Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Is it surprising that it took 140 years for Morris’ inspiring example and accomplishment to catch on? Unfortunately, it’s not surprising at all - The White House Project Report: Benchmarking Women’s Leadership finds that although women currently make up almost half of JD recipients, “at the very top of the legal sector, women have made no progress at all in the last 15 years.” Sotomayor’s appointment to the Supreme Court marks an astonishing and impressive step for women in the legal sector - one that, given the research, is unfortunately not yet being mirrored at large.
Dr. Einor Ostrom is a woman whose thoughts led her to one of the most prestigious awards in the world–the Nobel Prize winner. In 2009 Ostrom became the first female to win a Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences – a category that has existed for over 40 years."
Born,1860: Henrietta Szold - educator, author, social worker, founder of Hadassah, rescuer of Jewish children from the Nazis
Born,1829: Jane Cunningham Croly - journalist, clubwoman, was the driving force behind the American club women's movement. She was the founder of the General Federation of Women's Clubs. These clubs helped pass suffrage but also were part of the greatest period of social reform in our Nation's history....the Progressive Era 1890-1920...sanitation, grading of meats, labor law reform, child labor laws, the library system, the National Parks System...just to name some of the important advances in our society.(Ann E W Stone)
Born,1807: Phoebe Worrall Palmer - religious writer, evangelist: Holiness movement, she conducted regular women’s home prayer meetings which gradually became known as the Tuesday Meeting for the Promotion of Holiness
Born,1860:Deborah Sampson-fought in the American Revolution as Robert Shurtleff, later received a full soldier's pension
Born,1844:Fanny Garrison Villard-pacifist, suffragist, philanthropist;helped establish Barnard & Radcliffe Colleges & Hampton Institute,Virginia
1897:Margaret Chase Smith- 1st woman elected to both the U.S. House and the Senate. Also 1st woman to have her name placed in nomination for the U.S. Presidency at a major party's convention (1964 Republican Convention,won by Barry Goldwater). She was also the lst woman from Maine to hold either position.
1862: Battle of Fredericksburg. Frank Thompson, aide to Colonel Orlando M. Poe,born as Sarah Edmonds (Edmonson or Edmondson). Later worked as a nurse for the US Christian Commission and published a book of Civil War experiences. She was granted a veteran's pension in 1882
Born,1835:Sarah Ingersoll Cooper - educator,speaker at 1893 Columbian Exposition,opened the first free kindergarten west of the Rocky Mountains in San Francisco which became a model, suffragist, treasurer General Federal of Women's Clubs. Her life was so filled with tragedy...her husband committed suicide when he was let go by the IRS and her daughter made several attempts before finally killing both herself and her mother by gas asphyxiation. Yet through it all Sarah pushed on fighting for women's rights and education expansion. What an inspiration.
Born,1863: Annie Jump Cannon astronomer, credited with co-creation of Harvard Classification Scheme,the first serious attempt to organize and classify stars based on their temperatures.
Born,1830: Emily Dickinson - a recluse and one of the greatest American poets. Most of her work (over 800 poems) were not published until after her death.
Born,1906:Grace Murray Hopper- Navy admiral, mathematician, computer programmer; wrote COBOL the major computer program that runs the World's government computers adn coined term "bug" for computer programming errors.
Born,1922: Jean Ritchie - singer, folklorist, collected songs from the mountain folk and traced its history, she became known as "The Mother of Folk."
1764: Abigail Smith prolific letter writer married John Adams and later became First Lady Abigail Adams,"Remember the Ladies" she admonished the POTUS!
Born,1830: Belva Lockwood-lawyer, reformer,fought for and won the right for women to argue their cases before the Supreme Court!
1910: Blanche S. Scott became first woman to make a public solo airplane flight ...you have heard of Amelia but bet you never heard of Blanche?
Born,1834:Abigail Scott Duniway-pioneer, reformer, writer, suffragist-chronicled the fight for suffrage on the West Coast.
1891: Sarah Winnemucca died (Native American leader),. Did you know most if not all Native American tribes were matriarchal? The women owned the land...
Monday, December 14, 2009
In 1913, Alice Paul and Lucy Burns, along with others, form the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage, which evolves into the National Woman’s Party. The National Woman’s Party concentrates exclusively on adding the Susan B. Anthony Amendment to the Constitution. Paul and Burns employ some of the radical tactics they learned from the suffragists in Britain. They campaign against the political party in power on the premise that delays in suffrage are the responsibility of the party in power. And, only when faced with defeat, would the political party be cajoled into promoting suffrage.
