A salute to women

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To the Editor:

“Mr. President how long must women wait for liberty.”

So reads the sign held by protesters in a famous photograph of suffragists in front of the Massachusetts State House in Boston. Woodrow Wilson was arriving back from summits in Europe at the end of the First World War. So sets the stage in February 1919; a confrontation planned to lobby for his immediate action on pending Congressional amendments.

The League of Women Voters of Martha’s Vineyard partnered with PathwaysARTS and sponsored the play reading and Islanders were treated to energetic readings recounting these events presented at Pathways in Chilmark on Tuesday night. This was one of a number of performances recognizing March as International Women’s Month. 

The Peter H. Luce Play Readers captured the key suffragist figures as their roles were portrayed in “I Want To Go To Jail”. The authors, Pam Swing is a resident scholar at the Brandeis Women’s Studies Research Center and Elizabeth Dabanka will graduate from Brandeis in 2020 with a triple major in Politics, African & African American Studies, and International Global Studies.

Ms Swing, who was present for the Pathways performance, became interested in the suffrage movement through her grandmother, Betty Gram Swing, who was an active participant in the 1919 protest, jailing and court case.

We would like to thank Scott Crawford and Keren Tonnesen of PathwaysARTS and Rise Terney and the Peter H. Luce Play Readers for an evening of like-minded camaraderie about the passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution where women gained the right to vote in 1920.

 

Carole Early

League of Women Voters of Martha’s Vineyard