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tv   American Artifacts Votes for Women Exhibit Part 2  CSPAN  August 18, 2020 9:37pm-10:11pm EDT

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>> next, a visit to the smithsonian's national portrait gallery. it is the second of a two-part program. a historian gave american history tv a guided tour about the exhibit marking the centennial of the 19th amendment, using political cartoons and images of suffragists picketing the white house, she explores the party tactics.
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>> hi, im kate and i'm the curator of votes for women. i'm standing in front of what we call our title treatment. it is a large blowup of a german born actress. the allegorical figure that represents the united states during the conclusion of the 1913 parade in washington, d.c.. that's just one event of the long suffrage movement this exhibition highlights. we have 124 objects of this long history bringing it right up to 1920. but also the 19th amendment.
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and what it didn't do to enfranchise all women including women with color. i then took the exhibition up to the voting right acts of 1965. if you come with me we're going to explore the 1913 parade more in-depth. we are standing in front of the photo postcards of the 1913 parade. it was organized by alice paul. this was a completely different tactic than what had been done before with other suffragists. i was paul was trying to create's headlines, after spending time in britain she was radicalized by the british suffragists. she learned how to create attention grabbing spectacles and events. when she came back to the
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united states in 1911 and 12, she then organized with the congressional union, this parade. 8000 suffragists marched down from the capitol here, from the beginning, down pennsylvania avenue. and then they stopped at the treasury building which is basically the end of pennsylvania avenue. the treasury building they have these pageants. in between the suffragists had to make their way through 500 thousand spectators. that is a huge number. one of the problems of this parade is it did not have police protection because the chief was not a friend of suffragists. instead the secretary of war who is part of the presidential
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cabinet put what we would think of as the national guard on standby in nearby fort myers virginia. and so, when the crowd got really unruly and started manhandling and being aggressive toward the suffragists, that's when they called in the cavalry from virginia and had that group sort of as the protectors of the suffragists. it was quite dramatic in that sets because suffragists were not expecting such huge crowds. but they did upstage president wilson because the next day was his inaugural speech for his first term as president. and almost nobody showed up to his speech and he asked, where is everybody. he was told that all the spectators had come out the day before the see the suffragists.
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on my left, you're right, it is the official program for women's suffrage. you can see this is one of four existing programs that remain from the parade. you can see how you have the joan of art figure, and she's wearing the purple robes which is the color of royalty. she is walking down in front of the capital, presumably pennsylvania avenue you, with her trumpet from which a banner says, votes for women hangs. she is heralding in this new cause for freedom. i mentioned alice, who had been radicalized by the british suffragists movement, she had brought those tactics back to the united states. she is this next generation of suffragists. she has broken off from the national american women
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suffragists association. she's employing more of these attention grabbing tactics, as well as creating a visual culture. he was actually employed by the container corporation of america, but he was married to a suffragist. that was a connection that the husbands of these women out there advocating being active for the cause of having a political voice, they were doing their best to support women. he incorporated the double-headed ax and a winged hat, and it is illustrating the
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devine messenger of equality. the double-headed act's symbolizing the mother goddess. it's different way suffragist try to communicate equality, by reaching back to ancient civilizations. why not women in america society as well? nina was an illustrator and an artist who made over 200 illustrations like this one. he was called his district from 1916. she worked to help the suffrage caused by creating depictions of women at work advocating for the cause. they were then published in the suffer just, a magazine newspaper that the national woman's party produced for years and years. here we see this young woman who is very much educating
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herself by reading a book called campaign textbooks. she is beautifully dressed, she has a nice embroidered shirt on, her hair is up with a cloth, it is well done, and she is wearing nay shoes. she is sitting in front of her desk which is crowded with books. books are a list of voters, and it is all specific to the map of his district. all of this is to exemplify how the suffragists are lobbying. they were the first group to really understand what lobbying was en entailed and what it meant and how that would gain the basically political power through convincing their representatives and legislators of whatever his district was. this could apply to any state. this is part of that state by
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state effort that the suffragists were doing. under the league of alice paul, they were really interested in the federal, they were not asking just state by state representatives to change their laws but to support an amendment if it were to be passed, we can pass it in the house, in the senate and then we can convince your fellow legislators to ratify it one goes out for two thirds of the ratification of necessary. nina is a great figure in the suffrage movement because she helped to popularize it. she helped people understand it. she herself was educated at the school of art in the philadelphia academy of fine art. she's a great artist in her own rights. we are excited to get some of these objects on the wall in the exhibition, to make sure
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that we understand today how the suffrage movement was being taught in the 19 teens. in 1917, alice try to do something even more drastic then marching down pennsylvania avenue, and that was to picket the white house. this was one of the first groups of picketers that were nonviolent. and basically declared there are protests in personal terms, they would carry banner saying, what would you do for women's suffrage, the president, woodrow wilson, had carried out two terms and he did not endorse the suffrage until 1919. at this point we are 1915.
