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tv   American Artifacts Votes for Women Exhibit Part 2  CSPAN  August 19, 2020 9:36am-10:11am EDT

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two-part tour of the national portrait gallery votes for women exhibit marking the centennial of the 19th amendment. you can watch this and other american artifacts programs by visiting our website at >> every saturday at 8:00 p.m. eastern on american history tv on c-span 3 go inside a different college classroom and hear about topics ranging from the american revolution, civil rights and u.s. presidents, to 9/11. >> thanks for your patience and for logging in to class. >> with most college campuses closed due to the impact of the coronavirus, watch professors transfer teaching to a virtual setting to engage with their students. >> gorbachev did most of the work to change the soviet union, but reagan met him halfway, reagan encouraged him, reagan supported him. >> freedom of the press which we'll get to later, i should mention madison called it freedom of the use of the press
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and it is, indeed, freedom to print things and publish things and it is not a freedom for what we refer to now as the press. >> on c-span 3, every saturday at 8:00 p.m. eastern, lectures in history is also available as a podcast. find it where you listen to podcasts. >> next, a visit to the smi smithsonian's national portrait gallery. in the second of a two part program, american history tv is given a guided tour marking the centennial of the 19th amendment. miss lemay explores the national women's party tactics under the leadership of alice paul. >> hi, i'm kate lemay, the curator of votes for women, a portrait of persistence, which is an exhibition on view at the
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national portrait gallery at the smithsonian institution. i'm standing in front of what we call our title treatment. it's a large blow up of a german born actress. she was acting as columbia, a figure which represents the united states during the finish or the conclusion of the 1913 parade in washington, d.c., and that's just one event of the long suffrage movement that this exhibition highlights. we have 124 objects that goes into the long history beginning in 1832 and bringing it right up to 1920, but then also declaring the 19th amendment and what it didn't do, which was to enfranchise all women, including women of color, so i then took the exhibition right up to the voting rights act of
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1965. if you'll come with me, we're going to go and explore the 1913 parade more in depth. so, we are standing in front of photo postcards of the 1913 parade organized by alice paul, and this was a completely different tactic than what had been done before by other suffragists. what alice paul was trying the to do was to create headlines and so she, after spending some time in britain, she basically got radicalized by the british suffragists and learned how to create attention grabbing kind of spectacles and events. when she came back to the united states in 1911 and '12 she then organized with the congressional union this parade. 8,000 suffragists marched down
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from the capitol here in the beginning down pennsylvania avenue and then they stopped at the treasury building which is basically the end of pennsylvania avenue. at the treasury building they had this pageant as you can see lady liberty in her attendance. in between the suffragists had to make their way through 500,000 spectators. that's a huge number. one of the problems of this parade was that it did not have police protection because the chief of police in washington, d.c. was not a friend to suffragists. so he denied them police protection, even though alice paul had applied for a permit. instead, the secretary of war, who is part of the presidential cabinet, henry l. simpson put the national -- what we would think of the national guard on stand by in nearby fort myers in virginia. so when the crowd got really
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unruly and started, basically, man handling and being very aggressive towards the suffragists that's when they literally called in the calvary from virginia and had that group serve as the protectors of the suffragists. so it was quite dramatic in that sense because the suffragists were not expecting these huge, huge crowds. but they did upstage president wilson because the next day was his inaugural speech for his first term as president and almost nobody showed up to his speech and he asked where is everybody and he was told all of the spectators had come out the day before to see the suffragists. on my left, your right is the official program for women's suffrage. you can see, this is one of four existing programs that remain from the parade.