As World War I rages in Europe, President Woodrow Wilson, a Democrat, campaigns for re-election in 1916 with the slogan, “He kept us out of war.” The National Woman's Party campaigns against him with the slogan, “He kept us out of suffrage.”
After Wilson is re-elected and still refuses to support the Susan B. Anthony Amendment, Alice Paul and the suffragists in the National Woman's Party begin picketing in front of the White House. The protests are particularly controversial because they continue even after the US enters World War I in April 1917. The women protestors, known as the “silent sentinels”, demonstrate peacefully, unlike their radical British counterparts. Nonetheless, the women of the National Woman's Party are arrested numerous times beginning in June 1917. Alice Paul, Lucy Burns and others are imprisoned at Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia. When Paul leads a hunger strike, the women are brutally force-fed. The negative press coverage about the jailing of the women puts additional pressure on President Woodrow Wilson to act. According to the book, Jailed for Freedom by Doris Stevens of the National Woman's Party, more than 500 suffragists are arrested between 1917 and 1919, and 168 women serve time in jail. http://herstoryscrapbook.com/Intro/Intro.Paul.p2.htm
Many of the books, written by the suffragists, about the final stages of the suffrage movement focus on either the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) led by Carrie Chapman Catt, or the National Woman's Party founded by Alice Paul. The New York Times reported on both women. And, that makes our understanding so much richer.
For instance, in the fall of 1917, Alice Paul is jailed for picketing for suffrage in front of the White House while Carrie Chapman Catt is campaigning for suffrage in New York State. Many women in New York worry that the White House picketing will turn off male voters before they vote on suffrage. When the women in New York win full suffrage, the number of women eligible to vote in the US nearly doubles. Yet, while Carrie Chapman Catt celebrates the greatest suffrage victory to date, Alice Paul is on a hunger strike in the jail hospital.
After a struggle that spanned more than fifty years, it takes the extraordinary organizational skills of Carrie Chapman Catt and the indefatigable courage of Alice Paul to win suffrage for women across America in time for the 1920 presidential election. http://herstoryscrapbook.com/
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
1) Angela Davis on NWSA
Angela Davis talks about the National Women's Studies Association, reflects on its history, and congratulates Beverly Guy-Sheftall for the work she is doing.
2) Angela Davis on Difficult Dialogues
Within the context of the theme of the conference, Davis talks about the positioning women's studies
within academia and its relationship to other academic fields, her past, and her aspirations for the future.
"As the first woman attorney general in Massachusetts, Martha Coakley has demonstrated commitment and leadership on a wide range of feminist issues," said NOW President and NOW/PAC Chair Terry O'Neill. "Most recently, her vocal opposition to the Stupak-Pitts Amendment and its assault on health insurance coverage for abortion care proved that Martha is a force to be reckoned with when women's rights are at stake."
O'Neill pointed to Coakley's other strong credentials: As Attorney General, Coakley investigated and pursued cases related to housing discrimination, disability rights, fair lending, equal marriage, health care disparities, and hate crimes based on race, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation. Coakley is the only Attorney General in the country to file a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act. And she successfully advocated for and defended legislation to create and expand buffer zones around reproductive health care facilities to ensure the safety of patients and staff members.
"If elected in January, Martha Coakley will be a real champion for women in the U.S. Senate," said O'Neill. "Following the irreplaceable Ted Kennedy truly is a daunting job, but I am confident that Martha is up to the challenge."
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
It was not how the Wilmington native envisioned taking over her hometown company after 20 years of steadily rising through the ranks of management.
"Everything I thought about the possibility of this happening, and everything I thought about what I would want to do in becoming the CEO of this company, I had to set aside," Kullman said in a recent interview at DuPont headquarters in downtown Wilmington. "It was not relevant to the environment. We had to start over. I had to start over my thinking around it."
In the nearly 15 months since Kullman was named as the first woman to lead DuPont, she has helped guide the company through the worst global recession in decades. Kullman, 53, has won praise from the investment community for cutting costs and putting DuPont on a course for growth.
"She will be very focused on efficiency and effectiveness, and that will flow through to the bottom line," said Gene Pisasale, a financial adviser with Wells Fargo Advisors in Greenville who has followed DuPont since the mid-1990s.
Protecting the bottom line, though, has come at a cost: about 4,500 jobs lost across the company, along with thousands of contract workers. Not all support Kullman's choices.
