tv Womens Suffrage 100th Anniversary CSPAN September 7, 2020 4:25pm-5:31pm EDT
august 18th, 1920, last state needed to ratify the 19th amendment granting women the right to vote. american history tv and c-span's washington journal were live to mark the 100th anniversary of women suffrage. clean shogan, vice chair joined us to take calls and tweets on the decades long fight to win the vote, the amendment's ratification and its legacy.
>> the movement dates from 1848 when a convention to consider the rights of women was held in new york. the committee adopting the list of women's wrongs found grievances against the government of men to be the same number that american had had against king george, it took george washington six years to rectify men's grievances by law, but it took 72 years to establish women's rights by law.
at least 1,000 legal amendments were necessary and every one was a struggle against ignorant opposition. woman suffrage is a long story of hard work and heartache crowned by victory. >> colleen shogan is vice chair of the women's suffrage centennial commission and white house historical association joining us here in washington. thank you so much for being with us. >> thank you, and good morning. >> let's talk about the significance of the events this week, august 18th, 1920, and the key role tennessee played in the 19th amendment. >> yes. in august of 1920, 35 states had ratified the 19th amendment, but the 36th state was elusive. there were 48 states in the
united states at that time, and according to the constitution, there was a required three-fourths number of states that had to ratify to make the 19th amendment part of the constitution, and really the last battle came down to tennessee. there was not another obvious state that could ratify the 19th amendment. and if women were going to have the right to vote in the 1920 election, it all came down to tennessee. >> tennessee and also one key vote. this is the headline from "the washington post," a mother's letter, a son's choice, and the incredible moment women won the right to vote. the letter that was written by the mother of harry t. burn. who was he? >> yes. harry burn was a legislator in the tennessee state house. he was actually the youngest legislator in the tennessee statehouse. he represented east tennessee. his district was not particularly supportive of the 19th amendment. and the governor had called a special session for tennessee to
consider the 19th amendment. so harry burn returned to nashville for that session. truth be told, on august 18th, 1920, the vote counters, suffragists, who were vote counters, really good vote counters, really believed they did not have the votes to pass the 19th amendment in the tennessee state house. they were shocked when harry burn, who have been voting against them for all the other procedural votes, changed his vote unexplainably at that point in time, to an aye vote, which is really what pushed it over the top. what they didn't know was that he had received a letter from his mother that morning, delivered to him on the tennessee state house floor, that asked harry to vote for women's suffrage and to be a
good boy and listen to mrs. catt, the leader of the suffrage movement there in nashville. harry burn decided to listen to his mother. he was, himself, supportive of woman's suffrage but was torn because his constituents were not. as he said later on, he decided that he would listen to his mother and vote for woman's suffrage, which put the vote over the top and gave them the win. >> who is harriet catt, what was her background and why did she play such a big role? >> she is one of the most important figures in women suffrage history. carrie catt was growing up in rural iowa, she was the daughter of farmers. and it was the 1872 presidential election, and her mother and father were both, as she thought, politically engaged. the day of the election came. her father got ready to go into town to vote, along with some of the farm workers who worked on
the farm for their father, and she didn't understand why her mother wasn't getting ready to go into town to vote. and she asked, aren't you going into town with dad to vote? and everybody laughed at her and said, don't be silly, carrie, women don't vote. and that's probably the moment in time, when she was 13 years old, that carrie chapman catt became a suffragist. she started her suffrage career in iowa, worked at the state level. eventually she was married and moved to the northeast and became involved with the national american women suffrage association. she became the protege of susan b. anthony. susan b. anthony knew at a certain period of time that she would probably not live to see women voting all across the united states. so at that point in time, susan b. anthony decided she needed to recruit women that would take her place, and carrie chapman catt was the person who susan b. anthony recruited to take her place. she played a pivotal role, several times, in the women's
suffrage movement, certainly the last several years as a strategist and in nashville, tennessee for the final fight. >> those demonstrations came to washington, d.c. we have pictures from outside the white house. what role did president woodrow wilson play in all of this? did he have a view? >> yes, he absolutely had a view. woodrow wilson, when he came to the white house in 1913, was not a supporter of women's suffrage. in fact, he tried to avoid the issue as much as possible. as time went on, he did grow and change his opinion when he realized that actually it would hurt him, it would hurt the democratic party for a long time in the future if he didn't change his opinion. but the suffragists, led by alice paul, were the first united states citizens ever to protest in front of the white house. and they started in 1917. at first, woodrow wilson was