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you can see how there's the joan of arc figure and she's in this purple robe which is the color of royalty and she's walking down in front of the capitol, presumably pennsylvania avenue, with her trumpet from which a banner that says "votes for women" hangs. she's heralding in this new cause for freedom. i mentioned alice paul who had trained or been radicalized by the british suffragette movement and she brought back those compelling tactics to the united states, and she's really the sort of next generation of suffragists. she's broken off from the national american women's suffrage association which was led by anna howard shaw, and she's employing these more attention grabbing tactics like the parade as well as creating
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visual culture like this poster that i'm standing next to, and in this case it was dickinson who made this great poster. he was employed by the container corporation of america which was a major company in the mid century but he was married to a suffragist. i think that's the connection, the husbands of these women were out there advocating and being active for the cause of having a political voice, they were doing their best to try to support women. you can see, he's incorporated the double-headed ax and a winged hat, which is worn by this ancient god of hermes. it's illustrating she's basically the divine messenger of quality. the double headed axe was significant or symbolizing the mother goddess. there's all these ways that suffragists were trying to communicate these ideas of quality by reaching back to
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ancient civilization and saying women have had these rights for all this time, why not women in american society as well. nina was an illustrator and artist who worked and made over 200 illustrations like this one called "his district" from 1916. she worked to help the suffrage cause by creating depictions of women at work advocating for the cause. they were then published in the suffragist which was a magazine newspaper that the national women's party produced for years and years. and so here we see this young woman who is very much educating herself by reading a book called "campaign textbook" and she's beautifully dressed. she has a nice sort of embroidered shirt on with her
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hair up with a cloth and well done and she's wearing nice shoes and she's sitting in front of her desk that's crowded with books. the books are "list of voters" and it's all specific to the map of "his district," and so all of this is to exemplify how suffragists were lobbying and they were the first group to really understand what lobbying was and entailed and what it meant and how that would gain them basically political power through convincing their representatives and the legislators of whatever his district was. this could apply to any state. so this is part of that state by state kind of effort that the suffragists were doing. but under the lead of alice paul they were really interested in the federal amendment. so they were not asking the
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state by state representatives to change their referendum, instead, would you support an amendment if it were to be passed, would you pass it in the house, would you pass it in the senate and convince your fellow legislators in the state to ratify it when it goes out for two-thirds of the ratification that's necessary. so nina alder is a great figure in the suffrage movement because she helped to popularize it, she helped people understand it. she herself was educated at the cochran school of art and the philadelphia academy of fine arts. she was a great artist in and of her own right. so we're really excited to get some of these objects on the wall in the exhibition to make sure we understand today how the suffrage movement was being taught in its own ranks during the era of the 19 teens.
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in 1917, alice paul decided to do something even more drastic than marching down pennsylvania avenue and that was to pickett the white house. this is one of the first groups of picketers that were nonviolent, that stood outside of the white house and basically declared their protests of the president in a personal terms. they would carry banners that said, "mr. president, what will you do for women's suffrage?" the president, of course, being woodrow wilson who had been elected in 1913 and carry out two terms as president and he did not endorse the suffrage cause until 1919. so we have about, at this point we're in 1915, and then in 1917 they start to pickett the white house and there's two long years of picketting. every day these women would stand outside of the white house
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and hold their silent sentinel as they referred to by the press. they would leave their headquarters which was across lafayette square which was situated in front of the white house. on the other side of lafayette square was the headquarters of national women's party. they would leave their headquarters with banners in hand, carrying the colors of purple, white and gold which they had adopted purple into suffrage colors with alice paul's new group, the national wom women's party, around 1913, and basically that is what they did for two years and stood their ground. they also included -- you can see at the top there's college women, so they are wearing their banners of which colleges they went to, so they had days in which college women would protest or different state delegations would protest or
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even working women would protest too. so they would take working women only had one day off a week from work, and so that was on a sunday. basically they couldn't protest unless it was a sunday. so we can talk about the working women here. you see the title cover of the maryland suffrage news depicts a woman who was white, who was a seamstress who has been working more than eight hours today, which are normal working hours that are regulated by federal law. there were no laws that regulated working. so working women felt that they were being abused by -- and there were no laws that could protect them, so this woman has basically passed out at her sewing desk and the illustration made by
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mary taylor, it was done for one of the many suffrage chapters across the united states, the maryland suffrage chapter, and it's from the collections of the maryland historical society. so suffragists were eventually arrested, and they were arrested for obstructing traffic, which wasn't exactly their fault. it was, in fact, all of the male spectators that had come out to jeer at them that were creating the blocks of sort of the masses of human bodies that were obstructing traffic. but they were arrested, and you can see in this picture, this portrait of these two women the policeman is holding their banner, so they're confiscating the banners. and the women are most likely not going to pay their fine and then they would be sen ttenced jail in the d.c. jail or in the
