Tag Archives: politics

Blocks Thirty-One And Thirty-Two

What, another twofer?  Yes – seeing as how two weeks ago my iron did a full gainer off the ironing board (long story having to do with my bigoldfatone).  That one event put a halt to all things quilt related, and it took so stinkin’ long for the replacement dry iron to arrive.  Methinks the vendor made a tidy little profit on shipping costs judging by the length of time it took to get here vs. the $$ I paid.

Block Thirty-One: Tinted Chains

The title Tinted Chains, refers to the circumscribed lives of women who were bound to husbands, families, and homes; chattel, denied the right to voice an opinion at the polls.

I pulled in a new fabric, a medium gold plaid, to replace the orange fabric that I 86ed.  No matter how hard I coaxed, the orange just wouldn’t play nice.  I probably spent more time auditioning fabrics for the Tinted Chains block than it took to make, but I do admire the finished piece.

Tinted Chain Barbara Brackman Fight For Womens Rights Quilt Grandmother's Choice

Block Thirty-Two: Mr. Roosevelt’s Necktie

The block is called Mr. Roosevelt’s Necktie in reference to the Bull Moose (Progressive) Party’s use of the women’s suffrage plank in the failed 1908 presidential race.

Is it a necktie?  Or is it a doggy treat?  My first impression of this pattern was a dog bone – try as I might, I can’t get that image out of my head.  I’m all about the more traditional bow tie pattern, and I admit that I’ve reached the point where I actually kind of enjoy Y-seams, but I don’t mind adding a variation to my pattern book.

Mr. Roosevelt's Necktie Barbara Brackman Fight For Womens Rights Quilt Grandmother's Choice

Much can be done by law towards putting women on a footing of complete and entire equal rights with man – including the right to vote, the right to hold and use property, and the right to enter any profession she desires on the same terms as the man… Women should have free access to every field of labor which they care to enter, and when their work is as valuable as that of a man it should be paid as highly.  Theodore Roosevelt, 1913

Block Fourteen: Bride’s Knot

Bride's KnotThis week’s block in the Fight For Women’s Rights Quilt Project is: Bride’s Knot – Invisible Women.

We revisited the subject of women losing possession of everything they owned, even the clothes on their back at the moment they married.  The bride instantly became a chattel, another piece of personal property with no rights of her own… an invisible woman.

This block happens to be a variation on one of my favorite patterns, Churn Dash.  It’s a versatile block, with so many different possibilities, and all dependent on fabric color and placement.

If you’d like to see some different interpretations, jump on over to the Grandmother’s Choice Flickr Group.  The blocks may just knock your socks off.

I could have added in some more colors and made this a lot more intricate and interesting, giving it a true knot effect.  Instead, I kept it simple, using the chrome yellow to represent a plain gold wedding band.

Block Nine: Brick Pavement

Today’s block is in remembrance of the March 3, 1913 women’s suffrage parade in Washington, DC.

The event was organized by the suffragist team of Alice Paul and Lucy Burns (no, I did not say Burns and Allen), who secured endorsement from the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA), but were required to raise funds to support the project elsewhere.

The parade was to take place the day before the inauguration of President-elect, Woodrow Wilson and the reason given was: “to march in a spirit of protest against the present political organization of society, from which women are excluded.”

In short, they hoped to draw attention to the fact that it was time for a federal amendment supporting the right of women to vote.

https://i1.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/00/Suffrage_march_line_How_thousands_of_women_parade_today_at_Capitol_1913.jpg

Illustration from New York Evening Journal. New York, NY: Star Co., March 4,1913 p. 2, col. 4.

It was to be a gala turnout and a peaceful one, led by Inez Millholland, a labor lawyer.  The parade was comprised of nine bands, more than twenty floats, four mounted brigades, and 5,000 suffrage delegates from around the world.  The parade was to begin on Pennsylvania Avenue, and events were planned to cap the event – a pageant at the Treasury Building, and Helen Keller was to speak at Constitution Hall (yes, I did say speak).

https://i2.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a4/Official_program_Woman_Suffrage_Procession_Washington_D.C._March_3_1913.jpg

Illustration by Dale for the National American Woman Suffrage Association.

NAWSA parade, March 3, 1913. Photo courtesy Library of Congress.

NAWSA parade, Washington, DC, March 3, 1913. Photo courtesy of Library of Congress.

Who Knows What Evil Lurks In The Hearts Of Men? The Shadow Knows!

Much as I’d like to take a sharp left turn to a more pleasantly nostalgic subject –  note the reference to an old radio program – I won’t.  Like a lot of people, I tend to view the past through rose-colored glasses.  Simpler times, right?

Apparently the mere thought of five thousand women with a mission struck fear in the hearts of American men.  After traveling just a few city blocks, the marchers found themselves blocked by an assemblage, most in town to attend the inauguration.  The men were not hampered by the local police; on the contrary, they were often abetted by Washington’s Finest who happily joined the festivities by heckling and harassing the marchers.

The crowd blocks forward progress of the NAWSA parade. Photo courtesy of Library of Congress.

