Reading through Founding Sisters and the 19th Amendment by Eleanor Clift, I was reminded again about the amazing bravery shown by the suffragettes. In school we learned about Susan Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Alice Paul, and Harriet Tubman. We also learned about how Fredrick Douglas assisted the cause.
What we didn’t learn was how it took decades of peaceful demonstrations, or how they endured torture while frequently imprisoned at the request of American President Wilson. I didn’t remember that it all began in 1848 in Seneca Falls, NY followed by Rochester, NY, and Syracuse NY, areas close to where I live now. Also, until this book, I had not read speech given by Sojourner Truth (a former female slave) at a 1851 Women’s Rights Convention in Akron Ohio. While I will not list the speech in its entirety here, it moved me greatly. Below are some of the excerpts:
“More than 6 feet tall and built like a half-back with huge muscles from working in the fields, Truth ridiculed the argument that women were too delicate to survive outside the home and thus should be shielded from public life.
‘The man over there says women need to be helped from their carriages and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages or over puddles, or gives me the best place. Ain’t I a woman?’
‘I could eat as much as a man when I could get it and bear the lash as well! Ain’t I a woman? ‘
‘I have borne 13 children and seen most of them sold in slavery, and when I cried out with a mother’s grief, none but Jesus heard me. Ain’t I a woman?'”
For a list of Sheila’s books, check out http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003HWM3PI