lukewarm at their presence. he might tip his hat at them or politely nod at them when he would exit the north gate of the white house, but things really changed when the united states entered world war i. after the united states was involved in the war effort and the suffragists still remained outside the white house protesting, woodrow wilson grew very angry. and at a certain point in time he ordered from the white house that they be removed. so the d.c. police started arresting women outside of the white house. as it ended up, approximately 168 women were arrested outside the white house for the two years in which they protested and served prison time, either in the d.c. jail or in the workhouse 22 miles south of washington, d.c. >> prison for what? what was the charge? >> it was obstructing traffic. and, of course, they weren't obstructing traffic. they were standing on the sidewalk in front of the white house. it was a false charge. they were acting on the orders of the administration to remove
the women from the area outside the white house. they weren't breaking any laws. they were exercising free speech. just because they couldn't vote at the time didn't mean they weren't citizens and didn't have the right to free speech. >> and i'm curious, as we look at this movement that really began in earnest in early 1910 1912, demonstrations reaching feared pitch in 1915 in new york city, we have pictures of that as well, what was the argument against giving the women the right to vote? >> there were numerous arguments. there was opposition from many men, as you might imagine, but there was also a number of anti-suffrage women's organizations as well. really what it was was that a lot of men and women viewed women's role as being head of the family, being involved in some civic organizations but private civic organizations. they did not view women as
having a role in the public sphere. many women who were opposed to suffrage thought if women had the right to vote and moved into the public sphere into government and politics and voting, they would lose their power and authority within the private sphere and the family. those women simply didn't want to give up that status. it's hard for us to understand but that time period 100 years ago, there wasn't the perception that women could play a role in both spheres. that women could have powerful positions within government but also play a role within the family and the private sphere. that wasn't really viewed as being an alternative for the women in the anti-suffrage movement. they thought of it as either-or. >> vice president of suffrage centennial commission. our phone lines open and we're dividing them region neal on
c-span washington journal and c-span3 history tv. 242-788-2,000 in the eastern half. out west mountain or pacific 202-748-80 on1. suffragists versus suffragette. there's a difference. >> that's a great question. one of the first things you learn when you start to study the women's sumplg movement. suffragette was a british term. it came into being in the early 1900s, a british journalist for "uk mail" wrote a negative article about british women fighting for the right to vote sand came up with suffragette, adding ette at the end to make them sound small and diminutive. that is really a way in which to say the efforts are to be
minized of the individuals. what the right to vote in britain did, they espoused that term, took it on, made it their own, made it their own powerful term. alice paul, who was an american living in great britain at the time and became part of the british women's suffrage movement didn't like the term suffragette, thought it did make women seem diminutive and not as powerful as they should be. when alice paul left and returned to the united states and became a leader in the women's suffrage movement in the united states, she said it would only ever be suffragist and never suffragette. when she created her own publication for national women's party it was called "the suffragist." when we talk about american women who advocated for the right to vote, we use sumplist. when we talk about british women the correct term in suffragette.
>> tennessee becomes 36th strooth state to ratify the amendment to the constitution 100 years ago this week. what happened next? >> well, women did vote in the 1920 election. the turnout between 33 and 36%. women's turnout increased over time. by 1980, the proportion of women voting in the united states surpassed the proportion of men voting in the united states. >> 100 years ago one of the editorial cartoons with the caption "sky is the limit" as women look at the right to vote. what it means for them politically. in 2020 an african-american woman on a major party ticket. the third time there's been a woman on the ticket since 1984. your reaction. >> i think it's all in a continuum of history. that's why i like the cartoon so much. it shows women moving up the
ladder. certainly we have seen an historic nomination with vice presidential candidate kamala harris, and she stands on the shoulders of many women that came before her. not only the suffragists but many black women who advocated for the right to vote, fought for the right to vote even after 1920 up until 1965. and all the women who have served as members of congress and have ran for president as well. >> let's get to your phone calls. carol is first up from oregon. good morning. welcome to the conversation. >> caller: good morning. i'm really enjoying this conversation. i'm a daughter of the american revolution, and we talk about these things when we have our meetings. and the one subject you just happened to mention was the african women. there was was one thing i would like to point out, and that was the fact that when african women wanted to join the other women's group, they actually kind of said, well, you might hurt us a little bit. but they still went on and like
but they still went on and like you said still got that right to vote. if i could hear a little bit more about that, that would be very great. thank you very much for bringing this up. i just love all of this. this is great. thank you. >> thanks for the call. >> african-american women, unfortunately, were often shut out of leadership positions in the two major women's suffrage organizations in the united states, the national women's party run by alice paul and national american women's suffrage association run by carrie chapman catt. they could be involved. they spoke. they were members. but they were not powerful within these organizations and institutions. however, that didn't mean they stopped advocating for the right of all women to vote. in fact, they formed their own clubs, their own organizations, and were heavily involved. some african-american women even picketed and protested in front of the white house as well, and alice paul could call upon them to do so. >> let's go to patrick joining
