New York Suffrage Centennial 1917-2017
TALKING TO FIFTH GRADERS ABOUT THE SUFFRAGE MOVEMENT:
Usually, I talk to adults, university graduates and activists, so an invite from P.S. 10 in Brooklyn, NY was daunting.
Maybe a hundred unruly ten and eleven year olds filled the auditorium. I had hit on the idea of showing pictures of the huge parades in the city and featuring the horses. it worked; "HORSES," they screamed.
(For grown-ups: the women are riding their own horses. This tells you something about class.)
I interrupted the shouting. It felt warm. Should we open the auditorium windows? Let's vote on that.
The kids jumped out of their seats, waving their hands and screaming.
"Wait," I said. "Only the boys can vote."
A howl went up.
"What?" "Why?" "NO WAY!"
Things calmed down enough for us to discuss what rules were "fair" or "not fair." Not letting the girls vote, they agreed, was "not fair."
And if any of them saw someone being treated unfairly, what should they do about it?
From the cacophony of voices, I made out one recurrent sentence: "I'd tell Obama."
So voting does matter, right?
Afterwards, the principal wrote: "The students found you engaging, informative and fun. They walked away with a wealth of information and even electively began to do research on their own."
PBS "HISTORY DETECTIVES" INVESTIGATED THIS BANNER, which says "New York" but has no date. The keys to identifying it are (1) the image, which is based on a sculpture called "The Suffragist Elevating Her Sisters" and (2) the color. Purple banners usually belong to the early part of the 20th century, but were discouraged when they became associated with Alice Paul and the "militants."
"Louise is a dynamic, brilliant and entertaining historian who dazzled us with her information, inspiration, wit and charm." Susan Faupel, Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault
"We were honored and thrilled to have you offer your insightful presentations on behalf of our little (but mighty) museum. Audiences raved about your work and the opportunity to meet you in person." Ashley Gardner, San Diego Women's History Museum