The parade continued, the marchers often having to pass single file through the crowd of men until things got out of hand.  The marchers were physically assaulted, and according to reports, it took two ambulances six hours to locate and remove one hundred injured marchers.

Red Cross Ambulance, NAWSA parade in Washington, DC, March 3, 1913. Photo courtesy of Library of Congress.

Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson responded to a belated request from the chief of police – Stimson authorized the use of a troop of cavalry from nearby Fort Myer to help control the crowd.

Ahem – take one more look at the photos – seriously, just a troop?  That’s what, 120 mounted men or thereabouts?

Newspapers the next day were outraged by the humiliation and injury suffered by the marchers – just so much fuel for the fire being fanned by Alice Paul.  It seems to me that Alice learned her lessons well during the time she spent in England with those militant suffragettes – a workable formula – passive resistance, met with predictable violence, drawing syndicated newspaper attention to further engage the moral outrage of the average citizen.

Do you see a pattern here?

A heartfelt thank you goes out to Barbara Brackman, who manages to spark my curiosity and fire my imagination every single week.

Block Seven: Alice’s Flag

I really enjoy fussy cutting, but I may have pushed the envelope a little far today – the pattern was too irregular for cutting five repeated segments.

A couple of the motifs turned out well, others have a squashed look.  The points aren’t exactly sharp and it does wobble a bit, but lucky for me, little flaws like these will quilt out.

No matter how long you’ve been quilting, it continues to be a learning process – and I’m happy enough with the block that I won’t cry “do-over”.

Alice Stokes Paul (Or – Where Did I Hide That Soapbox?)

Today, Barbara Brackman reintroduced me to Alice Paul (b. January 11, 1885 – d. July 9, 1977).  Intrigued, I started exploring further and discovered that Alice Paul was an extremely well educated woman: a BA in Biology at Swarthmore College, an MA in Sociology and a PhD in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania – not stopping there, she earned an LLB from the Washington College of Law at the American University, Washington, DC – zowie!

Alice Stokes Paul, circa 1901

Alice Paul got her chops in activism working alongside Emmeline Pankhurst and other women that caused controversy up, down, and across England, using militant tactics to further awareness of the suffrage movement and secure the vote for women.

Oh yeah, we’re talking seriously dedicated suffragettes here.

Returning to the US, Paul joined the National American Woman Suffrage Association, but when her tactics started to create tension among the leaders, she and that organization parted ways.  With the help of a few of her colleagues and funding from Alva Belmont – a multi-millionaire and socialite – the National Women’s Party was formed.

Mr. President How Long Must Women Wait for Liberty?

The NWP began an active campaign of non-violent protest, and on January 10, 1917 they moved the action to the White House.  Alice Paul and a dozen other protesters simply held banners stating their demand to the right to vote – these women became known as Silent Sentinels.  The picketing lasted until June 4, 1919 when a joint resolution of Congress passed the 19th Amendment.

They picketed for two and a half years.  In all weather.  All day.  All night.  Every day except for Sunday.

Silent Sentinels – National Women’s Party picketers outside the White House

During that time Alice Paul and other Silent Sentinels were assaulted, arrested, convicted and imprisoned at the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia.  Alice Paul was sentenced to seven months, and for two weeks she was held in solitary confinement on a diet of bread and water.  When too weak to walk, she was removed to the prison hospital where she began a hunger strike.  Others joined her.

By her refusal to eat, and afraid she might die, doctors prescribed a program of mandatory feedings – three times a day for three weeks a tube was forced down her throat.  I suppose a diet of raw eggs and milk would keep a person alive.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch… the assault on the Silent Sentinels continued inside the Occoquan Workhouse.  Guards brutalized the women – they were dragged, beaten, kicked and choked.  Newspapers began to report the treatment of the protesters which helped to create more support for the suffrage movement.

Wasn’t this an ugly piece of American history that we were never taught in school?

Alice Paul survived imprisonment – she served her sentence, and on release resumed the fight for women’s rights.

It is incredible to me that any woman should consider the fight for full equality won. It has just begun. There is hardly a field, economic or political, in which the natural and unaccustomed policy is not to ignore women…Unless women are prepared to fight politically they must be content to be ignored politically. — Alice Paul, 1920

Alice Paul celebrating the ratification of the 19th Amendment – August 18, 1920.

Here are some sources that I found interesting:

The Alice Paul Institute

The Sewall-Belmont House Museum

Jailed For Freedom by Doris Stevens

Block Six: Aunt Eliza’s Star

Barbara Brackman gave us a lovely block to work on this week – a pattern that dates to Martha Washington’s era.  In addition, Barbara related a brief history of Martha’s granddaughter, Eliza Custis.

At age nineteen, Eliza married Mr. Thomas Law, and she may not have made the most suitable choice for a husband – you see, it was said that Mr. Law had a reputation.

The marriage eventually failed due to Mr. Law’s open infidelities, and in the process of divorce, Eliza not only lost the property she brought to the marriage (including property supposedly protected by a prenuptial agreement), but her only child as well.

