Skip to main content

tv   American Artifacts Votes for Women Exhibit Part 2  CSPAN  August 19, 2020 3:16pm-3:51pm EDT

3:16 pm
publish things, it is not a freedom for what we now refer to institutionally as the press. >> lectures in american history on c-span3 every saturday at 8:00 p.m. eastern. lectures in history is also available as a podcast. find it where you listen to podcasts. >> weeknights this month we're featuring american history tv programs as a preview of what's available every weekend on c-span3, tonight a look at women in politics. on the night that democratic vice presidential candidate kamala harris addresses the democratic national convention we show two past convention speeches from women vice presidential nominees. in 1984 democrat geraldine ferraro who ran with walter mondale and in 2008 republican sarah palin who ran with john mccain. enjoy american history tv this week and every weekend on
3:17 pm
c-span3. next, a visit to the smithsonian's national portrait gallery. in the second of a two-part program, historian kate clarke lemay gives american history tv a guided tour of an exhibit marking the centennial of the 19th amendment using political cartoons and images of suffragists picketing the white house, ms. lemay explores the national women's party tactics under the leadership of alice paul. >> hi, i'm kate lemay, and i'm the curator of votes for women, a portrait of persistence, which is an exhibition on view at the national portrait gallery at the smithsonian institution. and i'm standing in front of what we call our title treatment. it's a large blowup of headwig lik riker who was a german born
3:18 pm
actress. during the finnish or the conclusion of the 1913 parade in washington, d.c., andst that just one event of the long suffrage movement that this exhibition highlights, and we have 124 objects that goes into the long history beginning in the 1832 and bringing it right up to 1920, but then also querying the 19th amendment and what it didn't do, which was to enfranchise all women including women of color, so i then took the exhibition right up to the voting rights act of 1965, and so if you'll come with me, we're going to go and explore the 1913 parade more in depth. so we are standing in front of photo postcards of the 1913 parade which was organized by alice paul, and this was a completely different tactic than what had been done before by
3:19 pm
other suffragists. what alice paul was trying to do was to create headlines, and so she -- after spending some time in britain, she basically got radicalized by the british suffragists and learned how to create attention grabbing kind of spectacles and events, and so when she came back to the united states in 1911 and '12, she then organized the -- with the congressional union this parade. and 8,000 suffragists marched down from the capital, here is the beginning, down pennsylvania avenue, and then they stopped at the treasury building, which is basically the end of pennsylvania avenue, and at the treasury building, they had this pageant, lady liberty and her attendance, and in between the suffragists had to make their way through 500,000 spectators,
3:20 pm
and that's a huge number. one of the problems of this parade is that it did not have police protection because the chief of police in washington, d.c., was not a friend to the suffragists, and so he denied them police protection even though alice paul had applied for a permit. instead, the secretary of war, who was part of the presidential cabinet, henry l. stimson put the national -- what we would think of as the national guard on standby in nearby fort myers in virginia, and so when the crowd got really unruly and started basically man handling and being very aggressive towards the suffragists, that's when they literally called in the cavalry from virginia and had that group serve as the protectors of the suffragists. so it was quite dramatic in that sense because the suffragists were not expecting these huge,
3:21 pm
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, well, where is everybody? and he was told that all of the spectators had come out the day before to see the suffragists. and on my left, on your right, is the official program for women's suffrage, and you can see this is one of four existing programs that remain from the parade, and you can see how there's the joan of ark figure, and she's in these purple robes, which is the color of royalty, and she's, you know, walking down in front of the capital presumably pennsylvania avenue with her trumpet from which a banner that says votes for women
3:22 pm
hangs. so she's heralding in these new calls for freedom. i mentioned alice paul who had trained or been radicalized by the british suffragette movement, and she brought back those compelling tactics to the united states, and she's really the sort of next generation of suffragists. she's broken off from the national american women's suffrage association which was led by ann howard shaw, and she's employing these more attention grabbing tactics like the parade as well as creating visual culture like this poster that i'm standing next to, and in this case it was edward jacobson who made this great poster. he was employed by the container corporation of america which was a major company in the mid-century, but he was married to a suffragist. i think that was the connection that the husbands of these women were out there advocating and being active for the cause of
3:23 pm
having a political voice. they were doing their best to try to support women, and you can see he's incorporated the double headed ax and a winged hat, which is worn by this ancient god of hermes. the double headed ax was significant of -- or symbolizing the mother goddess. so there's all these kind different ways that suffragists were trying to communicate these ideas of equality by reaching back to ancient civilizations and saying how women have had these rights for all this time, why not women in american society as well. so nina allender was an illustrator and an artist who worked and made over 200 illustrations like this one called his district from 1916.
