Ms. Blog Countdown to 2011

December 6


In 1920, the 19th Amendment granted U.S. women the long-overdue right to vote. In the months, years and decades prior to this momentous occassion, suffragists like Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Sojourner Truth, and many others tried to raise awareness about the issue of women's rights through protests, speeches, and pamphlets.

A number of women also published prose and verse in support of women's suffrage, and I've chosen two such texts for us today: the 1911 Suffrage Songs and Verses by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (author of "The Yellow Wallpaper") and Alice Duer Miller's 1915 Are Women People?: A Book of Rhymes for Suffrage Times. Both are available as free ebooks for your reading pleasure. Here's a small sample:

From Suffrage Songs and Verses

COMING

Because the time is ripe, the age is ready,
Because the world her woman's help demands,
Out of the long subjection and seclusion
Come to our field of warfare and confusion
The mother's heart and hands.

Long has she stood aside, endured and waited,
While man swung forward, toiling on alone;
Now, for the weary man, so long ill-mated,
Now, for the world for which she was created,
Comes woman to her own.

Not for herself! though sweet the air of freedom;
Not for herself, though dear the new-born power;
But for the child, who needs a nobler mother,
For the whole people, needing one another,
Comes woman to her hour.


And, from Are Women People?:

INTRODUCTION

Father, what is a Legislature?

A representative body elected by the people of the state.

Are women people?

No, my son, criminals, lunatics and women are not people.

Do legislators legislate for nothing?

Oh, no; they are paid a salary.

By whom?

By the people.

Are women people?

Of course, my son, just as much as men are.