us from louisville, kentucky. good morning. >> caller: good morning. i just warranted to reveal a story to you. back in '92 or '93, i knew a lady named lucy stevens. she was a suffragist, if i'm saying that right. i apologize for that. anyway, i found myself homeless back then. i was about 51, 52 years old, and i used to see her on the street every morning walking to a neighborhood grocery store, and she would carry a little sack of groceries. and i would say, hello, how are you this morning? and she would be so spry, and she would talk just the way you're talking on tv now. she was very alert and very intelligent. and she was a caucasian lady. and she was just a little lady, about 5'5", about 100, 105
110 pounds, and she was just a sweetheart. and i just wanted to relate that to you. she would talk about her times when she was a young woman, when she was in that movement and, oh, and i really -- i was blessed just to know her. she was a wonderful saintly person. and i just wanted to reveal that to you. >> patrick, thank you. colleen shogan, any reaction or comment? >> i think this is part of the reason why we have the centennial celebration celebrating the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment is really to recall the stories of these women. there may be a little bit of a mythology, i think, with the women's suffrage movement. if it's taught at all in american history or civics classes, it might be something like women advocated for the right to vote. they politely held their signs. they donned their parasols and
pa pantaloons, and before you know it they were granted the right to vote. and that's not the accurate history that we're trying to tell at the white house historical association. these women really had to fight hard for the right to vote. the movement lasted 72 years from 1848 to 1920. and there were a lot of bumps along the way. there were a lot of men in power who told them no. and they figured out a way -- they would go back, restrategize and figure out a way to come back at it again. i think it's a tremendous point in american history that we can all learn from. >> but why did it reach that crescendo from 1912, 1913 until the summer of 1920? >> well, there's a number of reasons. other countries were starting to grant women the right to vote. so there was a worldwide pressure that this was coming. and then also in that particular era, world war i ended up
actually helping women in the united states because women participated in the war effort as nurses and then also taking over as jobs from men who were deployed over in europe. it was very hard for woodrow wilson and for others to advocate for democracy abroad and then realize they were disenfranchising over 20 million americans at home. the hypocrisy of that rhetoric became very apparent. and in fact woodrow wilson had to admit, there's no way that we can't acknowledge that women should have the full rights as citizens given the civic participation and how they have participated as leaders in this war effort. >> and woodrow wilson had three daughters from his first wife. did they put pressure on him to support the 19th amendment? >> there's not too much evidence for that. although one of woodrow wilson's daughters was a very supportive of the suffrage movement and did appear at several women's suffrage conventions.
there's not too much of a record whether she petitioned woodrow wilson or asked her father to support the women's suffrage movement. however, one woman that was not supportive of women's suffrage was woodrow wilson's second wife edith wilson. she was an anti-suffragist. she did not think women should have the right to vote. she was not supportive of the 19th amendment, so she would have definitely not been a force in favor for woodrow wilson. >> of course, the other factor was the president at the time was in poor health having suffered a stroke. >> that's correct. he was. and at that period of time, carrie catt actually had to go to him at certain periods of time during ratification to enlist woodrow wilson's help with other democratic governors around the united states so they would call their legislatures into session so the ratification could move forward across the united states. she had to go and work through edith wilson to do that.
at that point in time, woodrow wilson had stated publicly he was in favor of the 19th amendment, so edith wilson did not stand in the way. >> let's go to connie joining us from florida. good morning. welcome to the conversation. >> caller: good morning. thank you for taking my call. i have a question about the first women to break ground as far as being elected to congress and as a u.s. governor. my understanding is jeanette rankin was the first woman elected to congress. that happened in 1916 before the 19th amendment was ratified. are you saying autumn men voted for her? also the same thing for the first woman governor, which i believe was in wyoming. your comment. >> thanks. let's talk about jeanette rankin. is a statue of her in the house of representatives. she was elected before women had the right to vote. >> yes, she was. and she only served one term in
the house at that point in time. she came back to the united states congress after she had lost a bid to become a senator. and jeanette rankin did serve an important role for women's suffrage when she was in the house. they made her the chair of the committee that would consider the 19th amendment even though she was only a freshman member of congress at the time. so she did throw her support behind the amendments so that women all across the united states would have the right to vote. >> from dover plains, new york, jan, you are next. welcome to c-span's washington journal and moderna history tv on c-span3. go ahead, jan. >> caller: i have a story to tell about my grandmother who was born in 1869. so she was 50 years old when the 19th amendment was ratified and she -- my mother was talking to her, and she was from north carolina as was my grandfather. he was quaker. she was baptist.