"There was a dire situation, but the reaction to it was shortsighted and counterproductive," said Kenneth Henley, general counsel for the International Brotherhood of DuPont Workers, which represents DuPont employees at sites in five states.
Kullman was born Ellen Jamison, the youngest of four siblings in a close-knit Irish-American family. She grew up in the subdivision of Fairfax Farms off Concord Pike, attending St. Mary Magdalen School and then Tower Hill School.
After graduating from Tufts University with a degree in mechanical engineering, she worked in technical service and sales for Westinghouse, got her MBA from Northwestern University and moved on to General Electric in 1983. DuPont hired her five years later as a marketing manager.(Use the link below to access the rest of the story)
The News Journal
Friday, October 30, 2009
Minner was born Ruth Ann Coverdale, at Slaughter Neck in Cedar Creek Hundred, Sussex County, Delaware, near Milford. While growing up, she left high school at age 16 to help support her family. Subsequently she married Frank Ingram with whom she had three children: Frank Jr., Wayne and Gary. When she was 32 her husband died suddenly of a heart attack, leaving her a single mother with three children. She earned her GED in 1968 and later attended Delaware Technical & Community College, while working two jobs to support the family. In 1969 she married Roger Minner and together they operated a family towing business, the Roger Minner Wrecker Service. Roger Minner died of cancer in 1991.
Ruth Ann Minner began her political career as a clerk in the Delaware House of Representatives and as a receptionist in the office of Governor Sherman W. Tribbitt. In 1974 she was elected to the State House as a member of the "Watergate Class," a group of newly elected legislators from both parties, who came into office on a "good government" mission and a strong sense of their ability to make significant improvements. Minner rose to become Delaware's most powerful female politician, but she did it in a very conventional way, representing a rural, small town constituency, and building relationships and expertise by working in the legislative process over many years. She served four terms in the State House, from the 1975/1976 session through the 1981/82 session. At various times she served as House Majority Whip and chair of the powerful Bond Bill Committee. She also chaired the Rules Committee. In that role she led several successful reforming efforts, including a change that removed the rule allowing Representatives to table roll call votes. This rule was used to help schedule votes when only the right combinations of Representatives were on the floor.
In 1982 Minner was elected to the Delaware Senate and served there from the 1983/1984 session through the 1991/1992 session. While in the State Senate Minner was noted for her sponsorship of the Delaware Land and Water Conservation Act, a key piece of legislation that protected 30,000 acres (120 km²) of land and created the Delaware Open Space Council. To fund the activities of this Council the General Assembly created the "Twenty-First Century Fund" from the proceeds of a multi-million dollar corporate securities lawsuit. Elected Lieutenant Governor in 1992, she served two terms from January 19, 1993 to January 3, 2001. While in that position she chaired the Minner Commission on Government Reorganization and Effectiveness.
Minner was elected Governor of Delaware in 2000. She had secured the Democratic nomination after her long years in the General Assembly, as Lieutenant Governor and her demonstrated ability to run a campaign by her large statewide victory margins in 1992 and 1996. Minner won easily. As the incumbent Lieutenant Governor Minner took office upon the resignation of Governor Thomas R. Carper on January 3, 2001. She served as the first female President of the Council of State Governments in 2005.
Minner was Delaware’s fourth consecutive two term governor and largely continued the business oriented policies and bipartisan, consensus style begun by her Republican predecessor. She was usually described as a "middle-of-the-road politician, with conservative fiscal views but progressive social policies." As governor, she worked to decrease cancer rates in Delaware, saying she "...was determined to reduce Delaware's high cancer rates. A task force...has created a road map of specific steps necessary...and I am implementing that plan. [One] result has been...the Clean Indoor Air Act, which has reduced cancerous pollutants in Delaware's restaurants, bars, and casinos by more than 90 percent."
Regarding education, she said, "While it might be popular, it is not demanding to set standards that all students can meet right away...Once high standards have been set, the key is to give our students, educators and parents the tools to continuously improve." She supported "giving local schools control of [most] new education dollars...expanding after-school and weekend class programs...and supports reading and math specialists." She opposed vouchers. “In 2005, she signed legislation creating the Student Excellence Equals Degree (SEED) Scholarship program, which enables students who keep their grades up and stay out of trouble to go to college for free in the state of Delaware. She also expanded her education specialist program, which has placed reading specialists in every elementary school, to also include a plan to place math specialists in every Delaware middle school.”
