“You are always . . . .

05rutenberg-master768“It’s important not to say to yourself, ‘Oh, it’s O.K. It’s important to remember that, for example, in Russia, for the first year of when Vladimir Putin came to power, everybody was thinking that it will be O.K.”

“It is a common phrase right now that ‘America has institutions.’ It does. But a president has power to change institutions and a president moreover has power to change public perception of what is normal, which could lead to changing institutions.”

“You are always in danger of being shut down. But it’s not the end of the story because we are prepared to fight.”

Three quotes by Nadya Tolokonnikova in “From Russia Comes a Warning for Americans from Member of “Pussy Riot'” by Jim Rutenberg, The New York Times 12/4/2016, p. BI  (Nadya Tolokonnikova endured a 20-month brutal internment in Russia.)05rutenbergjump-master675

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/04/business/rutenberg-lessons-in-free-speech-from-pussy-riot.html?_r=0

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Standing Rock

Victory at Standing Rock brought tears to my eyes!!

Activists hold hands during a prayer circle as they try to surround the entire camp at Oceti Sakowin Camp on the edge of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation on December 4, 2016 outside Cannon Ball, North Dakota.  Native Americans and activists from around the country gather at the camp trying to halt the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.  / AFP / JIM WATSON        (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Activists hold hands during a prayer circle as they try to surround the entire camp at Oceti Sakowin Camp on the edge of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation on December 4, 2016 outside Cannon Ball, North Dakota.
Native Americans and activists from around the country gather at the camp trying to halt the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. / AFP / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Activists celebrate at Oceti Sakowin Camp on the edge of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation on December 4, 2016 outside Cannon Ball, North Dakota.  The Army Corps of Engineers told Standing Rock Sioux Chairman Archambault Sunday that the current route for the Dakota Access pipeline will be denied. / AFP / JIM WATSON        (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Activists celebrate at Oceti Sakowin Camp on the edge of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation on December 4, 2016 outside Cannon Ball, North Dakota.
The Army Corps of Engineers told Standing Rock Sioux Chairman Archambault Sunday that the current route for the Dakota Access pipeline will be denied. / AFP / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

CANNON BALL, ND - DECEMBER 04:  Fireworks fill the night sky above Oceti Sakowin Camp as activists celebrate after learning an easement had been denied for the Dakota Access Pipeline near the edge of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation on December 4, 2016 outside Cannon Ball, North Dakota. The US Army Corps of Engineers announced today that it will not grant an easement to the Dakota Access Pipeline to cross under a lake on the Sioux Tribes Standing Rock reservation, ending a  months-long standoff.  (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

CANNON BALL, ND – DECEMBER 04: Fireworks fill the night sky above Oceti Sakowin Camp as activists celebrate after learning an easement had been denied for the Dakota Access Pipeline near the edge of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation on December 4, 2016 outside Cannon Ball, North Dakota. The US Army Corps of Engineers announced today that it will not grant an easement to the Dakota Access Pipeline to cross under a lake on the Sioux Tribes Standing Rock reservation, ending a months-long standoff. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

 

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“I believe . . . .

“I believe we can do something about our society. I haven’t reached the stage where I say ‘Oh, hell, what’s the use.'” Words for dark times by Dr. Estelle Rosemary Ramey, endocrinologist and feminist. In 1970 Dr. Ramey took on Dr. Edgar Berman when he said that women were unfit for high political office because of their “raging storm of monthly hormonal imbalances.” In a debate sponsored by the Women’s National Press Club, Berman opened by saying: “I really love women.” To which Ramey replied: “So did Henry VIII.”

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“Think about it hard.”

img_1606Last night, December 1, 2016, Linda and I attended the premier of the first opera written by a woman performed at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City since 1903.  (“(Read that sentence again, and think about it hard.)” wrote Zachary Woolfe about that fact in The New York Times.)  The opera was “L’Amour de Loin” by Kaija Saariaho, who was born in Helsinki, Finland in 1952.  The 1903 opera was “Der Wald” by Ethel Smyth, who also composed “The March of the Women,”  the anthem of the British suffragettes.  In 1912 Smyth was  arrested during a suffragette demonstration and sent Holloway  Prison.   One day, she broke the window in her cell, and, using her toothbrush,  she conducted suffragettes in the  courtyard below who were marching in a circle singing “The March of the Woman.” I took the picture during the curtain call. Kaija Saariaho is second from the left.  Equally pioneering for the Met, the conductor last night was a woman,  Susan Malkki, who is third from the left. Note: women have been composing opera for centuries.

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“Lays Down Life . . .”

