tv Lectures in History Womens Suffrage Movement CSPAN November 12, 2021 6:34am-7:27am EST
lange talks about the suffrage moment. >> so you've been with thinking about images during 19th century period, and specifically today we're going to think about the way that images really constructed gender roles particularly in the 19th century and the ways that activists used images to shape, alter, change gender roles during this time period too. so actually to start off with is
to think about the ways that these images are part of our culture today, and one is the way that por chaits like susan -- portraits like susan anthony's portrait which we see in this parade, she's the closest head to us with the circle glasses. and you see this march down pennsylvania avenue and this emphasis on the very celebrated 19th century women's rights leader. and we'll talk today about how she became such a famous sufficient is rangist not only -- sufficient is rangist not only in the 19th century, but also today -- suffragist. in 1913 we had the same street in washington, d.c., pennsylvania avenue, and one of the reasons why i'm pointing to this image and how it connects to our current, you know, political and social movement culture is because of this image
that was very popular in june of 2020 which was related to the black lives matter. it's briann a that noble riding on a horse in oakland, california. and this image became a viral sensation. perhaps you all saw it. but there's a really interesting similarity between these two women who are riding horses in these urban areas and symbols of these political causes that really gives us a sense of how the similarities between these suffrage images that were so famous from 1913 and images that still resonate with used today. brianna actually became a spokesperson for xfinity. so she ended up, you know, this image ended up not only selling kind of promoting a particular idea, but also selling a particular product. another recent protest image that you all might remember was
this black lives matter being painted outside of washington d.c. and you might also know that suffragists were actually the first group to protest right outside the white house, to picket the white house in 1917. they're the ones that really made this space around the white house such an important place for political protest. and so a hundred years later, just over a hundred years later, it remains that wayed to. and if you've ever been to washington, d.c., you've probably seen someone outside the white house protesting something. and because of these, you know, famous protests, these famous images of these famous protests that we've gotten to that, the place if outside of the white house is so important to our political movement. another image that is probably -- has probably crossed
your media consumption is over the past several years are are images of people wearing white, particularly leading political figures. this is a group from a state of the union address all wearing white, and they're wearing white to recall the suffragists in particular. is so, actually, the suffragists wore white as we saw with the photograph from the 199 13 parade. they -- 1913 parade. they did it for two reasons. one was to emphasize their morality, their virtue, to suggest that they were kind of pure and also kind of connotations that white might have for us. the other reason they did it is because they wanted to show up in black and white photographs. so in these black and white photographs of people marching in the streets, they knew that women in white would show up better in black and white photographs. and and they knew that those back and white photographs, when
they were printed in newspapers, they would show up even better. so even in the 21st century when we see these women in white, you know, in congress, sitting in congress at the state of the union or even in this photograph here, they do tend to stand out, and that is, you know, one of the reasons why suffragists chose white to begin with. so in a lot of ways a lot of the imagery that the suffragists really created throughout the 19th and into the 20th centuries has, is still part of our modern political culture. and i'm actually going to go back a little bit further into the 18th century just to start us off and set us up for the visual conversations that are really taking place during the 19th century. so i'd like to start us off with phyllis dawe. this is a political cartoon from 1775, and it's a london artist.