On other issues she was "a firm supporter of a measure that would simply add sexual orientation to the list of characteristics in the Delaware code...that are not allowed to be used as basis for discrimination." She opposed "new gun control legislation," but supported "legislation requiring mandatory trigger locks and gun safety courses in schools." And she said "I do not support additional sites or kinds of gambling...the state should not become any more reliant on this form of revenue."
In her second inaugural address in January 2005, Minner concluded with this description of her philosophy: "for Ruth Ann Minner, farmer, gardener and daughter of a sharecropper, it is simply this: Work hard. Do the right thing. And leave things better than you found them."
This correlates with the history of women as elected officials. Tens of thousands have won elections to office from school board to Congress, and many hundreds have won other statewide offices, but only 25-women have been elected as governors.
The first woman to hold statewide office was Laura Eisenhuth, who won her race for North Dakota's state superintendent of schools in 1892 -- before women there had full voting rights. Several western states emulated that, and all except New Mexico granted full voting rights prior to 1920, when the 19th Amendment enfranchised all women. Nowhere, however, did any woman seriously campaign for governor until 1924, when Texas elected Miriam A. "Ma" Ferguson and Wyoming elected Nellie Taloe Ross.
Governor Ferguson remains the nation's only female governor elected to non-consecutive terms, as Texans chose her again in 1932. Then there was a long dry spell before Alabama elected Lurleen Wallace in 1966, a surrogate for her husband, segregationist George Wallace. She died in office from cancer in 1968.
Because all three of these women had husbands who preceded them in politics and could build on their husband's who preceded them in politics and could build on their husbands' networks, Connecticut's Ella Grasso sometimes is considered the first "real" female governor. Elected in 1974, she never lost a race in a long political career and moved from Congress to the governorship. Unfortunately, Governor Grasso also succumbed to cancer and died just five weeks after resigning. Her husband, an educator, had stayed so far in the background that when she died, many were surprised that she was married.
The 1976 election brought the nation's only female governor who never married -- Washington scientist Dixy Ray Lee. Washington has gone to elect a second female governor, Christine Gregorie, who currently holds office. It also has women -- Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell -- in both of its U.S. Senate seats, making it the only state thus far to have women in three top jobs.
Arizona set another kind of record in 1998, when women won all of its five statewide offices. Jane Dee Hull was elected governor in her own right in 1998; she previously served as Secretary of State and when the scandal-plagued incumbent resigned in 1997, she became governor. Arizona's attorney general at the time was Janet Napolitano, who went on the governship in 2002 and now heads the Department of Homeland Security. When she left for Washington n 2009, Jan Brewer replaced Governor Napolitano -- giving Arizona three consecutive female governors. It had a fourth in Rose Mofford, who replaced another man forced to resign in 1988, but didn’t to seek election in her own right.
Five other women have served as governors without ever being elected to the position, but the elected women, in chronological order, are: 1924, Nellie Taloe Ross, Wyoming; 1924, Miriam "Ma" Ferguson", Texas; 1966, Lurleen Wallace, Alabama; 1974, Ella Tambussi Grasso, Connecticut; 1976, Dixy Lee Ray, Washington; 1983, Martha Layne Collins, Kentucky; 1984Madeline M. Kunin, Vermont; 1986, Kay A. Orr, Nebraska; 1920, Joan Finney, Kansas; 1990, Barbara Roberts, Oregon; 1990, Ann Richards, Texas; 1994, Christine Todd Whitman, New Jersey; 1996, Jeanne Shaheen, New Hampshire; 1998, Jane Dee Hull, Arizona; 2000, Ruth Ann Minner, Delaware; 2000, Judy Martz, Montana; 2002, Linda Lingle, Hawaii; 2002, Jenifer Granholm, Michigan; 2002, Janet Napolitano, Arizona; 2002, Kathleen Sibelius, Kansas; 2003, Kathleen Blanco, Louisiana; 2004, Christine Gregoire, Washington[ 2006, Sarah Palin, Alaska; 2006, Jodi Rell, Connecticut; and 2008, Bev Perdue, North Carolina.
At least three women have announced their candidacy for governorships next year. Florida CFO Alex Sink is the likely Democratic nominee there, while Democratic Lieutenant Governor Dian Denish is aiming at the top job in New Mexico. U.S. Senator Kay Baily Hutchinson, A Republican, is running in Texas: if she wins, she will bhe state's third female governor, following Ferguson (who was elected in both 1924 and 1932) and Ann Richards, who won in 1990.