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work house. and what i find interesting is they're very well-dressed. so the women that were picketing were from an elite wealthy background, the majority of them. as i mentioned before there were working women that would help picket on some days. and working women were very much a part of the suffrage cause later on. but there were no african-americans that were a part of this movement or this effort at this point because, a, alice paul did not include them. but, b, i also wonder because they're a vulnerable population to be arrested meant that they were putting themselves at a higher risk even than the privileged white women were at. so there was a kind of balance i think they were striking at this point in time. and the top photo you can see that there's lucy branner who's
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college educated, she's pursuing her phd at columbia university and she's protesting that alice paul who at this point had been in prison late 1917, that the government give paul and the other suffrage prisoners the privileges of the american political prisoner. so the american government did not treat the suffragists as political prisoners. they treated the suffragists as criminals. this meant that there was poor food, there was no reading, there was no privileges given to the suffragists when they were in prison. so the suffragists immediately picked up on that and created banners to that spoke to that to point out the russian government gave a political activist those privileges so why wouldn't the american government do the same for other political activists in
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the united states is the question. and so if we move this way you can see another really beautiful drawing and she's likening the suffrage effort where the women are getting grabbed and assaulted even by angry men. she's likening that moment to training for the draft. and so in april of 1917 the united states entered world war i. and this is a major, major moment for suffrage because then the suffragists were able to say that, you know, they were doing all this effort on the home front or, you know, they were serving as nurses and doctors with the red cross and with their own suffrage support units -- units supported by the suffragists. and getting involved in the war directly. so why couldn't they have a political voice if they were basically giving up their lives
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for the united states? so nina allander's drawing really gets to that where these suffragists are carrying banners that say democracy begins at home and, mr. president, what will you do for suffrage. and meanwhile these angry men are attacking the women carrying the banners. this is the piece of cotton the imprisoned suffragists arrested they then in prison decided to create their own embroidered signatures, and it's on a piece of burlap. and it's kind of a record or witness to the testimony the fact they were there and this happened to them. and finally on this wall you have two photographs. one is of lucy barns in jail.
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she was also with alice paul, one of the leaders of this militant suffrage moment in the history of the suffrage movement. and here you see the arrests of these suffragists. so they're being put in police wagons and being carted off to basically be sentenced to jail. from 1917 through the end of 1919 the suffragists led by alice paul continued to picket outside of the white house. and i was really interested to see images of these suffragists almost up close and personal, almost environmental because i wanted to emphasize these were individuals with their own lives, you know, spending their time which we all know is precious on this important cause. and so the video behind me is playing through some of images of them picketing.
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and they kept up the pressure. and so by creating the headlines and by creating the spectacle i think the suffragists finally achieved the kind of momentum that they were really searching for throughout the entire movement. because the pressure that they placed on president woodrow wilson was so much he finally endorsed the cause. and when he did on may 21st of 1919 the amendment that was proposed actually passed the house of representatives and then it passed in the senate on june 4, 1919. at which point the amendment was sent out to the states to get two-thirds of them to seen off on ratifying this amendment which would then become law. so this part of the exhibition really kind of covers the
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militant suffragists, explains why they were doing what they were doing. and then in the last room we're going to look at the 19th amendment, see what it actually says and see how womens political voices changed after being granted the right to vote but also to look at which women didn't have the right to vote and what they did about that. when women finally got the right to vote then they had a political voice. and then they were voters, so different parties recruited them in different ways. you've got calvin coolidge running for vice president and explaining to women for your own good vote for the republican party, vote the republican ticket. and so they're producing all this kind of recruitment
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basically. and it says under the 19th amendment i cast my first vote. so clearly it was engaging the new female voter. and so it was for harding and coolidge in the straight republican ticket. on the piece of paper on which the ribbon was sold it says souvenir of this greatest event of my life. so they really dramatized the act of voting. but honestly for some women it really was the greatest event of their life. it meant they had achieved the first step towards equality and gaining a more democratic experience as a citizen of the
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united states through the voting rights that they had achieved. in the concluding gallery of this exhibition i wanted to make sure to point out the texts of the 19th amendment and what it says and what it doesn't say. so it reads "the right of citizens of the united states to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the united states or by any state on account of sex." so letting that sink in when you think about the wording of the 19th amendment as it applies to giving the right to vote to women nowhere does it say guarantees the right to vote. and that is a big difference in its achieving the right to vote for everybody, the sort of what we think the 19th amendment did and the reality of what it did. so in this moment states still
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can find ways through which to disenfranchise voters. and up to this moment, up to our contemporary moment in 2019 there are states and laws out there that are seeking to disenfranchise voters. so we're still contending basically with the wording of this 19th amendment because it's not as specific as we would like it to be. and it wouldn't be until the voting rights act of 1965 that things became very crystal clear and that people had the right to vote and were guaranteed the right to vote and not to be discriminated against based upon their race. i'm standing in front of a portrait of -- who like other native-americans of her generation was forced to attend the carlyle boarding schools