he probably read about this boycott happening in edenton, north carolina, in a local newspaper. as far as we know, he'd never been to the colony, but this is the scene that he imagined after he read about this boycott. women even in north carolina were signing a petition that they aren't going to purchase tea. and if you look closely at scene, a lot of my images as you can see are from the library of congress. if you do a quick search on our web site, you can view them much more closely than you can on this video. but you can see that there's -- this is not a flattering picture. so there's a woman holding a -- who has this large nose, very unflattering features. there's another one holding a punch bowl which we know is not filled with fruit punch, it's filled with alcohol. there is a group pouring out tea canisters in the background. there's -- all the women in the room are, you know, ignoring the
child who's under the table. these women are supposed to be caring for that child, and the idea here is that these women are ignoring their essential duties as mothers, as caregivers in order to participate in this petition signing. the other detail i really want you to pay attention to is the black woman who's standing behind the woman with the gavel. she's holding a quill and an ink well, and she's not only supporting these women in their participation, she's also very eager to sign is herself. she was interested in the process, interested in participating. and so this image is doing at least two things that i want to really point out to us. one, it is challenging the patriarchy, it's suggesting that if women participate in politics, it will really turn topsy-turvy the gender roles
that colonists are experiencing in american society in the 18th century, right? it'll make women more masculine, it'll mean women are abandoning their families and ignoring their children. the women that we see here also really emphasizes this petition is challenging a racial hierarchy, challenging white supremacy, it's challenging the dominance of slavery which is a really central economic driver in the british colonies during the late 18th century. so the idea here is to laugh at these women, to mock them, to not take them seriously, and it's also expressing anxieties about whether this rebellion that is starting in the colonies might not just challenge the british government, the british empire as they know it, but might also be part of this challenge of gender and racial
hierarchies. and this actually doesn't change much. so i want us to see kind of the similarities of this conversation over time. so as you know, by the 1840s women's rights activists are petitioning on a muched broader scale not only for the right to vote, but also for property rights, to have better access to education, to be participants and leaders within the church, a range of issues. but by 1850 we have the very first national women's rights convention in worcester, massachusetts. so by that time americans throughout the country are very aware of this rising, growing women's rights movement and its vie barnes its increasing power in the united states. and yet the images are changing very little. this is about 75 years after that previous image. you see a woman in the center who is mrs. if perky --
mrs. perky. she's smoke, she's wearing bloomers, she's showing off her ankles which may not seem scanned allow to us in the -- scandalous to us in the 21st century, but would have been remarkable. he has her hand -- she has her hand condescendingly placed on this hand's head who's hunched over looking like a woman doing these menial tasks. both of them are ignoring the child who is crying in the front of the room. you know, his banner says no more papa and mama. in the background we have the two women both holding banners as well also wearing bloomers. one says no more basement and kitchen, and i think she's intending to represent servants, working class women. and the other one is a black one who's smoking a pipe, and she has a sign protesting slavery. so is we have this scene that's very much kind of in the same
world as the previous one. it's suggesting that if women gain rights, if women seek power and win power, they're going to abandon their domestic duties, they're going to force men to become more womenly, and it's going to lead to other changes including challenging the class hierarchy like you see with the domestic servant as well as the racial hierarchy and the system of slavely. all these things are -- slavery. all these things are wrapped up in this 1851 print. and this is a moment when there are a lot of these prints, and it's incredibly broad scale. we know illustrated newspapers are on the rise, these engravings are ever more popular. and so i just want to give you a sense of the bredth of these by showing you -- bredth of these -- breadth of these from harper's magazine. we have a woman smoking a cigar, women wearing men's clothing such as a top hat.
women wearing bloomers, and i should note that these bloomer skirts are very short n. reality, a -- in reality, a lot of them were down to their ankles. we have a woman off to the right side pulling up her bloomer pants and showing off her ankles again. we also have two women with their backs toward us who are actually linking arms, giving us a suggestion that these women are so reliant on each other and so is interested in only promoting the interests perhaps of other women that they're romantically interested in other women as well and kind of fully abandoning men in this version of their reality. and so i want to kind of connect this to some of the civil war industry this we've been talking about in conversations, because by the time we get to the mid 19th century, the association
between women's dress with weakness, with frivolity, with kind of the person you don't take very seriously politically or otherwise becomes part of a meme related to the capture of jefferson davis after the civil war because he is caught wearing women's clothing, and is this becomes an incredibly popular image to reproduce in a variety of ways. so, for example, here are some versions of this image. and if you do some quick searching, you can find many, many more examples of this. and the joke really only works if you think of men in women's clothing as women's clothing as being this kind of signifier that you are less than, that you are weaker, that you are worth mocking, that it's laughable, right? so it's this signifier that he's
no longer a powerful person when we see anymore women's clothing like this. so this is, this is the ways that, you know, even women's imagery when you see them wearing bloomers, suggesting that they're wearing masculine clothing that they are more powerful: these are the way these are are signifiers of their power and their gender roles during this time period. so i want to jump, this is right around the same time period as the last couple of images we looked at, 1869, so just after the civil war. and as you all know in the immediate aftermath of the civil war people are considering what to do next. by 1869 americans are debating the 15th amendment, it's about to be ratified. 15th amendment, of course, prohibits voter discrimination based on race and effectively disenfranchises black men. and people are also wondering should women get the vote too.