More women probably will be candidates in 2010, but even if they all win, the likelihood is that the majority of states will not pass the milestone of electing a female governor. Because several states have chosen women more than once, a majority has yet to set this precedent. It would be nice to think that all will have done so by 2024 -- the 100th anniversary of the first -- but that is a more fifteen years away.
(NWHM consultant Dore Weaterford is wring Women & Polirtics for Congressional Quarterlhy Press, to be published in 2011. This is a summary of the chapters on governors.; http://www.nwhm.org/)
The first woman to serve in this position, she found a demoralized staff and a meager budget, but went on to skillfully administer the office. After overcoming the problems of the Great Depression, she dealt with those of World War II, including a servere paper shortage and Nazi attempts to counterfeit money. After 20 years as director of the Mint, Ross retired in 1953.
She was the first American woman to have her image struck on a medal made by the Mint and is also honored on the cornerstone of the famous Fort Knox Bullion Depository, which was built under her leadership. Although she is usually remembered for her governorship of Wyoming, Nellie Tayloe Ross actually spent most of her life in Washngton. Nellie Tayloe Ross lived on to 101, seemingly an anachronism to the publlic. Her death in the same year as Elvis Presley's was little noted. (Source National Women's History Museum, www.nwhm.org)
The daughter of wealthy Georgia planter, Martha Berry, went to a Baltimore finishing school, but returned to the Deep Southern and spent the rest of her days educating the poor. She began with her own novel approach, traveling by horse and wagon in the hill country near her Rome, Georgia home to teach Bible stories to isolated children. Known as the “Sunday School Lady of the Mountains,” her method came to be followed throughout the South.
In 1902, Berry pioneered a second educational method that also was emulated. She built a log cabin school on her father’s plantation and allowed her students to earn their tuition with work. Because publicly funded educations were a rarity in the Deep South, students quickly took advantage of the opportunity. In 1926, Berry College was added to the system, and by the time she died, Mount Berry Schools had 1300 students who lived, studied, and worked 35,000 acres of land.
Although she had no formal college education herself, by the 1920s, Berry was nationally recognized as an educational leader. Her work/study combination provided a model for both private and public colleges, and after World War II, southern students of both sexes and all races often worked on the college farm. She was honored with the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Medal “for services to the nation” in 1925, and in 1937, Georgia made her the first woman appointed to its Board of Regents. She died at age 86 in Atlanta, and the “Martha Berry highway” in western Georgia honors her.
(Source: the National Women’s History Museum, located at www.nwhm.org)
Sunday, September 6, 2009
• 1838 Pitcairn Islands
• 1839 Wyoming Territory
• 1881 Isle of Man*
• 1893 Colorado, Cook Islands, New Zealand
• 1894 South Australia
• 1896 Idaho, Utah
• 1899 Western Australia
• 1902 Australia (federal), New South Wales
• 1903 Tasmania
• 1905 Queensland
• 1906 Finland
• 1907 Norway*
• 1908 Victoria
• 1910 Washington State
• 1911 California
• 1912 Arizona, Kansas, Oregon
• 1913 Alaska, Illinois*, Norway**
• 1914 Montana, Nevada
• 1915 Denmark, Iceland (women over 40)
• 1916 Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan
• 1917 Arkansas, Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Ontario, British Colombia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Canada*
• 1918 Michigan, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas*, Austria, Canada*, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Hungary*, Luxembourg, Poland, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, United Kingdom*
• 1919 Netherlands, Rhodesia*, Sweden
• 1920 Belgium*, Iceland**, United States
• 1922 Ireland
• 1924 Mongolia
• 1928 United Kingdom**
• 1929 Ecuador*, Puerto Rico*
• 1930 South Africa (whites only), Turkey
• 1931 Spain (later revoked), Ceylon/Sri Lanka
• 1932 Brazil, Thailand, Uruguay
• 1933 Portugal*
