I have been writing and blogging about my Quaker activist grandmother since 2009. As the 2020 centennial of women's voting rights approaches, I'm determined to make sure that Quaker women have participation and a presence in the local, state, and national festivities during 2020.
The web site at the National Park Service in Seneca Falls, New York cites Quaker women for their contributions in the first wave of the women’s rights movement in the United States. More often than not, Quaker women aren’t noticed in the swirl of history and the increasingly more complicated current events. Yet Quaker women continue working behind the scenes and in actions at the forefront of supporters of the social justice agenda.
Quaker women have had clout over the centuries, and it’s about time that we bring them out in the open, as much as to spread the word as to inform and inspire ourselves. This means focusing on more than Susan B. Anthony and Margaret Fell. It includes Quaker women’s inspiring roles in abolition, women’s rights, and a wide range of social and political issues, including immigration, social justice, and peace. However, this is strictly academic as long as we keep this good news a secret.
That’s where this blog comes in. We’re developing a go-place to raise the issues and use our findings to support and give substance to our leadings today. It’s one thing to cite a history of an established spiritually-based church. And still another thing to trace accomplishments of a decentralized-history of Quaker individuals and locally, regional, and national associations of Quakers. This is why a record of minutes of Quaker meetings is so important. Quaker record keeping has been essential in our history to keep us alive and healthy. Now Friends—the statistics are not in our favor. A dramatic membership decline over the past few decades has been a wakeup call.
It’s Women’s History Month. This is a perfect time to begin the journey of linking together the past, present, and future. Follow QuakerWomen.com
Meredith Monk may not be a Quaker herself, but she graduated from a Quaker high school. So she is aware of and understands the importance of American women observing and celebrating 2020. Follow QuakerWomen.com for more information about the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution. We’ll be hearing more from Meredith as 2019 progresses.
We have more than a year before August 26, 2020 when we are expecting Quaker women to make a splash with the voting rights centennial. How can you start? By planning now, which is why we’ve devoted this blog to the task.
What are some ideas? Here are a few examples…host a women’s rights film; organize a parade; visit a museum and a library; design a mural; and share your discoveries. There are activities being planned across the nation for August 26th in 2020. Quaker women won’t have a presence unless we get involved.
Zoe Nicholson has devoted her life to studying Quaker activist Alice Paul, and she notes that many Quakers even haven’t heard about her. If you are interested in including Quaker women in the 2020 women’s rights centennial celebrations, consider inviting Zoe Nicholson to a special program. Zoe has been presenting programs on Alice over the past few years. And when preparing for 2020, you can check with Zoe to see when she is available.
Alice was controversial during her lifetime, and she still gets headlines now. There are other programs and special events to consider for 2020. This is a good choice to consider.
Do you know of a Quaker woman, place or event, that deserves a historic marker? This is one way to reach our goal of making Quaker women visible during the 2020 voting rights centennial.
The National Collaborative for Women’s History Sites (NCWHS) and the William G. Pomeroy Foundation have partnered to launch a new historic marker program commemorating the history of women’s suffrage in the U.S The Pomeroy Foundation, a private, grant-making foundation based in Syracuse, NY, is providing grants through its National Women’s Suffrage Marker Grant Program. The purpose is to recognize historically significant people, places or things across the United States instrumental to women gaining the right to vote. Suffrage was a national movement involving a diversity of women and men from all walks of life.
Historic markers awarded through the program will highlight sites on the National Votes for Women Trail (NVWT). The NVWT, a project of the NCWHS, identifies the many sites that were integral to the suffrage movement, and makes them accessible on a mobile friendly website to be easily searched by location, suffragist, ethnicity, and other useful criteria.
If you have an idea for a historic marker to commemorate women’s suffrage in your community, please contact your NVWT State Coordinator to begin the nomination process: https://ncwhs.org/votes-for-women-trail/state-coordinators/. You can also contact the NCWHS directly: https://ncwhs.org/about/contact-us/. Municipalities, nonprofit academic institutions and 501(c)(3) organizations are especially encouraged to submit a nomination. Pomeroy Foundation signage grants are fully funded and cover the entire cost of a marker, pole and shipping. The local partner is responsible for installation of the marker.
Here are some ideas about how to begin planning now for the 2020 women’s vote centennial. You will probably have your own ideas. If you know of local Quaker women, in addition to the most well-known activists, now is the time to get busy networking. You can also contact the Women’s History Alliance (formerly the National Women’s History Project) for suggestions of available programs and other suggestions. This is from the Gazette published by the Women’s History Alliance promoting the 2020 suffrage centennial.