3:24 pm
she worked to help the suffrage cause by creating depictions of women at work advocating for the cause, and they were then published in the suffragist, which was a magazine newspaper that the national women's party produced for years and years, and so here we see this young woman who's very much educating herself by reading a book called campaign textbook, and she's beautifully dressed. she has a nice sort of embroidered shirt on with her hair is up with a quaff and it's well done. and she's wearing nice shoes, and she's sitting in front of her desk that's crowded with books, so the books are a list of voters, and it's also specific to the map of his district. and so all of this is to
3:25 pm
exemplify how the suffragists were lobbying, and they were the first group to really understand what lobbying was and entailed and what it meant and how that would gain them basically political power through convincing their representatives and the legislators of whatever his district was. this could apply to any state, and so this is part of that state by state kind of effort that the suffragists were doing. but under the lead of alice paul, they were really interested in the federal amendment, so they were not asking the state by state representatives to change their -- but instead, you know, to support -- would you support an amendment if it were to be passed? would you pass it in the house? would you pass it in the senate? and then would you convince your fellow legislators in the state to ratify it when it goes out for two-thirds of the
3:26 pm
ratification that's necessary. so nina allender 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 philadelphia academy of fine arts. she was a great artist in and of her own right. so we were really excited to get some of these objects on the wall in the exhibition to make sure that we understood -- that we understand today how the suffrage movement was being taught in its own rights during the era of the 19 teens. in 1917, alice paul decided to do something even more drastic than marching down pennsylvania avenue, and that was to picket the white house, and this is one of the first groups of picketers that were non-violent that stood outside of the white house and basically declared their
3:27 pm
protests of the president in personal terms. they would carry banners that said, mr. president, what will you do for women's suffrage? the president of course being woodrow wilson who had been elected in 1913 and who would carry out two terms as president, and he did not endorse the suffrage cause until 1919. so we have about -- at this point we're in 1915, and then in 1917 they start to picket the white house, and so there's two long years of picketing. every day these women would stand outside of the white house and hold their silent sentinel as they referred to by the press, and so they would leave their headquarters, which is across the lafayette square, which is situated right in front of the white house and so on the other side of lafayette square was the headquarters of the national women's party, and they would leave their headquarters with their banners in hand, carrying the colors of purple,
3:28 pm
white, and gold, which they had adopted purple into the suffrage colors, with alice paul's new group, the national women's party around 1913, and basically that was what they did for two years and stood their ground. they also included, you can see at the top there's college women, so they wearing their banners of which colleges that they went to so they had thematic days in which college women would protest or different state delegations would protest or even working women would protest, too, and so they would take working women only had one day off a week from work and so that he was orgn a sunday. basically, they couldn't protest unless it was a sunday, and so we can talk about the working women here. where you see the title cover of
3:29 pm
the maryland suffrage naews 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 that are regulated by federal law. there were no laws that regulated working, so working women felt that they were being abused by -- and there was no laws that could protect them, so this woman has basically passed out at her sewing tradel and 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, and it's from the collections of the maryland historical society. so the suffragists were eventually arrested, and they were arrested for obstructing traffic, which wasn't exactly
3:30 pm
their fault. it was, in fact, all of the male spectators who had come out it jeer at them that were creating the blocks of sort of the masses of human bodies that were obstructing traffic. but they were arrested, and you can see in this picture, this portrait, these two women, the policeman is holding their banner, so they're confiscating the banners, and the women are most likely not going to pay their fine, and then they would be sentenced to jail in the d.c. jail or the lorton work house. and what i find interesting is that they're very well-dressed. so the women that were picketing were from an elite, wealthy background. the majority of them. there were -- as i mentioned before, there were working women that would help picket on sundays, and working women were very much a part of the suffrage cause later on. but there were no
3:31 pm
african-americans that were part of this movement or this effort at this point because, a, alice paul did not include them, but b, i also wonder if they -- because they're a vulnerable population, to be arrested meant that they were putting themselves at a heyer risk even than the privileged white women were at. so there's kind of a balance, i think, that they were stranging at this point in time. and the top photo, you can see there's lucy branner who was college educated, pursuing her ph.d. at columbia university, and shae's protesting that alic paul who at this point had been in prison, this is late 1917, that the government give paul and the other suffrage prisoners the privileges of the american political prisoner.
3:32 pm
so the american government did not treat the suffragists as political prisoners. they treated the suffragists as criminals. this meant that there was poor food. there was no reading. there were no privileges given to the suffragists when they are imprisoned, and so the suffragists immediately picked up on that, is thand they creat banners that spoke to that to point out that the russian government gave maikov, who was a political activist, those privileges so why wouldn't the american government do the same for other political activists in the united states is the question. and so if we move this way, you can see another beautiful drawing by nina allender, and she's likening the suffrage effort where the women are getting grabbed and assaulted even by angry men.
