitaph stated: “Courageous Exponent of Civil Liberty and Religious Toleration.”
Sojourner Truth was a freed slave who became an abolitionist and a suffragist who traveled to in 1850 to Salem, Ohio for the convention and gave her famous speech, “Ain’t I a Women.” The ever-famous lines: “Then that little man in black there, he says women can’t have as much rights
as men, ’cause Christ wasn’t a woman! Where did your Christ come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.”
Imagine Alice Paul, who did not rest on the laurels of the voting victory but went on to write the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) which still has not passed. Imagine it is 1913 and Alice Paul, Lucy Burns, Crystal Eastman, Mabel Vernon, Inez Milholland who valiantly led the Suffragist march on her magnificent white horse to meet with Woodrow Wilson’s inaugural procession…Imagine Ida B. Wells joining the march leading the Chicago Women of Color…Imagine Ruza Wenclawska (Rose Winslow) representing women of labor joining the march, (especially after the 1911 Triangle Waist Factory fire that took the lives of 150 young immigrant girls/women). In 1917, these women along with Emily Leighton (a senator’s wife against the suffragists) were sentenced to Occoquan, Virginia women’s prison for 60 days – except for Inez Milholland who passed on while on the cross-country traveling campaign for women’s voting rights. Imagine if they were with us today, watching our progress Comstock Laws overturned in 1936, Child Labor Laws were overturned in 1949, domestic violence laws, sexual assault laws, human trafficking laws, etc…Roe v Wade passed…OVERTURNED!!! Birth control threatened!!! Imagine them watching and echoing the words of Stacey Abrams: “Voting Isn’t Magic, Voting Is Medicine, And We’ve Got To Keep Taking It To Cure What Ails Society.”