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in 1917 they are picketing the white house. there is too long years of picketing every day. every day that women would stand outside of the white house and hold their silent sentinel as they were referred to by the press. they would leave the headquarters which is across lafayette square, situated right in front of the white house, on the other side of lafayette square was the national woman's party and then they would leave their headquarters with their banners carrying the colors of purple, white and gold. they had adopted purple into suffrage colors with alice paul's new group, the national woman's party around 1913. that is what they did for two years. and stood their ground. you can see there is college women, wearing the banners of
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which college they went to. in which college women would protest or different state delegations would protest or even working women would protest. working women only had one day off a week from work. that was on a sunday. they couldn't protest unless it was a sunday. we can talk about the working women here where you see the title cover of the maryland suffrage news depicts a woman who was white, who was a seamstress, who has been working for more than eight hours today, which are normal working hours but regulated by federal law. working women felt they were being abused and there was no law that protect them.
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this woman has basically passed out at or sewing table. the illustration was made by mary taylor, and it was done for one of the many suffrage chapters across the united states. the maryland suffrage chapter. it is from the collections of the maryland historical society. the suffragists were eventually rested, they were arrested for obstructing traffic. which wasn't exactly their fault. in fact, the male spectators that had come up to jeer at them, that was creating the blocks and the masses of human bodies that were obstructing traffic. but they were arrested. you can see in this portrait of these two women, the policeman is holding their banners. they're confiscating the banners. and the women are most likely
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not going to pay the fine and then they would be sentenced to jail, the d.c. jail or the workhouse. win and what i find interesting is that they are very well dressed. the women that were picketing were from and elite, wealthy background. the majority of them. there were working women that would help take it on some days and working women were very much part of the suffrage cause later on. there were no african americans that were part of this movement, this effort at this point. i'm alice paul did not include them and also, i wonder because there are vulnerable population, to be arrested meant that they were putting themselves at a higher risk even then the rich white women were at. there is a balance that they
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are striking at this point in time. in the top photo you can see lucy brenner, she is a college educated woman pursuing her ph.d. at climate university, she is protesting that else paul, who had been in prison in late 1917. she was protesting that the government give paul and the over southern edge suffrage prisoners, the privileges of the american prisoner. the american government did not treat the suffragists as political prisoners, they treated them as criminals. this meant that there was poor food, no reading, no privileges given to the suffragists when they were in prison. and so the suffragists immediately picked up on that and created banners that spoke to that, to point out that the
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russian government gave a political activist those privileges. so why wouldn't the america government to do the same for other political activists in the united states. if we move this way you can see another beautiful drawing by mina and she is likening the suffrage effort where that women are getting grabbed and assaulted by angry men. she is likening that moment to training for the draft. in april of 1917, the u.s. entered world war i. this is a major moment for suffrage. the suffragists were able to say that they were doing all this effort on the home fronts, or they were serving as nurses, doctors with the red cross, with their own suffrage support
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units. unit supported by the suffragists. and getting involved in the war directly. why couldn't they have a political voice if they were basically giving up their lives for the united states? so this drying really gets to that where the suffragists are carrying banners that say democracy begins at home. and other banners like, what would you do mister president for women's suffrage. and meanwhile all these angry men are attacking these white women that are carrying these banners. this is a piece of cotton that they imprisoned when suffragists who were arrested, during their imprisonment they decided to create their own embroidered signature. it is on a piece of burlap. it is kind of a record or witness or testimony to the fact that they were there and that this happened to them.
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finally on this wall, you have to photographs from one is of him the jail she was also with alice paul and one of the leaders of this militant suffrage movement. here you see the arrest of the suffragists, they are being put into these police wagons and being carted off to basically get sentenced to jail. from 1917 through the end of 1919, the suffered just led by alice paul continue to picket outside of the white house. that was really interested to see images of the suffragists, almost up close and personal debt. i wanted to emphasize that these were individuals with their own lives, spending their
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time, which we all know is precious, on this important cause. the video behind me is playing through some images of them picnic and they kept up the pressure. by creating the headlines, creating the spectacles, i think this suffered just finally achieved the kind of momentum that they were really searching for throughout the entire movement. because the pressure that they placed on woodrow wilson was so much that he finally endorsed the cause. and when he did's on may 21st of 1919, at the amendment that was proposed actually passed the house of representatives and then it passed in the senate on june 4th of 1919. at which point, the amendment was sent out to the states to
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get two thirds from to sign off on ratifying this amendment which would then become law. this part of the exhibition really kind of covers the militant suffragists, it explains why they are doing what they were doing. and the last room we are going to look at the 19th amendment and see what it says and see how women's political voices changed after, being granted the right to vote. but also to look at which women didn't have the right to vote and what they did about that. when women finally got the right to vote they then had a political voice and then they were voters. different parties recruited them in different ways they got calvin coolidge running for vice president. warren g. harding ran for president. for the republican party tickets in november of 1920. exclaiming to women for your
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own good, vote republican ticket. they are producing all this kind of recruitment basically published vogue. also material culture. under the 19th amendment i cast my first vote. clearly it was engaging as the new female voter. and then on the piece of paper where the ribbon was sold, it says, souvenir of this greatest event of my life. they really dramatized the act of voting. for some women this was the greatest event of their life. it meant they achieved the
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first step toward equality. and gaining a more democratic experience as a citizen of the united states through the voting rights they have achieved. in the concluding gallery of this exhibition, i wanted to point out the text of the 19th amendment and what it says and doesn't say. it reads, the right of citizens of the united states to vote shall not be denied by the united states or by any state on account of sex. when you think about the wording of the 19th amendment, nowhere does it say, "guaranteed the right to vote." that makes a big difference in achieving the right to vote for everybody.