3:33 pm
she's likening that moment to training for the draft. and so in april of 1917, the united states entered world war i, and this is a major, major moment for suffrage because then the suffragists were able to say that, you know, they were doing all this effort on the home front or, you know, they were serving as nurses and doctors over with the red cross and with their own suffrage support units, units supported by the suffragists, and getting involved in the war directly, so why couldn't they have a political voice if they were basically giving up their lives for the united states. so nina allender's drawing really gets to that where these suffragists are carrying banners that says democracy begins at home, and other banners. mr. president, what will you do for women's suffrage, and mane whale these angry men attacking these white women that are carrying the banners. this is a piece of cotton that
3:34 pm
they -- the in prison suffragists who were arrested for obstructing traffic for picketing the white house, they then during their imprisonment decided to create their own embroidered signatures, and it's on a piece of burlap, and it was just a kind of a record, witness testimony to the fact that they were there and that this happened to them. and finally on this wall you have two photographs. one is of lucy burns in jail. she was also with alice paul, one of the leaders of this militant suffrage moment in the history of the suffrage movement, and here you see the arrest of the suffragists, and so they are being put into these police wagons and being carted off to basically get sentenced to jail. so from 1917 through the end of
3:35 pm
1919, the suffragists led by alice paul continued to picket outside of the white house, and i was really interested to see images of these suffragists almost up close and personal, almost environmental because i wanted to emphasize that these were individuals with their own lives, you know, spending their time which we all know is precious on this important cause, and so the video behind me is playing through some images of them picketing, and they kept up the pressure, and so by create the head lains ali creating the spectacle, i think that the suffragists finally achieved the kind of momentum that they were really searching for throughout the entire movement because the pressure that they placed on president woodrow wilson was so much that
3:36 pm
he finally endorsed the cause, and when he did on may 21st of 1919, 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 get two-thirds of them to sign off on ratifying this amendment, which would then become law. and so this part of the exhibition really kind of covers the militant suffragists, explains why they were doing what they were doing, and then in the last room, we're going to look at the 19th amendment, see what it actually says, and see how women's political voices changed afternoon 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.
3:37 pm
when women finally not the right to vote, then they had a political voice, and then they were voters. so different parties recruited them in different ways, and you've got calvin coolidge running for vice president along with warren g. harding who ran for president for the republican party ticket in november of 1920. and this is a broadside from october of 1920 that's exclaiming two women for your own good vote the republican party, vote republican ticket, and so they were producing all this kind of recruitment basically, and this is published in "vogue" and also material culture in the form of the yellow ribbon, and it says under the 19th amendment i cast my first vote, november 2nd, 1920. so clearly it was engaging the new female voter and so it was
3:38 pm
for harding and coolidge and the straight republican ticket. and then on the piece of paper on which the ribbon was sold, it says souvenir of this greatest event of my life. so they really dramatized the act of voting, but honestly, for some women this really was the greatest event of their life. it meant that they had achieved the first step towards equality, and gaining a more democratic experience as a citizen of the united states through the voting rights that they had achieved. in the concluding gallery of this exhibition, i wanted to make sure to point out the text of the 19th amendment and what it says and what it doesn't say. so it reads the right of citizens of the united states to vote shall not be denied or
3:39 pm
abridged by the united states or by any state on account of sex. so letting that sink in, when you think about the wording of the 19th amendment as it applies to fwifg tgiving the right to v women. nowhere does it say it guarantees the right to vote, and that is a big difference in its achieving the right to vote for everybody, the sort of what we think the 19th amendment did and the reality of what it did. so in this moment states still can find ways through which to disenfranchise voters, and up to this moment, up to our contemporary moment in 2019, there are states and laws out there that are seeking to disenfranchise voters so we're
3:40 pm
still contending basically with the wording of this 19th amendment because it's not as specific as we would like it to be, and it wouldn't be until the voting rights act of 1965 that things became very crystal clear and that people had the right to vote and were guaranteed the right to vote and not to be discriminated against based upon their race. i'm standing in a front of a portrait of -- was forced to attend the carlisle boarding schools which created assimilation of native americans with white society by not allowing them to speak their native languages, by placing them, putting them into western dress and so forth, and so as a result she became bilingual, if you will. so she understood the culture of her native tribe, which is --
3:41 pm
she was a sioux indian, and also she was able to bridge the gap and talk with white leaders and as a result she was able to with other native americans she founded in 1907 the society of the american indian. and this was an activist society that really promoted equal rights for native americans. it was a long and lonely road for native americans. they weren't even considered citizens of the united states until 1924, so this is four years after the 19th amendment ostensibly granted citizens the right to vote. so that did not apply to native americans, and ever since native americans continue to have to fight for their rights including most recently in north dakota
3:42 pm