he was republican, and she was democrat. and my mother asked her outright on election day saying why are you going down to vote? you're only canceling each other out? and she said because i waited too long to get the right to vote, and i am going to exercise it. just a word from my grandmother. >> jan, thanks for sharing the story with us. colleen shogan? >> that's a terrific story. this is a good occasion to share those stories from mothers, from grandmothers, from great grandmothers if you're able to do that. i remember when i was looking at my grandmother's birth date, and i had just learned about the 19th amendment in school, and i realized that she was born before women had the right to vote. and even as a little girl, that kind of really befuddled me. what would it be like to be born into a society that you didn't
have the right to vote? >> arlene is next. from lexington park, maryland. good morning. >> caller: good morning. i have a question as to the native american women at that time, they're involvement with the 19th amendment. was there any? >> yes, there was. i'm not an expert in that particular history, but there was a native american involvement in the right to vote and there are many historians who have started to write more about native american women's involvement in the right to vote. historically native american women did have the right to vote within their communities so they're some of the earliest examples of women being politically active and having a say and being involved in their communities, what their
communities decide to do and how they operate. >> you talked about carrie chapman catt, but what about sue shelton and what role she played in tennessee? >> sue shelton in tennessee -- are you talking about sue white? >> sue shelton white. i apologize. >> got it. she was the national women's i. yeah. so she was the national women's party representative down in tennessee. it is interesting for that final battle alice paul of course was the head of the national women's party but alice paul did not come down to tennessee for that final battle. there was a reason for it. two reasons for it. first the national women's party was struggling a little bit for money and donations at the time. so alice paul actually stayed back in washington, d.c. and wanted to raise money and get more donations so she could support the efforts in tennessee. so she was -- felt like she could play the role as the fundraiser. the other reason was that sue white had been born in tennessee and had roots in tennessee and what alice paul correctly
concluded was it would be better to have tennessee women advocating and directly interfacing with legislators down in tennessee rather than outsiders. even carrie catt who was very involved in nashville stayed in her hotel room at the hotel hermitage. she did not interface directly with legislators who were deciding how to vote on the 19th amendment. she had her supporters from the national american women's suffrage association who were actually had tennessee ties doing that for her. >> we talked about elizabeth katy stanton and susan b. anthony both of course who were pioneers in all of this. how old were they at the time? what role did they play? >> yes, unfortunately both susan b. anthony and elizabeth kadey stanton and other earlier supporters of the women's suffrage movement were not alive when this happened. they had died earlier in the 20th century.
so the women's suffrage movement is really an example of three generations of the movement. the movement of susan b. anthony and lucretia mott, elizabeth cady stanton, sojourner truth, those women, then the next generation, carrie chapman catt and the others involved at that point and then the third generation is the lucy burns and alice paul generation, ida b. wells, mary church terrell, who are a little younger. so three generations really of activism and women to get the 19th amendment over the hump and be over the hurdle to make it part of the constitution. >> we have a photograph of lucy burns who was as you mentioned in the work house located in fairfax county in lorton, virginia and was housed there again for basically disrupting society, correct? >> that's correct. she was actually the american
suffragist, lucy burns, who spent the most time in prison than any other american suffrage. she was jailed six separate times but her sentences were quite long so she served more time in prison than anyone else. that is a great photograph of lucy burns that you have. it was likely a staged photograph. these women were very resourceful and would have someone sympathetic to their cause take their picture when they were imprisoned whether in the d.c. jail or in the workhouse in lorton, virginia, and then they would have that photograph taken to the outside and then of course published in newspapers all across the united states to draw more support and more sympathy for their cause. they were really masters of political spectacle, of imagery, and they knew that was an effective way to garner more public support all across the
united states. >> back to your phone calls in silver spring, maryland, gail, thank you for waiting. >> caller: hi. good morning. i know you spoke earlier in regards to african-american women marching alongside even though then thought that possibly they would bring harm to the demonstration. but i was wondering if you were familiar with a book by martha jones, a presidential professor at john hopkins university called vanguard birth right citizens. and she speaks about the role that african-american women played in the suffrage movement and, also, i haven't heard you speak about the author of "home spun heroes" written in 1926
and, also, our african-american women going -- are african-american women going to be represented in the celebration? thank you. >> yes, great question. you are absolutely right. martha jones' book "van guard" i can't recommend it enough. martha is the expert on black women in the suffrage movement and black women in the history of american politics in general. i heartily recommend that book and also anything else that martha writes. yes, absolutely. one of the things for the commission whenever we were first organizing and talking and planning for the centennial celebration, one of the things we wanted to do was to tell the full story of the women's suffrage movement. and that is an inclusive history, which would include the stories of african-american women, native women, chinese women, other women who were
involved in the movement who typically in maybe previous anniversaries or previous commemorations weren't fully given their due. and the truth of the matter is, you can't really understand the history of the women's suffrage movement because it is an american story, you really can't understand it without understanding the role that -- the important role that race played at various times in the movement. it is just impossible. if you're not taking the role of race seriously, and you're not including that in the analysis or the history then you're not telling the full story of the american women's suffrage movement. so absolutely that is part of our initiative, and i would say if you go to our website, women's vote 100.org we have a terrific blog series. it's called the suff buffs and you will see all kinds of information and profiles of various women who played roles in the women's suffrage movement
