The Burlington Branch of Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) is partnering with the Vermont Suffrage Centennial Alliance and the League of Women Voters of Vermont to host four free, virtual presentations on Women’s Suffrage with Dr. Sally Roesch Wagner on October 21st, 22nd, and 23rd. These online public programs will be sponsored by St. Michael’s College, Community College of Vermont, UVM’s Center for Cultural Pluralism, and Middlebury College’s Feminist Resource Center at Chellis House. Some programs have limited registration numbers, please use event links to register.
Dr. Wagner is a nationally recognized lecturer, author and story-teller of woman’s rights history. One of the first women to receive a doctorate in the United States for work in women’s studies (UC Santa Cruz), and a founder of one of the country’s first college women’s studies programs, (CSU Sacramento), Dr. Wagner has taught women’s history for forty-nine years. She served as historian in PBS’s “One Woman, One Vote,” and appeared as a “talking head” in Ken Burns’ documentary, “Not for Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony,” penning that program’s faculty guide. Her Women’s Suffrage Anthology, published by Penguin Classics last year, is an intersectional exploration of the 19th century women’s rights movement.
The four presentations are:
Women Voted Here—Before Columbus
October 21 (Wednesday): 7 to 9 PM
Presentation at St. Michael’s College
Event Link: http://bit.ly/before-columbus (A Zoom link will be emailed to registrants)
While white women were the property of their husbands, Haudenosaunee (traditional Iroquois) women had more authority and status before Columbus than United States women have today. Women of the Six Nation Iroquois Confederacy had the responsibility for putting in place the male leaders. They had control of their own bodies and were economically independent. Committing violence against a woman kept a man from becoming Chief in this egalitarian, gender-balanced society. Rape and wife beating were rare and dealt with harshly.
Women’s Suffrage: The Rest of the Story
October 22 (Thursday): 2:00 to 3:30 PM
Presentation at Community College of Vermont
Event Link: http://bit.ly/rest-of-the-story (A Zoom link will be emailed to registrants)
“I am sick of the song of suffrage”, Elizabeth Cady Stanton wrote to Matilda Joslyn Gage in the 1880s. Gage concurred. These two women had begun to think differently than Susan B. Anthony, their co-leader of the National Woman Suffrage Association, who believed the movement should concentrate on getting women the vote. We already have that right, Gage contended. We need to look at the larger issues, Stanton and Gage agreed. Those issues were: creating a system of cooperation, not competition; ensuring that every child born was wanted and women were the “absolute sovereigns” of their bodies; rebalancing economic disparity while gaining equal pay for women and demanding a “true” religion, one that fostered freedom and equality for all.
Power, Privilege and the Vote: Women, Culture and Herstories of Suffrage
October 22 (Thursday): 5 to 6:30 PM
Presentation at University of Vermont
Event Link – only available the day of event: https://bit.ly/35POSiO
This presentation explores important influences in the US Women’s Suffrage movement that are often forgotten. Who were the women presidential candidates in the 1800’s? What were the challenges they faced? How did the indigenous people influence ideas of women’s suffrage and rights? Who was not included in the US suffrage movement and why? As we approach the 2020 election, how can the herstories of the women’s suffrage provide a lens through which to explore the ongoing creation of democracy in our country?
A Woman Presidential Candiadate – In 1872 and 1884
October 23, (Friday) 4:00 to 5:00 p.m.
Presented by Middlebury College Feminist Resource Center at Chellis House, Middlebury College
Event Link: https://middlebury.zoom.us/meeting/register
Continuing our exploration of the suffrage centennial, Dr. Sally Roesch Wagner will talk about two 19th century activists who ran for president even though women had not achieved the right to vote: Victoria Woodhull, the first woman to set up a brokerage firm, declared her candidacy for President of the United States in 1872 and chose Frederick Douglass as her running mate. While Woodhull never carried out a presidential campaign, Belva Lockwood did in 1884. One of the first female lawyers in the U.S., Lockwood was nominated by the Equal Rights Party. Belva Lockwood declared that she intended to “get up a grand agitation on the woman question,” thus advancing the cause for women’s suffrage.
Singer and historian Linda Radtke will open and close all three programs with music which was essential to the movement: each state convention of suffragists began and ended with songs. Linda, a Vermont high school teacher for 31 years and a classically trained singer, will perform suffrage songs.
These programs are partially funded by WILPF US, Vermont Humanities Council, Anne Slade Frey Charitable Trust, Vermont Federal Credit Union, Walter Cerf Fund of the Vermont Community Foundation, Northfield Savings Bank, St. Michael’s College, University of Vermont, and Community College of Vermont. In addition to these public events, Dr. Wagner will present to several Vermont high school audiences.