Children, like a woman’s inheritance, remained with the man after a separation or divorce… In punishing his wife by forbidding her to see her daughter Law was following social and legal tradition on both sides of the Atlantic. His brother Lord Ellenborough, chief justice of the King’s Bench, set British precedent for the male’s sole right to custody in an 1804 case, returning a child to a violent man because the father “is entitled by law to the custody of his child.”  — Barbara Brackman

Until well into the 20th century, with very few exceptions, a woman lost everything during a divorce.  It didn’t matter why the marriage failed, loss of child custody was the likely outcome.

After reading Eliza’s story, I found myself in a retrospective mood when I began selecting fabric for Aunt Eliza’s Star.  One very quiet block was the result.

Block Five: New Jersey

I have to admit that I went to Barbara Brackman’s blog this morning with a sense of dread and just a little trepidation.

As a matter of fact, it was my other half that wondered out loud about today’s block before I did.  Not that I’m not pleased with last week’s block, I am, and I’m mightily happy with both versions, but I will admit that it was a challenge.

During The Fight For Women’s Rights, there were the law-abiding members of the suffrage movement who were known as suffragists, and a sub-group, the suffragettes – and thanks to Paul McCartney, most of us have heard of the latter.

The suffragettes were the more militant arm of the movement and by taking such actions as chaining themselves to railings, setting fire to mailbox contents, smashing windows and occasionally detonating bombs, they made sure that notice was taken.

Anarchists?  Maybe just a little around the edges, but if I had lived during the period of history that we’re saluting with this quilt, I would have been honored to have been numbered among them.

So for all those women that made sure that I could voice my opinion in the voting booth, I decided to make my mark boldly.  I’m tickled pink (or should I say orange?) with this block – the X represents the mark made on a ballot, and I intentionally tried to echo it with smaller versions made by the pattern in the background fabric.

Crazy woman needs to start on version two – and with a waggle of the fingers and a blithe toodles, I’m off to the cutting table.

Excuse Me… You So Did Not Say Feminazi!

I’ve been asked about the purpose of those odd title lines buried in my last post.  You know the ones I mean – those little reminders of how bad TV commercials can be in terms of stereotyping and their annoyance factor.

The titles started wanting to pop in about the time I finished typing the second paragraph:

For a woman of today, the opportunity to voice an opinion with a vote is something that is very often taken for granted, but enfranchisement just wasn’t always so.  It was such a short time ago that we American women gained that right.

Gonna Have To Get Militant On You

I badly wanted to add more to that paragraph.  I badly wanted to say that without the first baby step of the 19th Amendment, women today wouldn’t have many of the things we take for granted.  I easily could have gone into a really preachy sermon on birth control and managing our own reproductive rights, laws enacted regarding rape and violence against women, about women’s shelters, and about equal opportunity, to name more than a few.

And that last subject is a biggie as well, don’t ever think otherwise.  Just within my lifetime we’ve seen some changes.  I could’ve gone on at length on the subject of women in the workforce.

Here’s a scenario – all of a sudden you find that you’re a single parent.  What are you going to do?  Sit around and hope the child support gets paid while trying to survive on welfare payments and food stamps?  No, you’re going to have to get a job, and not just a low-wage, low-self esteem job – a real job.  You’re going to need the knowledge and possess the ability to compete for that job, and you’re going to have to carry on the fight for the women that come after you.

Let’s go back a few years and take a look at the way American women stepped out of the home and into the factories during WWII.  They weren’t keeping the home fires burning, they were keeping ‘the boys’ supplied with guns and ammunition, planes and jeeps,  tanks, ships and uniforms, and they managed to do it all while living on ration stamps.   When the war was over and the men came home, they took those jobs back from their wives and sweethearts – and with a pat on the head and a not-so-gentle shove, women found themselves right back where they started, grateful that their menfolk had returned, but back in the kitchen nonetheless.

File:We Can Do It!.jpg

1942 Poster for Westinghouse
By J. Howard Miller

Rosie the Riveter was created during that war, but she wasn’t just another poster gal, she later became the embodiment of a movement – “We can do it!” – became a collective shout aimed at women everywhere.

May 1943 Saturday Evening Post
Cover by Norman Rockwell

Rosie as portrayed by Norman Rockwell: he posed Rosie in a position similar to the prophet Isaiah as painted by Michelangelo on the ceiling of the Cistine Chapel.  Rockwell continued to play with symbolism and put a copy of Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler underneath Rosie’s foot, clad in red sock à la Van Johnson, (a popular film actor of the era) and penny loafer.

Stepping Down From The Soapbox

I enjoy keeping house (okay, that’s a lie), and I enjoy planning and cooking meals (now that’s a really big lie), and I take a lot of pride in my job and the knowledge that I’ve gained over the course of my working years (ah – here’s a nugget of truth).   But all the while I remind myself that to the women of my mother’s generation, most of the opportunities that I enjoy were not available.

Let’s wrap this thing up: those tag lines from commercials were simply indicators that a more cynical side of me was trying very hard to be heard, and that I was having a bit of a struggle suppressing it.  Now the cat’s out of the bag and if you stayed with me through this post, you have the answer to that mystery (and you got at least part of the sermon after all).