including the role of black women. >> this week marks the start of two weeks back-to-back political conventions. let's go back to 1920 because the republican convention held in chicago of course nominating warren g. harding and calvin coolidge, the democrats meeting in july of 1920 in san francisco. they nominated james cox and franklin d. roosevelt as vice president in 1920. my question, did this issue play out in either party convention back then? >> yes, absolutely it did. at the republican convention there was -- there are a lot of photographs and images of the national women's party, including alice paul, herself, actually going to the convention and protesting outside the convention. you might ask why were they protesting at the republican convention, because republicans historically were more supportive of women's suffrage earlier than the democratic party. well, the reason was that they were marching toward trying to find this elusive 36th state to
ratify. there were two states that were potential ratification possibilities, but they were both headed by republican governors and that was vermont and connecticut. what they did was go to the republican convention and protest outside to try to get warren harding to strong arm or force or convince those two republican governors to take up women's suffrage in the state legislature and call a special session because they thought correctly that if the special section was actually called that the state legislators would vote for the amendment. they also wanted to make sure suffrage was included in the party platform. they were successful in having suffrage included in the party platform. they were not successful in convincing warren harding to put the pressure on those two governors to have them take up suffrage -- the suffrage debate
in the state legislatures. they also went to the democratic convention as you mentioned in san francisco, and the main goal there was to make sure that the 19th amendment and support for women's suffrage was included in the platform and they were successful there. >> this is a what if question. had tennessee not ratified the 19th amendment, what would have happened next? what was the next state in line? >> well, the two possible next states in line were those northeastern states. and that is probably where it would have gone, but it would have never happened with enough time to have women vote in the 1920 election. so most likely, that wouldn't have happened until 1921. it might have been favorable, you know, you would think it would have been favorable after tennessee actually voted to become the 36th state. both of those other states did fall in line and ratify it subsequently but it never would have happened for women to have
the vote for the 1920 election. >> of course, all of this happened a hundred years ago this week, august 18th, 1920. alicia is on the phone. columbia, maryland. good morning. >> caller: good morning, steve and colleen. good morning, america. with all due respect, colleen, american indians didn't become recognized as citizens of their own country until 1924 so the women couldn't have been in the suffrage marching. and also the native women were free and they held the standard as well as the men that they could do the job. it is only when we became under the u.s. government where we --
i'm sorry -- i get these senior moments. we lost our freedom. today our own native women and girls are still being raped and killed and u.s. government cannot cover us. we've been asking for this. how about that? thank you. >> thank you. >> the caller is correct about 1924. so that is right. that is an important larger point about the 19th amendment. the 19th amendment we often used the verbage that it, you know, gave women the right to vote or enfranchised women. it really did not give women the right to vote. what it did was prevent the united states or prevent the states from creating laws or barriers that related to gender or sex that would prevent
citizens from voting, right? so gender was no longer a reason why the vote could be denied. but there were other reasons for why the vote could be denied as the caller outlines. so not all women had the right to vote in 1920. >> this is a photograph from france as the french movement was well under way. how did the u.s. compare with other countries in europe or elsewhere? >> right. so the first country to give women the right to vote is new zealand. australia follows soon after. the first european country to enfranchise women is finland. it is followed by a number of other countries -- norway, the netherlands, great britain gives women the right to vote in 1918 but only in a limited sense. it is phased in by age.
so it is really not until 1928 that all women are able to vote in great britain. germany and russia enfranchised women before the united states, canada in 1917. the united states of course in 1920. and then subsequently, france in the 1940s, italy in the 1940s. south africa. so the united states when you look at the list of all the countries and the dates in which they enfranchised women, the united states is about the middle of the pack. they weren't the leader, but they weren't -- certainly weren't the last country to enfranchise women. >> next is san clemente, california. ron, thank you for waiting. good morning. >> caller: good morning, steve. thanks so much, colleen, for what you're doing there. oddly enough i have a little big net story of my great grandmother minnie hayes wilson who happened to be a socialite from kansas city, missouri.
one of the things you might mention is what happened to people that were of upper class that were involved in this women's suffrage union thing? because what happened was my great grandma, she married an alcoholic. and as a result, she joined the women's temperance -- women's christian temperance union. that was part of the flow back from world war i where all the guys came back home and they were all drunkards and so there was a combination of suffrage -- that is what got the women really inspired to go forward with their suffrage process. it got people outraged. so one of the things that my great-great grandmother did later in her life was to write cowboy novels. the reason why that was is we were cousins to a guy named jessie wilson james. we were third cousin.
they were on a train, my great grandmother's mom and her when she was in the '70s and that was in the 1870s i'm talking about, and they were robbed by jessie james on the train. when jessie james came there he said oh, wait a minute. aren't you my cousin he said to my great grandmother's mom and she said, yes i am. he says, oh, and he gave the money back to her. so there was a really lot of things going on in society at that time. i think the impact of suffrage was a combination of ingredients that came about where women had been disenfranchised over a long period of time. even the salem witch trials were nothing more than urban renewal where they found women at risk because their husbands died and left them with a lot of money and people wanted to take that money from them. >> ron, you've got to write a book. talk about some connections.
