Thursday, May 11, 2017

Suffrage Rally 2017

I know it has been a while, & I apologize. I have been working on NYS Suffrage Centennial related events for over a year, & I am not slowing down now.

This past Sunday, May 7, 2017 from 1-3 PM at City Park in Glens Falls, NY, I was emcee & song leader at a Suffrage Rally reenactment, commemorating 100 years of Women's right to vote in New York State. The Glens Falls Area Suffrage Committee has been working to celebrate Warren & Washington County's involvement in the Suffrage Movement.

Suffrage Rally flyer promoting the event

Our suffrage rally was a look at the movement through historical speeches, letters, and song. Most of the presenters were representing the people who wrote, or spoke the words. Many were just folks from the community who expressed interest in reading, some do this sort of thing for a living (like me).

Greenwich Town Historian in Victorian bicycling costume

I have been researching the Suffrage Movement for many years. My specific area of focus is suffrage songs, & I have performed a number of history programs with song all over the region. 

We had a great turnout for the event. The local paper said 75 people, but that was at any given time. We estimate close to 150 people were there over the course of the two hour event! Here are just a few photos of the event.

Part of the Suffrage Rally crowd

Gertrude Foster Brown (Kim Harvish) addresses the crowd

Susan B. Anthony (Linda McKenney) listens intently 
 One of our speakers, Miss Susan B. Anthony, should be well known to locals, as she grew up in Battenville. Aunt Susan (portrayed by Linda McKenney) spoke out about Justice Hunt finding her guilty of voting without a jury of her peers (i.e. women). Judge Hunt was even there to interrupt!

Your honor, I have many things to say; for in your ordered verdict of guilty, you have trampled under foot every vital principle of our government. My natural rights, my civil rights, my political rights, my judicial rights, are all alike ignored. Robbed of the fundamental privilege of citizenship, I am degraded from the status of a citizen to that of a subject; and not only myself individually, but all of my sex, are, by your honor's verdict, doomed to political subjection under this, so-called, form of government.
Judge Hunt —Sit down Miss Anthony. I cannot allow you to argue the question.
May it please your honor, I am but simply stating the reasons why sentence cannot, in justice, be pronounced against me. Your denial of my citizen's right to vote, is the denial of my right of consent as one of the governed, the denial of my right of representation as one of the taxed, the denial of my right to a trial by a jury of my peers as an offender against law, therefore, the denial of my sacred rights to life, liberty and property
Judge Hunt —The Court cannot allow the prisoner to go on.
I entreat the Court to remember that since the day of my arrest, this is the first time that either myself or any person of my disfranchised class has been allowed a word of defense before judge or jury.
Judge Hunt—The prisoner has been tried according to the established forms of law.

Your honor, while the Court insists that I have been tried according to the established forms of law.  I argue that those forms of law are all made by men, interpreted by men, administered by men, in favor of men, and against women.
Judge Hunt—The Court orders the prisoner to sit down. It will not allow another word.
When I was brought before your honor for trial, I hoped for a broad and liberal interpretation of the Constitution and its recent amendments, that should declare all United States citizens under its protection, equality of rights guaranteed to all persons born or naturalized in the United States. But failing to get this justice—May it please your honor, I shall never pay a dollar of your unjust penalty. 

Suzanne Cohen brought a sign to the rally!
We also invited Glens Falls Art to come & demonstrate the process of tintypes! Using a wet process, they were able to capture images in a process popular during the Civil War, though it fell out of favor by the Edwardian era.

Tintype of Town Historian Tisha Dolton 2017

 Local Kevin McCullough read from a speech by Frederick Douglass from 1888.

From a speech by Frederick Douglass

Some of the songs were familiar enough so people could sing along with a bit of prompting!

The Glens Falls Area Suffrage Committee is planning more events throughout the year. So, like our Facebook page: & follow us on Twitter: @GFGwichSuffrage.

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