so this image by courier and ives, this lithograph, actually suggests what will happen if women win the vote. and it looks to all of us very similar to what we've been seeing, right? we see women with slightly more traditional clothing, but they are wearing kind of frivolous, outland arish versions -- outland arish versions of that clothing. their hair is larger than their heads, extravagant bows. it's really to emphasize that they are kind of too interested in fashion and not practical enough to be proper, you know, voters. one of the kind of favorite details of the theme is the vote for the celebrated man -- [inaudible] using sharp tongue. i think the phrase really explicitly says about what they think about women many politics at the time and, in fact, a lot about what people say in politics, even about women in politics even in the 21st
century. the other detail i want to make sure we point out is this man carrying a baby which is a very popular trope that's repeated over and over again in these women's, anti-women's rights images. and we see this woman telling him that he needs to take care of the baby and this man just absolutely appalled that he's going to have to take care of this. so these anti-women's rights images, as you can see, this is a century after the very first historical image that i showed you. they remain fairly consistent over time, and they really do through the end of the -- with the package of the amendment. and a lot of these themes still are part of our anti-feminist imagery of the 20th century too. and so you can see why suffragists like elizabeth cady
stanton worked very hard to challenge these ideas. one of the things you can probably already tell about these images is that they're not coordinated, right? they are not concern these publishers, these editors, these artists, they aren't in a group together all deciding to coordinate an attack against the women's rights movement. this is simply a more disorganized, loose affiliation where every, you know, publisher knows that the majority of their readers are against women's voting rights. so they publish these images in their illustrated newspapers. most of their readers will support them. and so what we have, one change we have in the 1860s as you know is that -- becomes so very popular. and suffragists have is very little control over mainstream news consumption, news publications. but something they can control, they can take these photographs, they can sell them to at least
their supporters and perhaps even a broader public through a studio. and so it's really the first activist to do this very is effectively and in a very coordinated way. this is one of her many photographs. she -- a lot of her photographs she looks very similar. so this is very thoughtfully posed portrait. and this also says at the bottom, i fill the shadow to support substance. and is you all know photographs are made using -- [inaudible] during this period. she's selling this shadow to support the substance which is not only herself because she is a professional performer and she lives off of the money she makes as a reformer. so she puts money into supporting herself and also the causes that she works towards. she's an anti-slavery and women's rights activist who by
the 1860s is a very popular lecturer, very famous in -- circles, and she decides to sit for this portrait to prove a couple of things. one, she wants to portray herself as a very respectful, respectable, fairly refined motherly, feminine figure. so we can see all of details in this scene are part of that image. we have this kind of suggestion of domesticity with the arrangement of flowers on the table, with with the book and the table cloth as well as the suggestion of kind of womanly activities with the knitting. she's also a emphasizing that he is a very -- she is a very matronly, respectable woman with her clothes. they're not overly frivolous or fashionable, they're a fairly simple, and they really emphasize that she is a working woman, especially because of her
head wrap. in contrast, we have elizabeth cady stanton and susan b. anthony who are far less interested or concerned with appearing domestic or motherly. in fact, the the expressions on their faces are very different. they look more aggressive, defiant. they have a little built less to prove than sojourner truth. sojourner truth is not only challenging the anti-women's rights cartoons, she's also challenging the racist stereotypes that are so popular at the time as well. is so elizabeth cady stanton and susan b. anthony see the success of distributing a portrait like sojourner truth, they see the interest in them, the ways they can challenge these dominant ideas about women's rights leaders, and they decide to do their own portrait in 1870. you can see that they are more interested in showing a little bit more about their fashion. they've got these lacy kind of shawl and this lacy color, and
you can see more jewelry with hem. so they're clearly wealthier than sojourner truth is. but they're really emphasizing that they are leaders of a movement, that you better not cross them and that they are going to be pushing forward together. and this doesn't change anti-women's rights cartoons too much, but it does in one really significant way. and that is the previous illustrations you're looking at often really emphasize nameless, generic women. but once women's individual portraits like susan b. anthony become more familiar, the cartoonists actually identify which suffragists they're making fun of. and you can see basically a copy of this 1870 portrait in this illustration, and it's very similar to the other cartoons that we're looking at earlier. we have susan b. anthony if
wearing very is masculine looking clothing. her skirt is too short. she has boots on, and the boots even have spurs on them. in the background we have a women's political rally, and this was 1873. women were not having these types of rallies yet. we also have a woman who's a police officer and two men who are doing domestic tasks including holding baby and grocery shopping. so very similar to the other images we were looking at but slightly updated. we can tell immediately it's susan b. anthony. and the artist was so intent on emphasizing kind of particularly taking anthony down that the artist actually replicated the eye issue that she had. if you look closely here, you can see that one of her eyes is slightly out of focus, and this is one of the reasons why she often posed in profile, why weeing often think of her image
in profile. the artist perhaps knew this and decided to replicate that for the daily graphic. suffragists still wanted to appear with these kinds of political figures, with these presidential candidates, images that we're so familiar with today. i'm sure you can think of many versions of this immarges of these male -- images of these male political leaders in the many institutions that you've been in. and so they decided to create one of their first major visual representation projects through the history of women's suffrage. first published in 1881, and it eventually became a set of six volumes that were about a thousand pages each that were published from 1881 is-1922. 1881-922. these are two images from the very first volume, and they toll a very particular -- told a very
particular story of the women's suffrage movement. they wanted to emphasize is, first, that women wered leaders. so when they were creating these portraits, they made sure they resembled the portraits you're looking at here. they also decides that they want toed to emphasize that -- wanted to emphasize that they do did not want to include any portraits of men. men were really important to the women's right movement. they were important official leaders and voters and really played a big role in, for example, publication of their newspapers and leadership of organizations. but this book really skewed that image and really only emphasizes female leadership. they also only include big por trades of white -- portraits of white women. so even though they knew sojourner truth, worked with her on and off regularly and others like frances harper, they didn't include any portraits of them.