• 1934 Cuba
• 1935 India*
• 1937 Philippines
• 1939 El Salvador
• 1941 Indonesia
• 1942 Dominican Republic
• 1944 France, Jamaica
• 1945 Bulgaria, Guatemala, Italy, Japan, Panama, Trinidad and Tobago
• 1946 Albania, Liberia*, Ecuador**, Malta, Portugal*, Romania, Yugoslavia
• 1947 Argentina, Pakistan, Venezuela, China
• 1948 Belgium**, Burma, Israel, South Korea
• 1949 Chile, Costa Rica, Syria*, People's Republic of China, India"
• 1950 Haiti
• 1951 Antigua, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, other Caribbean islands, Sierra Leone
• 1952 Bolivia, Greece
• 1953 Lebanon, Mexico
• 1954 Belize, Gold Coast/Ghana, Nigeria (East)*
• 1955 Ethiopia, Honduras, Malaysia, Nicaragua, Nigeria (West)*, Peru
• 1956 Egypt, Honduras
• 1957 Colombia, Singapore
• 1958 Iraq, Mauritius, Paraguay, Tanzania
• 1959 Nepal, Nigeria (South)*
• 1960 Central African Republic, Cyprus, Gambia, Canada
• 1961 Rwanda, Somalia
• 1962 Australia (Aborigines), Bahamas, Monaco
• 1963 Iran, Kenya*, Mozambique
• 1964 Afghanistan, Libya, Maldives, Sudan
• 1965 Burundi
• 1966 Fiji, Lesotho
• 1967 Seychelles, Zaire
• 1968 Nauru, Swaziland
• 1971 Gilbert Islands/Kiribati, Switzerland
• 1973 Syria**
• 1975 Mozambique**, Nigeria (North)*, Papua New Guinea, Portugal**
• 1976 Spain (reinstated)
• 1978 Tuvalu
• 1980 Cape Verde
• 1984 Jordan, Liberia**, Liechtenstein
• 1994 South Africa **
• 2005 Kuwait: The franchise allowing women to vote passed in 2005. Women vote for Parliament members for first time in 2007.
The right to be elected is a second step. Women did not gain that right until 1952 in Greece, 1961 in El Salvador, 1974 in Jordan. Although women held office in Arizona for some time, only in 1988 did voters there remove a state requirement that their officeholders be male.
*Subjected to conditions or restrictions (property, educational, marital or racial qualifications);
**Restrictions lifted Suffrage in Australia, USA, and Canada awarded on state-by-state basis prior to 1902,1920, and 1960 respectively.
Selected dates for women's suffrage from Suffrage & Beyond: International Feminist Perspectives, edited by Caroline Daley & Melanie Nolan, Auckland and London (1994). Adapted by the International Museum of Women, San Francisco (2003) www.imow.org
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Delaware: the State That Could Have, but Did Not Make Women’s Suffrage History
Delaware has a long history of women fighting for equality and equity in the business, education, and communities, but in the end, women’s suffrage was not extended to women in Delaware. Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the 19th Amendment and the women in Delaware and the rest of the states were finally enfranchised. Each time it was brought before the General Assembly the measure was squashed. It failed several times, each time amidst colorful and explosive debate.. Delawareans like their politics, are very passionate about it, they have no compunction to showing it. Quite often, it is the cause of much family distress and marriages have been split and created along party lines. Then and now, politics is the number one social activity throughout the state.
At the turn of the 19th Century, the advocates and the descanters of suffrage were strong, powerful, political women, educated, smart, and politically savvy. Delaware Republicans and Democrats for the most part supported women’s suffrage. However, a large voting block of Sussex County legislators were very conservative and they felt strongly that women were not smart enough and that their role was to serve and tend to their families. Politics was a man’s “sphere”. Each time the measure came up for a vote, these seven legislators would walk out of the Chamber and the issue died another death, until June 2, 1914 when it was delivered its final death knell (Timeline).
However, Selbyville Republican Governor John G. Townsend, R worked with the state’s U.S. Senator James H. Bayard, D, Wilmington to shepherd the legislation through their respective channels. Bayard, chairman of the very powerful U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee rescued the 19th Amendment from the Revolutionary Claims Committee, where he suspected it would languish and die. The RCC had been inactive for more than 30 years; it was established to handle compensation claims from the Revolutionary War.
