Celebrating suffrage from your living room

CATEGORIES: July 2020, Voices

COVID, social distancing and closures have not stopped celebrations of the 19th Amendment centennial. Here are some ways to continue to celebrate women’s votes from the comfort of your own home:

Iowa PBS aired its documentary “Carrie Chapman Catt: Warrior for Women” in May and July. It is available for streaming on YouTube.

In July, PBS’s The American Experience aired a four-hour, two-part documentary titled “The Vote.” This documentary covers the seven-decade history of the suffrage movement and features Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Frederick Douglass, Mary Church Terrell, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Harriot Stanton Blatch, Alice Paul and Carrie Chapman Catt. The video is available for purchase or streaming on the PBS web site.

PBS also has recorded a commentary on “The Vote” featuring both Elaine Weiss, author of The Woman’s Hour and this year’s Mary Louise Smith Chair, and Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton. This discussion is available on YouTube.

“The Vote” is PBS’s third documentary about the suffrage movement. “One Woman, One Vote” aired in 1995 for the 75th anniversary of the 19th Amendment. In addition, Ken Burns also featured Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony in “Not for Ourselves Alone” (2004). They are both available on Amazon.com and other vendors.

If you are interested in popular culture renditions that tell compelling stories (even with some historical liberties), HBO’s “Iron-Jawed Angels” (2007) dramatizes the White House pickets organized by the National Women’s Party and the subsequent arrests and hunger strikes. This film is available on Amazon.com and other vendors.

Suffragette” (2016) tells a fictionalized account of a working-class British woman who becomes involved in the British women’s suffrage movement. The British suffrage movement, led by Emmaline and Christabel Pankhurst, was more violent and militant than the U.S. movement. However, the Pankhursts did inspire Alice Paul’s strategies in the last decade before ratification. This film is available on Amazon.com and other vendors.

Die Göttliche Ordnung (The Divine Order)” (2017) tells the story of a young woman who advocates for the right to vote in Switzerland in 1971, the year that Swiss women were enfranchised. The film is available on Amazon.com and other vendors.

Vanity Fair’s “What Generation are You: 1910s” is a poignant short video that depicts a young woman getting ready to participate in a suffrage march. It is available on YouTube.

Another fun video is Soomo’s “Bad Romance: Women’s Suffrage,” which riffs on Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance,” also available on YouTube.

The Catt Center has a list of these and other films and documentaries on their website as part of their resources for educators.