Their movement can be traced back to the early suffragists who gained a vision of equality from the Haudenosaunee women who had social, religious, economic, and political power within their tribal communities. When our government was formed women in the United States – whether you were a single or married white woman, an enslaved woman, or a woman of color — held no rights in their own family, let alone the government. Women could not vote. Women could not serve on a jury. Mothers had no legal guardianship of their children. Inspired by these indigenous Haudenosaunee women, the first wave of suffragists congregated in Seneca Falls to declare equal rights for women. These founders of the movement dedicated their lives to equal rights and inspired the next generation to continue to seek equity for women. The struggle for equal rights for all women did not end here.
The Every Word We Utter monument will capture the height, the depth, the length, and the breadth of the suffrage movement.
Ode to the Suffragists
For Susan, Elizabeth, Sojourner, Harriet, Alice, Ida, and countless strong, eloquent, and dedicated others
they were fiercer than their own bones
wilder than any bird slipping the bars of cage
more insistent than ocean tides, coming ashore again and again
and they marched and sang
canny as water, freezing and melting to crack granite
sturdy as trees, rising on the branches of each other’s shoulders
strategic as generals, marshaling forces, mapping the way
and they marched and spoke
their urgent words becoming a deep thrum
insurgent, outspoken, wise, undaunted,
patient and impatient, differing and agreeing,
fermenting, fomenting, witty, tenacious,
and because failure was impossible
they marched deeper into freedom
dissolving the mineral no
These are a few of the founders of the women’s movement who dedicated their lives to form change in the status of women. They dreamed but never voted.
These are a few of the women instrumental in the second wave of the movement. The women who experienced the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment and voted for the first time.
These women who continue to make significant contributions to the ideals of the Sentiments and promote equality for all women. The individuals on this ripple will include Native and African American civil right advocates who were later granted citizenship and the right to vote.
The work is not done. It’s our turn. Let the ripples come under your feet.