they also decided to really minimize the ons of the -- the importance of the competing organizations. there was another organization called the american suffragist association that received very little attention in this book. and so they really skewed the version of the history that became the dominant history of the movement and, in fact, still really affects our interpretation of the movement today because we often think about stanton and anthony as the main leaders of the movement. and often the women of color, the fact that lucy is snowden and her organization was dramatically larger than hers, a far more successful newspaper, a all of them often get lost in favor of this written narrative that they created. and this is just to remind you that these anti-women's rights cartoons are still the most popular images in american visual culture in the late 19th century. this is a stereograph from 1899,
very much again suggesting that women participate in politics, they're going to be interested in reading newspapers and paying attention to things other than the laundry which is what this man in the background is doing. so by the late 19th century and early 20th century, suffragists decided to change tactics. so they had promoted portraits of their leaders especially in the late 19th century, but around the turn of the century they decided they really needed a more effective visual campaign. and they needed to respond directly to these political cartoons that suggested that if women win political rights, that they will become manly, right? so this is why imagery like this becomes really the dominant kind of imagery produced by suffragists. this is imagery that really emphasizes that white women need the vote in order to be better mothers. the other thing i really want to emphasize here is that the
suffrage movement gives a lot of women, especially female professional artists, opportunity. and that includes blanch ames who created this image, and it's called double the power of the home, two good votes are better than one. and i want us to pay attention to that phrase, two good votes. this is an emphasis on who ames and many other suffragists like her think of as a good voter, right? so we see this white woman with her children, three children, around her in this ideal home, a tea kettle on the stove steaming away, and this is the kind of good voter that blanch ames and so much others envision ised. and so people who maybe can't have one parent stay at home with their children, for people who don't have as much money as this woman or people of color or, you know, an immigrant
perhaps, these people are not kind of included in this propaganda representation of why women need the vote. and this is a very popular kind of component of the suffrage campaign. this image is by rose o'neill who is another famous professional artist at the time. she also designed the kewpie doll, and she says give women the vote, we need it. part of recollecting theired food, their -- protecting their food, their health, their home, their schools, etc. and this is one of the reasons why suffragists are are arguing women need the vote. and there's also emphasis in response to those political cartoons that women who are suffragists are also fashionable and very feminine. so this is kind of the before and after image from 1911 showing what suffragists used to
look like in popular culture, you know, this very frumpy woman with glasses and her skirt is too short shifting to this elite, fashionable type with this extravagant feathered hat who looks very similar to the ideal white female gibson girl from this era. .. mainstream white organizations led by white women focuses on white women in particular, they are also planning to vote for
women of color. major carol was born enslaved but became one of the first women in the united states, the first black woman to earn a bachelors and masters degree. she was elected to be the first president of the national association of colored women which was founded in 1896. the organization was different from other suffrage organizations. they wanted the vote for women but were thinking more broadly about gender and race-based issues. they were thinking about protecting the vote for black men, they were thinking about anti-segregation, anti-lynching, how to educate their children. there is much more broad and as you can see from this image and many others like it, she emphasizes she and her fellow
black women's rights activists are extraordinarily respectable, refined, elegant. she was interested in fashion and you can see she often has extravagant herself in these images, she's a fairly wealthy woman, fairly elite woman in washington dc at the time and you can see similarities between her and this image from one of her speeches in this representation of an idealized new negro woman from 1904. it is not that dissimilar in silhouette and hairstyle and dress from the gibson girl ideal we were looking at just a moment ago. i to mention this image because almost all the images i have shown so far, this one is really unusual for all the anti-woman's rights cartoons you can find many others like it but this is the only one
that i found in my research that emphasized that black women needed the vote in order to be good mothers, to protect their families. this is from the 1910s, vote for women means to the south and unfortunately the national association of colored women did not have the funds of resources or people power to create the same kind of propaganda white women's organizations did despite the fact they advocated a portion of the organization and budget to be spent on visual campaigning but the naacp created for the crisis and this is one of the few pro-women voting rights propaganda pieces that emphasize black women need political power.