>> caller: oh, well it is even worse than that. i have to mention that we are related to rutherford b. hayes, second and third cousins, and also to woodrow wilson, a further even reach. but as i mentioned, the incestuous part of the process is there were a lot of socialites involved in this. my great grandma came from kansas city, missouri. >> what a great story. >> that's where it all started for her. >> 6 degrees of separation, ron. thank you so much. >> caller: wait, steve, one more thing i might mention. >> sure. >> caller: in her later years she was writing cowboy novels and i'll tell you about how women get disenfranchised. she went when she first started writing cowboy novels about her life, she would send it in with her name on it. then no one would publish a woman author. so she changed her name to her son's name, robert hayes wilson
in order to get the publisher to publish these cowboy novels. >> okay. now you have to write the book, ron, okay? we'll feature it on book tv. >> thanks, steve. >> thank you so much. appreciate it. >> caller: bye-bye. >> there is a lot there. first, the first point the caller makes is about class and the interesting part about the women's suffrage movement is there were women who were working class industrial workers, teachers, who became part of the movement. then there were also as the caller said, there were wealthier women who became very involved in the movement. some of them became funders to the movement. in washington, d.c. we of course have the belmont paul house right next to the united states capitol. that is named after eva belmont, who was the major funder for the national women's party. but some of the women didn't just write checks. they also went to jail. they stood outside. they were picketers. they were protesters.
in fact, this is what draws a lot of woodrow wilson's attention when some of these women are being arrested who are perhaps more prominent in society and their husbands are friends with woodrow wilson and they come to the white house and they complain to wilson saying, what are you doing? why is my wife in jail or in prison 22 miles south of washington, d.c. in a workhouse? so that starts to get wilson's attention, because of the spouses that are coming to complain to wilson about the treatment. but there was also working class women, like i said, women that worked in factories. women who worked in education. that would travel across the united states to come for particularly for alice paul and participate in the pickets. the other question was about the and t antecedents to the women's suffrage movement and the caller
is absolutely correct with that. there are at least two movements antecedents to the women's suffrage movement. first earlier was the abolition movement. many of the early suffrages gained their organizational and political skills, how to give a speech, how to write a speech, how to write an article for a newspaper all through the abolition movement. then later on was also the temperance union. the temperance movement and the temperance union, which was the major organization. now, the two heads of the major organizations, carrie catt again and alice paul, they were sympathetic to the temperance movement but they tried to keep it separate from the women's suffrage movement because they didn't want to offend others who weren't supportive of temperance and wanted to make sure they had the widest net and widest tent possible. >> this is one of the many photographs we have been showing. this is from 1913 as women from foreign countries are marching
here in washington, d.c., pushing for women's right to vote. how often were these parades or demonstrations and based on your research what was your reaction by the general public? >> sure, that is the famous parade that took place on march 3rd, 1913. it is the first major social protest that exists in washington, d.c. the first parade of its time. the first march on the capitol that takes place. and at that parade, actually, alice paul, who is the organizer, along with lucy burns, they didn't really know how many people would show up. historians disagree about the number of people who were in the crowd but it was probably somewhere between 150,000 and 200,000 people. what happened was the crowd got rowdier and rowdier as the days went on. there were actually a lot of bars and saloons that lined the parade route down pennsylvania
avenue at the time, and the men would go in and out of the saloons and get a drink and come back to the parade. and so at the reined most of the men unfortunately -- at the end, most of the men were unfortunately intoxicated. they rushed out on to the parade route. there was a lot of physical abuse upon the women. the d.c. police, unfortunately, were not helpful to the suffragists who were marching. and the secretary of war henry stimson at the time was watching the parade. he literally had to call out the cavalry by nearby fort meyer to come in and break up the mob that existed so the women could continue down pennsylvania avenue and finish at the treasury department, which was the end point of the parade. so these took place in major cities and the reason why, you might say, well, why was alice paul so interested in having a parade especially when something like this could happen in 1913, which, you know, seemed like almost a little bit of a
disaster? the reason why was that it brought great attention to the cause. and alice paul's whole strategy was the more i can create a spectacle, the more i can be in the media, the more i can be in the news, about women's suffrage, the more people will learn about the fact that women don't have the vote all across the united states and the more people that will become sympathetic to the cause. so she was very -- she was a master at expanding the scope of the conflict. >> there is also an organization called the men's league for women's suffrage. who was behind that? what was the mission? >> yes, there were, i mean, it's also a myth to say that this was men versus women in this movement. there were many men along the way who were very supportive of women's suffrage who organized along with the women. we don't see them in a lot of the photographs because that was on purpose. alice paul wanted to have the actual suffragists, the actual
members of her parties photographed in front of the white house and showing them in various situations in which they were advocating for the right to vote. but there were certainly many men along the way who were supportive. elizabeth cady stanton, her husband extraordinarily supportive. carrie chapman catt's husband who was actually quite wealthy essentially bank rolled her participation in the movement because he was able to support her and support all of her travels related to women's suffrage. >> michael is next. watkins glen, new york. good morning. >> caller: hey, good morning. it is so fitting this topic that you guys are talking about today with women's rights and rights to vote and what not. everything that's going on in the world. and as we reflect back we look back into the abolitionist movement as you speak and how instrumental women were then. and it is just -- ties right into the next movement, to the suffrage movement, where harriet