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which created assimilation of native-americans with white society by not allowing them to speak their native languages, by putting them into western dress and so forth. and so as a result she became bilingual, if you will. so she understood the culture of her native tribe which she was a sou indian and also she was able to bridge the gap and talk with white leaders. and as a result she was able to with other native-americans she founded in 107 the society of the american indian merchandise and this was an activist society that really promoted equal rights for native-americans. it was a long and lonely road for native-americans. they weren't even considered citizens of the united states
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until 1924. so this is four years after the 19th amendment essentially granted citizens the right to vote. so that did not apply to native-americans. and ever since native-americans continue to have to fight for their rights including most recently in north dakota when voter enfranchisement laws actually made it so that you cannot vote unless you have a physical address. and so a lot of native-americans on ezervations had po addresses so they are not allowed to vote under these current laws. so if we continue i just wanted to point out also the latinx citizens of the united states
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who include citizens of puerto rico. and we're looking at a portrait made in 1992, so she was quite elderly at this time, but she had been elected as a first female governor of san juan. and in 1932 she was a suffragist. she was actually advocating for the right to vote among literal white women and residing in puerto rico. so she was trying to advocate for suffrage, but it was like the approach and it wasn't until 1945 women across puerto rico, all women were given the right to vote. and later on like i mentioned she was elected as the mayor of san juan in 1946 i believe, which she held for many terms
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through 1958. so she's a really beloved figure. she's not the only suffragist from puerto rico. we don't have a portrait of her, and we couldn't get one in time for this exhibition. so this is a portrait from our own collection that we were able to use to help represent latinx populations in the united states. and finally i'm just showing you -- very active for native-american rights and she was the expert witness when there was a civil rights case in 1879 and so she was able to help
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the native-americans choose where to live. so they had been removed left and right all over the place. so they were attempting to return to their homeland and in this case she was actually able to get help make into law the rights of native-americans to choose where they were able to live. and so this is another example of an activist who was not singly focused on suffrage but was working on all these other ways to help improve womens lives and rights of women within the native communities who, you know, just didn't have that one issue that they were working towards but instead were working towards lots and lots of different things that were coinciding with suffrage, alongside with suffrage. right now we're looking at a
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portrait of lou hamer who was a great activist and especially in the 1964 democratic convention she gave a speech that galvanized the american public because it was televised and she said i'm sick and tired of being sick and tired. and that was alluding to her long struggle to have rights as an african-american, citizenship rights in the united states. and so earlier she had attempted to vote in the early '50s and she had actually been denied because she was illiterate. as a young woman she had to give up going to school in order to help her family, so she worked as a young woman and never learned how to read. so this is one exam of an activist whose words are spoken from the heart, and she really had this unmeasurable effect in
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influencing at large. it was signed by president linden b. johnson, the voting rights act. this is the later portrait of patsy ming. as a woman of color she's asian-american. she also had seen and witnessed the infringement of her citizenship rights. and so part of her legacy is now the voting rights act but also title 9. after the voting rights act she went onto help design and be an architect of the title 9 amendment, which is basically the equal opportunity and education act that a lot of us
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women have benefitted from so these two figures helped to take the story up to 1965 and even points to beyond to how citizenship rights is an ongoing conversation and how these activists particularly these women really helped change and influence american law. so i'm so excited to have told you a little bit about this exhibition. it included six galleries and this long hallway and it was really covering the time from 1830 until right up to 1920 but also looking and pointing to the events that happened after the passage of the 19th amendment so right up until the 1965 voting rights act. and through the portraits of these women what i'm really hoping people come away with is that these women were empowering themselves and hoped to empower
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us today. they were looking at the past and they were looking at what had not been done. they had setout a task for themselves to change the united states constitution. they did it, and then they have set the example for us today to take our voting rights and to ensure that they remain sacred and that they remain unquestioned and safeguarded for etrpt for american citizens. and so in this exhibition not only are you learning history but hope you are feeling empowered yourselves. >> this was the second of a two part tour of the national portrait gallery's votes for women exhibit marking the centennial of the 19th amendment. you can watch this and other american artifacts programs by visiting our website at >> you're watching american history tv. every weekend on c-span 3
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explore our nation's past. c-span 3 created by america's cable television companies as a public service and brought to you today by your television provider. >> weeknights this month we're featuring american history tv programs as a preview of what's available every weekend on c-span 3. tonight a look at women in politics on the night that democratic vice presidential candidate kamala harris addresses the democratic national convention we show two past convention speeches from women vice presidential nominees. in 1984 democrat geraldine furoaro and sarah palin. watch tonight beginning at 8:00 eastern and enjoy american history tv this week and every weekend on c-span 3. harriet tubman is celebrated for her work as an abolitionist undro


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