this woman is beating down segregation, jim crow laws and grandfather clauses to protect the women in her skirts. this is emphasizing not only white women need the vote that black women do too and a similar reason, to protect their families. so i want to hop into photographs, different from the images we've been looking at previously and it corresponds with very different tactical shift within the movement itself as well. this is the moment in the early nineteenth century starting in 1907, by the 1910s we have a lot of suffrage activists like this one, this is the 1913 parade we looked at the beginning on her horse in 1913, this is the same parade. this is a very different world of protesting, very different
from the images of women as mothers-to-be been looking at too. this emphasizes that women are taking the streets and very conscious of taking advantage of the fact that halftones are becoming more popular news publications and in this case taking advantage of the fact that the next day's in the duration. they are aware there's a lot of press in washington dc and so they take advantage of that business parade and have this idealized representation and the next image i will show you a better sense of why someone like mary was working so hard on her public image. i want to prepare you for this racist stereotype here.
this is from 1913, making fun of the women participating in the 1913 parade, white women who organizing it did not want to have black and white women march together so originally they were open to it but a contingent of suffragists protested against it and that is what we see here. a white woman appalled that black women want to march with her to also ask for the vote and can see the cartoon is doing two things. it's making fun of the suffragists who don't want them to participate also a racist stereotype of black women who want to march in the parade as well emphasizing facial features, they don't have idealized body types, their fashions are not current so we can see this is doing both things and we understand someone like mary church carol wants to emphasize that black women are spectacle -- elegant
leaders is doing the work she's doing. when thinking about these political protests, in the 1913 parade ivy wells marches in the parade, mary church carol marches in the parade and is able to contend college students from howard university march in the parade too. it's far more integrated than the cartoon suggests that we should also remember they were marching in the parade and some were threatened as well. they were more susceptible to violence. they were more susceptible even to critiques from their fellow marchers. mary church carol participated in pickets in washington dc that i mentioned in the beginning, the first pickets at the white house and they started putting them together
in january of 1917 which is you might know is the same month the united states is entering world war i. there's a lot of controversy whether they should be doing this at the time and i would argue we need both of these tickets and the publicity they attract, these photographs published across the united states. they are ultimately arrested, sent to workhouses or went on hunger strikes and were force-fed and all of that garnered significant publicity not to mention the fact the president drove by them every day in and out of the white house to see them from his windows and many other politicians having to deal with the consequences of this protest and yet one of the really powerful images the suffragists made a compelling case for is this idea that women were participating in the war effort, were patriotic citizens, were motherly caregivers like the poster we
see here, you can see the direct continuation of the suffrage imagery we were looking at a moment ago, the greatest mother in the world is the mother who is a citizen, who is willing to extend her caregiving expertise in support of her country. not just as a voter, suffrage propaganda at the time, but as a nurse in this particular case so a lot to emphasize, although this isn't specifically the suffrage poster but it is building off of the rhetoric, the imagery of the suffrage campaigns from earlier that we discussed. in comparison to the protesters we were just looking at, there were a lot more suffragists who decided to investors nurses, decided to become farmers, decided to work in factories to support the war effort and ultimately their existence
became the reason why a lot of political officials including woodrow wilson himself use these women as examples for why they are supporting women's voting rights. they said that women were being patriotic citizens, demonstrating their support for the nation in these various ways, rarely acknowledged the importance of these picketers at the white house but it was the combination of these two kind of popular images, that kept them on people's minds and this more moderate and even conservative representation that gave more conservative politicians and officials, more moderate politicians and officials too kind of an argument, a case for why they are making this decision and ultimately a lot of women did not gain the right to vote with the passage of the nineteenth amendment and it is reflected
very much by the imagery we have been looking at. the nineteenth amendment declared that it prohibits voter discrimination based on gender so this basically means any state laws that put into place grandfather clauses, literacy tests, anything that prohibits native american women who don't have citizenship rights on the whole, asian american women, until the 1940s, the nineteenth amendment really most effectively in franchises white women and we can see a lot