It was an incredible time experiencing the conference and opening reception of the exhibition! You could feel the exciting energy of the participants and the speakers. What we at the New York Cultural Heritage Tourism Network had been working on and part of for three years came to an exciting culmination in this conference. Excitement and greater commitment to the cause were generated along with finding sisters and brothers akin to the task of working toward true equality and a bigger celebration nationally in 2020.
Speaking from her great passion, Sally Roesch Wagner shared her humorous stories working for women’s rights and equality in the 1960s and 70s as well as her suffering heartache from the pain of violation. We cried with her as she felt safe with us gathered in our mutual trust and care to declare what she had kept in her heart for too long.
Our dear friends and colleagues, Anne Rostosky and Brenda Conway, drove up from Pennsylvania to attend the opening reception dressed as suffragettes. With them, Ted and I experienced the excellent, thoroughly-detailed exhibition with countless artifacts related to the struggle for women’s rights and their right to vote.
I was so pleased to see that Lillie Devereux Blake was an integral part of the struggle for women’s right to vote. Her photographs and stories about her participating actively and leading parts of the movement in New York State were astounding. It was Lillie who championed creating the Margaret Fuller Memorial and Pavilion at Point O’Woods, Fire Island, in 1901.
It was exciting to see Rep. Bella Abzug and Betty Friedan leading one of the marches for women’s rights in a huge blown-up photograph in the exhibition. To hear and see Bella Abzug on film speaking about getting her own credit card without her husband’s signature of approval was extraordinary!
As I read the beautifully-illustrated and storied exhibition catalogue which accompanies the terrific show, I am grateful that the curators included Margaret Fuller in the initial chapter focusing on the agitation women were causing for their rights. They included her extraordinary book, Woman in the Nineteenth Century, in its 1855 edition which her friend, Ralph Waldo Emerson, helped bring forth.
Our dear, long-time friend, Marguerite Kearns, came from Santa Fe, New Mexico, to celebrate her Quaker grandmother’s “Spirit of 1776” Suffrage Wagon from Long Island which is on display in the exhibition. It was Marguerite who brought me into the New York Network’s Women’s Rights and Suffrage History committee’s monthly conference call as well as told me about the Pomeroy Foundation Historical Marker grants.
I will learn more and share more here as I carefully peruse and explore more about the suffrage movement in NYS from this extensive exhibition catalog.
It was a fabulous day and evening! If you can, please come out to the exhibition which goes on until May 18, 2018. You will never be the same!