when voter enfranchisement laws actually made it so that you cannot vote unless you have a physical address. and so a lot of native americans living on reservations have p.o. mailboxes as their address, so they are not allowed to vote under these current laws. so as we continue, i just wanted to point out also the latinx citizens of the united states who include citizens of puerto rico and said we're looking at portrait of felicia rincon. she had been elected the as the first female governor of san juan, and in 1932 she was a suffragist, and she was actually
3:43 pm
advocating for the right to vote among literate white women residing in puerto rico, so she was trying to advocate for suffrage, but it was like the stepped sort of approach, and it wasn't until 1935 that women across peert rauerto rico, all were given the right to vote. and then later on like i mentioned she was elected as the mayor of san juan in 1946, i believe, which she held through many terms through 1968. so she's a really beloved figure. she's not the only suffragist from puerto rico. louisa is probably the most renowned suffragist who wanted to use universal suffrage. we don't have a portrait of her. we couldn't get one in tame for this exhibition, so this is a
3:44 pm
portrait from our own collection that we were able to use to help represent latinx populations in the united states, and finally i'm just showing you a portrait of suzette tibbles who like z calisaw was very active for native american rights, and she was the expert witness when there was a civil rights case in 1879 against the ponca, and so she was able to help the native americans choose where to live, so they had been removed left and right, left and right all the ov-- all over the place, so the ponca was attempting to rush to their homeland, and in this case she was actually able to get help, make into law the rights of native americans to
3:45 pm
choose where they were able to live. so this is another example of an activist who was not single issue focused, only on suffrage, but who was working in all these other ways to help improve women's lives and rights of women within the native communities who, you know, just didn't have that one issue that they were working towards but instead were working towards lots and lots of different things that were coinciding with suffrage alongside suffrage. right now we're looking at a portrait of fanny lou hamer, who was a great activist and especially in the 1964 democratic convention, she gave a speech that galvanized the american public because it was televised, and she said i'm sick and tired of being sick and tired. and that was alluding to her long struggle to try to have
3:46 pm
rights as an african-american, citizenship rights in the united states, and so earlier she had attempted to vote in the early '50s, and she had actually been denied because she was illitera illiterate. as a young woman she had to give up going to school in order to help her family, so she worked as a young woman ask never learn -- and never learned how to read. this is one example of an activist whose words were spoken from the heart, and she really had this unmeasurable effect in influencing the american public at large because her speech was tell vevised in 1964. and so the voting rights act was signed in 1965 in part because of that convention in which fanny lou hamer played a major role, and it was signed by president lyndon b. johnson, and
3:47 pm
i'm also standing next to -- this is a later portrait of patsy mink. she also had been working on the voting rights act. as a woman of color, she's alsin american, she also had seen and witnessed the infringement of her citizenship rights, and so part of her legacy is now the voting rights act, but also title 9 after the voting rights act, she went on to help design and be an architect of the title 9 amendment, which is basically the equal opportunity in education act that a lot of us women have benefitted from. so these two figures helped to take the story up to 1965 and even point to beyond to how citizenship rights is an ongoing conversation, and how these activists, particularly these women really helped change and influence american law.
3:48 pm
so i'm so excited to have told you a little bit about this exhibiti exhibition. it included six galleries and this long hallway, and it was really covering the time from 8 1832 right up to 1920 but also lacking at pointing to the events that happened after the passage of the 19th amendment, so right up to the 1965 voting rights act. and through the portraits of these women, what i'm really hoping that people come away with is that these women were empowering themselves and helped to empower us today. they were looking at the past, and they were lacking ooking at had not been done. they had set out a task for themselves to change the united states constitution. they did it, and then they have set the example for us today to take our voting rights and to ensure that they remain sacresa and that they remain
3:49 pm
unquestioned and safeguarded for eternity, for american citizens, and so in this exhibition, not only are you learning history, but i hope that you were feeling empowered yourselves. >> this was the second of a two-part tour of the national portrait gallery's votes for women exhibit marking the centennial of the 19th amendment. you can watch this and other american artifacts programs by visiting our website at c-span.org/history. >> you're watching american history tv. every weekend on c-span3 explore our nation's past, c-span3, created by america's cable television company as a public service and brought to you today by your television provider. weeknights this month, we're featuring american history tv programs as a preview of what's available every weekend on c-span3. tonight a look at women in
3:50 pm
politics, on the night that democratic vice presidential candidate kamala harris addresses the democratic national convention, we show two past convention speeches from women vice presidential nominees. in 1984, democrat geraldine ferraro who ferraro and in 2008, republican sarah palin. enjoy american history tv this week and every weekend on c-span3. harriet tubman is celebrated for her work as an abolitionist, underground railroad conductor. next karen hill of the harriet tubman house talking about tubman's lesser known role as an activist in the women's suffrage movement. the woodrow wilson house in washington, d.c., hosted this conversation as part of a series commemorating the 100th anniversary of women gaining the right

28 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on