tubman was this abolitionist that helped free slaves and now we have to look at women as being very instrumental in this whole process of getting rights to vote. it is so fitting today you guys have this on and the way things are going on with the post office and rights to vote, it is so important to exercise our right, and the women saw that back in the day. i just love history. i love to see this stuff come up. it reminds us of where we came from. so as i look back here locally, seneca falls being the birthplace of the women's suffrage movement, it is a historical feature every time i drive through the town it's a sight to see. they have a special museum up there and everything. i don't know if you've ever been there, colleen. have you? >> well, that is a good question. i was scheduled to go to seneca falls certainly this summer. we had a very big celebration
planned for seneca falls as part of their convention day celebrations every july but, unfortunately, due to the pandemic we were unable to make that trip. however, the commission has decided in lieu of what we had planned in july we have been working with a sculptor, and we are going to be adding a series of monuments at seneca falls commemorating diverse women in the movement. and those plans are under way and we hope to have the statues erected next year. >> you mentioned edith wilson who of course was the second wife of woodrow wilson after the death of his first wife opposed to women's right to vote. was there an organized effort either by her or by other women that did not want to see women have the right to vote? >> absolutely. i mean, edith wilson wasn't involved in the antisuffrage movement. she was just personally antisuffrage and made her opinions very known to woodrow
wilson and to others in the white house. but there was organized anti-suffrage, organizations or clubs just as there were women's suffrage organizations to promote the 19th amendment there were organizations that were -- that had been constructed really to stop the 19n amendment. you see this very clearly in tennessee, in nashville at this final fight in august of 1920, because all of the organizations descend upon nashville both of course the pro suffrage organizations but also the anti-suffrage organizations. then also we haven't talked about this yet, but there were corporate influences. there were special interest groups that were opposed to women's suffrage. the manufacturing industry, the railroad industry, and, of course, the liquor industry. they played a very important
role the last fight in nashville. they descended upon the hermitage hotel, set up shop, and essentially engaged in aggressive lobbying of all the tennessee state legislators. >> in case you're interested in today's "new york times" available at nytimes.com this editorial. "the milestone and the myth called the 19th amendment." louanne is next, annapolis, maryland. good morning. >> caller: good morning. i was the curator at the wid roe wilson house museum in 1995 for a celebration of the 75th anniversary. i led a team of three of our other guides and some volunteers. and i would like to mention a couple things if you'll indulge me. first, there is a gigantic, rich wealth of archives of artifacts and documents across the country for all 50 states for
researchers that are researching this or with the boone in ancestry looking up what your family might have done. among the things we borrowed were nina alender cartoons from what was then the belmont house in washington, the home of the national women's party. there are songs. there was a wonderful song that was based on a 1920 song called "oh, dear what can the matter be" and it went hoechlt dear what can the matter be, women are wanting the vote. then they used sticks from the brandywine battlefield sent by pennsylvania to recognize what liberty was. the women who would picket wilson would use his own words against him as they burnt his words in kettles and calderons on the sidewalk outside the fence at washington, at lafayette park.
and then i would also like to mention that there's also just clothing that still exists, sacks when you see the pictures of women handing out the various newspapers. and then i would just like to encourage every woman of age to vote this year because when you do study this history, women were jailed. they were given little jail door pins if they had gone to jail and we had those in the exhibit. but they were force fed. and some of those women could never eat well again for the rest of their lives. alice paul included. because of the scars and the damage from that. so it is very much a hard won battle in this country, one that i hope and i hold close to my heart and vote every year and encourage everyone to do so. but we named it again an act of right and justice because when wilson did turn the tide, that
was part of his speech to congress. i have to tell you, we got a big laugh because when we started this and started going to archives and identified where we would be from, we would have women from archives or women experts turn to us and they would almost in a whisper go, well, you do know he was the bad guy, don't you? we would just get a kick out of that because we were trying to show the record. he did turn the tide and it was his speech in congress that very much helped the effort. >> of course, some of that is on display at the wilson house. we have a photograph here in washington, d.c. where he lived after he left the presidency, correct? >> caller: yes. >> thanks for the call from annapolis, maryland. >> i agree with everything that was said. we certainly have a terrific repository and archives related to the women's suffrage movement. my former employer the library of congress probably has the most robust collection of women's suffrage manuscripts,
prints, and photographs. that is because the librarian of congress at the time was friends with all the suffragists and he convinced them to donate their materials to the library of congress. the national archives also has a very strong record, given its role in the history of voting and in american history and then the smithsonian museum also did a lovely exhibit using portraiture to document many, many women suffrages. all of those materials are online at the respective websites. even though we can't visit those museums and archives we can visit them digitally. >> and your website, women's vote 100.org which also includes a plethora of photographs, video, and historical information about what happened in august of 1920. the centennial of women earning the right to vote. john is next from kingsville, texas. good morning. >> caller: good morning. i was hoping you could speak a little bit about it.