“It is eminently proper that this subject should go to that committee because if there is any revolutionary claim in this country it is that of woman suffrage. [Laughter.] It revolutionizes society; it revolutionizes religion; it revolutionizes the constitution and laws; and it revolutionizes the opinions of those so old-fashioned among us as to believe that the legitimate and proper sphere of woman is the family circle as wife and mother and not as politician and voter-those of us who are proud to believe that, A woman’s noblest station is retreat; Her fairest virtues fly from public sight; Domestic worth--that shuns too strong a light. (Vest, 1881)”
In 1896, women organized the Delaware Equal Suffrage Association, a statewide group affiliated with NAWSA, founded by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. The suffrage battle really began to heat up in Delaware in 1913. Failure to get the state legislature to pass a bill that would give women the right to vote made the state's small, but determined, group of suffragists determined to win public support that would force the General Assembly to approve the vote for women in 1915. “Street-corner rallies and parades soon came to be more important than club meetings and teas in women's homes for spreading the message. Up and down the state sped Florence Bayard Hilles's powerful automobile, dubbed the Votes for Women Flyer, bringing the suffrage message to towns and hamlets in all three counties.(Timeline)”
On Saturday, May 2, 1914, Delaware suffragists held what turned out to be their largest parade in Wilmington. More than 600 people marched, and thousands jammed the streets and hung out of windows to see the parade march by. Three grand marshals, Hilles representing New Castle County, Mary Slaughter representing Kent County, and Miriam Gray representing Sussex County, led the parade. They wore white dresses and the purple, yellow, and white sashes of the Congressional Union, a national woman's political organization, and each carried a yellow banner emblazoned with her county's name. There were bands, women, men, children, floats and automobiles divided into 12 sections or divisions. All of the women in-the parade except the college women wore white, while the men wore business suits. College women wore their caps and gowns. The homemakers section contained the most marchers, while African-American women marched in the Equal Suffrage Study Club.(Suffrage Battle in Delaware)
On Aug. 26, 1919, Annie Amiel spent the most time in jail. A worker in a leather factory in Wilmington, Annie Arniel was arrested eight times, spent 103 days in jail, and. when she was picketing Congress, she was knocked senseless by the police.
Time was running out for the 36th state to ratify the 19th Amendment, eventually President Wilson was forced due to political pressure and the negative publicity of the violence perpetuated against women protestors, to intervene. He urged Congress to pass the Susan B. Anthony Suffrage Amendment, which it finally did in June 1919 after long debates in both chambers. Delaware Representative Caleb R. Layton and Senator L. Heisler Ball voted for the amendment, while Josiah 0. Wolcott voted against it. Before the bill became law, 36th states had to ratify the amendment and they had 10 months to do so. If it failed, then the process would have to start over again. Delaware seemed the best bet for that last vote. The eyes of a nation were on Delaware from March to early June 1920.
Neither side was confident of victory, so both spared no effort in their attempt to influence legislators and their constituents. Both sides held parades and meetings in Dover and throughout the state, particularly in Sussex County, where the deciding votes lay. One of the largest rallies was held on the Dover Green, bands, decorated automobiles, and representatives from every town in Delaware turned out to help influence legislators. The pro-suffrage forces even resorted to dropping leaflets from airplanes to catch people's attention.
Lobbying pressure became intense. The president of the United States, Woodrow Wilson, put strong pressure on Democratic legislators, and the three du Pont cousins urged ratification of the amendment, their first agreement on anything since their acrimonious business split. Finally exhausted from months of lobbying pressure, the members of the House of Representatives agreed to bring the session to close on a set day, whether or not the suffrage bill came forward for a vote. On May 5, the Delaware Senate ratified the Anthony Amendment by a vote of 11 to 6. Woman suffrage stood just eighteen House votes away from victory.
The victory came in Tennessee, where by the margin of just one vote, a young man ensured all women the right to vote in honor of his mother. Just as his vote was being cast, a young legislator, who supported the anti-suffrage movement and proudly wore a red rose in his lapel to identify him as an “anti”, received an urgent cable from his mother. Her few words and his respect for his mother, changed the course of history. She reminded him “not to forget the ladies” and to vote FOR women’s suffrage. He did and to the dismay and anger of his colleagues, he had to escape on the ledge out of the window to get away from an angry mob.
Delaware Women's Suffrage Timeline. (1915, May). Retrieved July 1, 2009, from The Suffrage Battle in Delaware: http://www.hsd.org/Women_Suffrage_TimeLine.htm
Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony Project. (2009, Jun2). Retrieved July 13, 2009, from Rutgers University: http://ecssba.rutgers.edu/index.html
Stanton, E. C. (1881). Delaware (Section). In E. C. Susan B. Anthony, History of Woman Suffrage. Louisville, KY, USA: Rare Books on CD, Book of Wisdom.
The Suffrage Battle in Delaware. (1915, January). Retrieved July 1, 2009, from Historical Society of Delaware: http://www.hsd.org/Woman_SuffragistBattleinDE.htm
Vest, M. S. (1881, December 12). Speech on Senate Floor. History of Woman Suffrage . Washington, D.C., USA: Book of Wisdom.