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what we think the 19th amendment did and the reality of what it did. in this moment states can still find ways through which to disenfranchise voters. up to our contemporary moment in 2019 there are states and laws out there seeking disenfranchised voters. they are still contending with the wording of this 19th amendment because it is not as specific as we would like it to be. it wouldn't be until the voting rights act of 1965 that things became crystal clear. and that people had the right to vote and guaranteed the right to vote and not be discriminated against based upon their race.
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i'm standing in front of a portrait, who, like other native americans, was forced to attend carlisle boarding schools, which created assimilation of native americans by not allowing them to speak their languages. putting them into western dress. as a result she became bilingual. she understood the culture of her native tribe and also she was able to bridge the gap and talk with white leaders. as a result she was able to find this society of the american indian. this was an activists society
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that really promoted equal rights for native americans. it was a long and lonely road. they weren't even considered citizens of the united states until 1924. this is four years after the 19th amendment sensibly granted citizens the right to vote. that does not apply to native americans. ever since, native americans continue to fight for their right, including in north dakota, when voter in laws actually made it so that you cannot vote unless you have a physical address. and so a lot of native american living on reservations have peel mailboxes, so they are not allowed to vote under these current laws. i wanted to point out that
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latin exodus inside the united states who include citizens of puerto rico, we are looking at a portrait meet in 1992. she was quite elderly at this time. she had been elected as the first female governor of san juan. in 1932 she was a suffragist and actually advocating for the right to vote in residing in puerto rico. she was trying to advocate for suffrage and it wasn't until 1935 that women across puerto
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rico, all women were given the right to vote. later on she was elected as the mayor of san juan in 1946. she held that for many terms, threw to 1968. she's a beloved figure. she's not the only suffragist from puerto rico. we don't have a portrait of her. we couldn't get one in time for this exhibition. this is a portrait from our own collection we were able to use to represent latin populations in the united states. finally i'm showing you a portrait of someone who is active for native american rights, and she was the expert witness when there was a civil rights case in 1879.
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she was able to help the native americans choose where to live. they had been removed left and right all over the place. they were attempting to go to their homeland. in this case she was actually able to help make into law the rights of native americans to choose. this is another example of an activist who is not single issue focused only on suffrage, but working on other ways to help women lives and rights of women in the native community.
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who didn't have -- have that one issue they were working towards, but lots of issues. we are looking at a portrait of a great activist, especially in the 1964 democratic convention. she gave a speech that galvanized the american public, because it was televised. she said, i'm sick and tired of being sick and tired. she was alluding to her long struggle to have rights as an african-american, citizen in the united states. earlier she had attempted to vote in the early 50's. she was denied because she was illiterate. as a young woman she had to give up going to school in order to help her family. she worked as a young woman and
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never learned how to read. this is one example of an activist whose words are spoken from the heart. she had this unmeasurable success in influencing the american public at large because her speech was televised. the voting rights act was signed in 1965, in part because of that convention. it was signed by president lyndon b. johnson. this is a later portrait, she also had been working on the voting rights act. she is asian american. she also seen and witnessed the infringement of her citizenship right. part of her legacy is the voting rights act but also title ix.
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she went on to help design the architect of the title ix amendment, which is basically the equal opportunity and education act. a lot of us women have benefited from. these two figures help to take the story up to 1965 and beyond. how citizenship rights are an ongoing conversation and how these activists really influenced american law. i'm so excited to have told you a little about this exhibition. it included this long hallway and was really covering the time from 1832 through 1920, also pointing to the events that happened after. right up to the 1965 voting
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rights act. through the portraits of these women, what i'm hoping people come away with is that these women were empowering themselves and help to empower us today. they were looking at the past and what had not been done. they set up a task for themselves to change the united states constitution. and they did it. they have set the example today to take are voting rights and ensure they remain sacred and remain and questioned and safeguarded fraternity for american citizens. in this exhibition, not only are you learning history but i hope you feel empowered yourselves.
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