a hundred years on it is difficult to understand the point of view of the women anti-suffragettes. could you talk about their fears or reasoning for their positions? >> thank you, john. >> yes. they simply -- women at that time who were opposed to the right to vote, there was a couple reasons. first, they simply were afraid of giving up their stature within the family and the private sphere. they viewed the men in their lives, their husbands, their fathers, their brothers, they thought that they could represent them adequately at the polls. that politics was a dirty business. that it wasn't something that women who were viewed in the notion of republican motherhood, they were viewed as pure. as sanctified. that if women entered into that public sphere of politics, they would become down and dirty just like the men.
and many of those women enjoyed that elevated status of purity that really was promoted at that time. even teddy roosevelt, who was a progressive, until 1912 the bull moose campaign he did come out for women voting, but previously he was hesitant when he was president because he said, well, yes. it would make sense for women to vote. but why would they want to enter this sphere of politics which would damage their reputation. women's role really are as mothers. mothers to their children and mothers to the entire nation. this notion of republican motherhood. and they really shouldn't be advocating for the public sphere to the right to vote. now, in the last battle in tennessee, i will say quickly that a lot of the women who were opposed to suffrage in tennessee were opposed to women voting because they did not want black women to have the right to vote. and they thought that the 19th
amendment would be in march toward the enfranchisement of more african-american women voting in tennessee and also voting elsewhere in the south because of course the 19th amendment would apply nationwide. it wouldn't simply just apply to tennessee. so there was great concern about the role of race in that last battle. >> from pounding mill, virginia, john. good morning. >> caller: good morning. i had a question. i was a little curious. after the civil war, the black men would all have the right to vote supposedly even though the democrats did their best to keep them from voting, but when the women got the right to vote, how did they separate the black women? why would they not have the right to vote the same as all women since the black men already had a right to vote? >> john, thank you. interesting point. >> right. so i mean, they were subject to
the same state laws or local laws that black men were subject to. so the common methods in which they would prevent voting on the basis of race was either literacy tests or poll taxes, which were applied throughout the south and in some places actually in the northeast at least with literacy tests. but the other method that was used particularly in the south you have to remember was that there was the rise at this point in time of the ku klux klan. and southern segregationists and white supremacists would use the extra legal method of intimidation to prevent both black women and black men from voting. >> so put this anniversary into perspective. what was the significance of women getting the right to vote in 1920 and where are we today in 2020? >> the significance of women
voting all across the united states in 1920 was really astronomical. like i said, the turnout was probably somewhere between 33% and 36%, but even that when you think about it is extraordinary of how many more millions of americans at that point in time were voting in 1920 than had voted in the previous elections. the 19th amendment did represent the largest single enfranchisement of american citizens in our nation's history. and as we look to 2020, you know, women now out vote men proportionately both in numbers in the aggregate and then also as a percentage wise. i think there is an interesting statistic as well from what we've seen in the past couple of elections actually african-american women vote in higher percentages and proportions than white men in this country.
when you think about the double disadvantage that african-american women have had, both because of their gender or sex and then also because of their race, i think that's really extraordinary as a statistic to reflect and think about. >> based on your research, when those women cast their ballots in 1920, did they face any pressure at the ballot box? >> well, the women largely voted republican in 1920, but the 1920 election was a landslide for harding. so that was really no surprise. there is a lot of writing that says that women simply voted the same way as their husbands or the same way as their fathers. unfortunately, there -- since there was no exit polling in 1920, there is no way for us to actually know whether or not that was the case. >> the story of women earning the right to vote, 100 years ago. colleen shogun the vice chair of the women's suffrage centennial
commission and also serves as senior vice president of the white house historical association. we thank you for being here on c-span's "washington journal" and on american history tv. >> thank you very much. >> this is american history tv on c-span 3 where each weekend we feature 48 hours of programs exploring our nation's past. every saturday at 8:00 p.m. eastern on american history tv on c-span 3 go inside a different college classroom and hear about topics ranging from
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patrick began her career as an animator for disney in the 1930s. she acted as a bit player in many films and then became a special effects makeup artist and designed the costume for the iconic creature from the black lagoon horror film. up next, mallory o'mayra discusses her book "the lady from the black lagoon" hollywood monsters and the lost legacy of milicent patrick. the kansas city public library hosted this event and provided the video. >> so i wrote a book called the lady from the black lagoon. but who the heck is milicent patrick? i always like to describe her as the forrest gump of the 1950s. she most notably designed the creature from the black lagoon one of universal's classic, pantheon of monsters, actually the last one to be included. everyone has their own pantheon. you can fight me later. my opinion creature was