Women's Suffrage in Delaware. (1915, May 1). Retrieved July 1, 2009, from Historical Society of Delaware: http://search.dca.net/cgi-bin/htsearch
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Greenwood’s Mary Ann Sorden Stewart begins the fight for women’s rights
Wilmington’s first women’s rights convention Abolitionist Thomas Garrett presided Lucy Stone spoke
Married women in Delaware receive the right to make wills, own property, and control their own earnings
Mary Ann Sorden Stuart testifies before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee in favor of woman’s suffrage.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony address Delaware General Assembly in an attempt to amend the state constitution to allow woman’s suffrage
Delaware Woman’s Christian Temperance Union endorses woman’s suffrage.
Wilmington Equal Suffrage Club organized (African American Women organize)
Delaware Equal Suffrage Association (DESA) founded, affiliated with National American
Woman’s Suffrage Association (NAWSA).
Delaware General Assembly votes on the Suffrage Amendment and it fails; the seven Sussex County legislators walk out in protest
(Jan. 13) Carrie Chapman Catt, Martha Cranston, Emalea Pusey Warner, Margaret White Houston, and Emma Worrell address hearing at Delaware Constitutional Convention favoring suffrage. The Committee on Elections votes against woman’s suffrage.
Alice Paul becomes chair of Congressional Committee of NAWSA; bring new life to the suffrage movement
The focus switches from a state-by-state approach to an amendment to the United States Constitution
Equal suffrage amendment to state constitution fails in Delaware General Assembly
Alice Paul breaks from NAWSA to form Congressional Union (CU)
(Summer) Series of suffrage meetings in Wilmington
Florence Bayard Hilles hears Mabel Vernon speak and is converted to the suffrage cause
(September) Join CU-DESA headquarters open on Seventh and Shipley streets in Wilmington with Mabel Vernon in charge
(Nov. 23) Mrs. Emmaline Pankhurst, noted English suffragist, speaks in Wilmington
(April 25) DESA plants suffrage tree a pin oak, at north end of Van Buren Street Bridge in Wilmington
(May 2) Big Suffrage Parade in Wilmington
(Summer) Florence Bayard Hilles and Miss Hill speak in seven towns on a two-day tour of Delaware
(Jan-Feb.) The “Votes for Women Flyer” Florence Bayard Hilles’ gaily decorated car, tours the state taking the suffrage message to many small towns
(March) Equal suffrage amendment to State Constitution fails in Delaware General Assembly
(June) DESA and CU split, with DESA moving out of joint headquarters at 305 Delaware Avenue in Wilmington
(June) CU becomes National Woman’s Party
1917 (July 8) Mabel Vernon heckles Woodrow Wilson from the platform at an event in Washington
(Dec) Delaware CU has 36 branch organization
(Dec.) Mabel Vernon and Florence Bayard Hilles are in a group that unfurls a suffrage banner in Congress during a speech by Woodrow Wilson
(Jan. 10) Silent Sentinels begin to picket the White House
(Feb. 18) 15 women from Delaware go to Washington to do picket duty at the White House
(March 1) Delaware Day: all White House pickets are from Delaware
(June 22) First arrest of suffrage pickets at the White House
1917 (June 25)
12 women arrested, including Mabel Vernon and Annie Arneli of Delaware, on charge of “obstructing traffic.” Sentenced to three days in jail, Sixteen women, including Florence Bayard Hilles, arrested at the White House; sentenced to 60 days in the workhouse; Pardoned by Woodrow Wilson after serving three days of their sentence
1917 (July 14)
Washington Court of Appeals declares all suffrage arrests, trials, punishments illegal
A group of suffragist munitions workers from Delaware, led by Florence Bayard Hilles, who also worked in the factory, wait at the White House for two weeks in a futile attempt to see Woodrow Wilson
1919 (Aug. 6)
Arrests of White House pickets resume
Suffragists begin to burn Woodrow Wilson’s words in watch fires in front of the White House
Perpetual watch fire lit at the White House
President Woodrow Wilson burned in effigy at the White House
1919 (June 19)
Suffrage amendment wins Congressional approval
Ratification rally in Dover
Delaware General Assembly called into Special Session to consider the Suffrage Amendment. National interest, if successful, Delaware could be the 36th state to ratify the 19th Amendment and enfranchise women
1921 (Aug. 26) Tennessee is the 36th state to ratify the Susan B. Anthony Amendment (19th Amendment)