0a3e6d36-1d30-440e-bc53-09a88970d5cdimg133-1Today – November 25 – in 1916 – Inez Milholland Boissevain died in a Los Angeles hospital, after collapsing while giving a suffrage speech.  Known as the “Idol of Suffragists” she was an international known  tireless and beloved advocate for woman suffrage.  The first image honors her stunning appearance astride her horse Grey Dawn,  leading the famous suffrage parade in Washington, D.C. on March 3, 1913.   When a marauding mob of men disrupted the parade, she boldly rode her horse through them, clearing a path for the peacefully marching suffragists.  The second image from an article in the Los Angeles Times, dated Nov. 25, 1916 that reads: “Lays Down Life for Women’s Cause . . . . her loss is mourned by countless women.” Inez Milholland: Forward into, an excellent 15-miinute DVD by Martha Wheelock is available FREE at http://inezmilholland.org/order/

“Liberty must be fought for. And, women of the nation, this is the time to fight. This is the time to demonstrate our sisterhood, our spirit, our blithe courage, and our will. It is women for women now, and shall be till the fight is won.”  Inez Milholland

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Thanksgiving and Many Meanings

Thanksgiving day has had many meanings throughout American history. Four years after the end of the Civil War, Thomas Nast created this cartoon titled “Uncle Sam’s Thanksgiving Dinner.” Two symbols of America are depicted at the ends of the table. Uncle Sam carves the turkey. Columbia, a mythic female figure that symbolizes America, sits between an African nastcartAmerican and a Chinese man. Women, children and men from other countries and a Native American man are seated around the table. At the bottom of the cartoon, Nast expresses the meaning of his Thanksgiving Day cartoon – “Come One Come All” and “Free and Equal.” sarajosephahaleThe other image is a bobble head of Sarah Josepha Hale, “The Mother of Thanksgiving.”

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Why the Delay?

In thinking about the resistance to women in the political arena in America, I think about the historical resistance to woman suffrage.   In their book Woman Suffrage and Politics.  published in 1926, six years after ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution,  Carrie Chapman Catt, president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association and suffragist Nettie Rogers Shuler asked the question “Why the delay?” Here is their answer:

“It was, not an antagonistic public sentiment, nor yet an uneducated or indifferent public sentiment – it was the control of public sentiment, the deflecting and the thwarting of public sentiment, through the trickery,  the buying and the selling of American politics.”

What do you think?

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We will win this battle yet, Susan!

Sessions, Bannon, Flynn, Pompeo . . .reading those names prompts me to think of Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s letter to Susan B. Anthony in 1871: Outraged by the joint judiciary committee’s report, an “open declaration” that women were “not citizens” ECS exhorted SBA to “Go ahead and ‘deal damnation round the land with a high hand,’ as the ‘Tribune’ says you do . . . We will win this battle yet, Susan! With love unchanged, undimmed by time and friction.” natportgallerysbawpecsWhile writing my book, I went to the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. to see the bust of SBA by Adelaide Johnson and the portrait of ECS by Anna Elizabeth Klumpke. I was delighted to be able to photograph them together (The painting in the background is of Margaret Fuller. The other bust is of Wendell Phillips.) lmnatport Lucretia Mott is there too (painting by Joseph Kyle). A daguerreotype of Frederick Douglass is in the hall outside this room #33.14frederickdouglass

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Isn’t Easy

The 2016 election result have left me reeling between despair and determination.  Having spent many years immersed in writing biographies and social history of women, I’m well aware of the fierce resistance to women’s participation in the public arena and misogyny in our collective history.  Still I wasn’t braced for the election of the candidate who openly denigrates large segments of Americans, espousing  racist, sexist, xenophobic ideas, mocking people with disabilities, threatening immigrants, embracing purveyors of white nationalism . . .  This morning I found comfort in the words Hillary Rodman Clinton spoke last night at the Children’s Defense Fund Event in Washington, D.C.: “I know this isn’t easy. I know that over the past week a lot of people have asked themselves whether America is the country we thought it was. But please listen to me when I say this: America is worth it. . . . It’s up to each and every one of us to keep working to make America better and stronger and fairer.”

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Elizabeth Cady Stanton: Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday Elizabeth Cady Stanton who was born on November 12, 1815! ecssteel2The steel engraving is in the “History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 1.” The marker in Johnstown, New York, reads: “The Birthplace of Equal Rights for Women in this country, and the World, was right here in Johnstown. At the near by sites of young Elizabeth Cady’s home; her father’s law office and her school, the Academy, she experienced the inspiration and the inception of that zealous crusade for the emancipation of women. Elizabeth Cady Stanton The greatest feminist reformer of 19th century America. The progenitor of the 19th amendment to the United States Constitution which extended the right of suffrage to the women of this Republic.” EmarkerJohnstown

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