Opinion | Two Ladies and 10,000 Miles on the Street to Suffrage
With the 2020 presidential election we have now, the Americans would be preoccupied with the uncertainty. But one thing has already been learned: Women’s vote is the most important factor in its outcome.
Last August marked the centenary of the seventh revolution, which gave women the right to vote. But as a researcher, I often find that past experiences on the road to great things are not overlooked.
One of these: From April 6 to Sept. 30, 1916, Alice Snitzer Burke and Nell Richardson drove 10,000 miles, to file a lawsuit against abusive women. The two women, sponsored by the National American Woman Suffrage Association, drove the yellow Saxon Roadster from New York City down east of Seaboard, via the South, to the West Coast, and back east again. He met with Americans from all sides of the issue, spoke in town squares, and discussed skeptics on the dirt roads.
I used the local newspaper repository to show their approach. What emerges from these pieces are images of travelers who don’t seem to be as stupid as they appear in most books.
While traffic was scarce – as well as women’s mobility, even the needy – the two carried a typewriter and a sewing machine. “If any critic-suffragist in Texas says that suffrage is destroying women’s talents,” she told a reporter, “it will be Miss Richardson’s ticket to get out of the sewing machine and take off the diaper while people wait.
Cars are seen as male machines, difficult to use. Burke and Richardson relied on AAA’s Blue Book to guide them, and they struggled with the content of the roofless Saxon. At Mobile, Ala., They were given a black cat to accompany them on their journey. He called him Saxon and took him to hotels every night.
For the first two months of the trip, Burke wrote a full-time article for the New York Tribune describing their dates and travels. Extras include news of near-ass encounters; their journeys on innumerable roads; to avoid the influence of the southern armies and to meet the soldiers who wrote about the Golden Flyer.
Like the history of suffragists, Burke and Richardson are not short stories. The principles she used – for women to vote because of the importance of women in the country, for women not to use the vote for political office, that voting would not reduce women’s access to social services as women – were reduced in many ways.
They also resented discrimination: Like many white colleagues, Burke’s claim that women had the right to vote was racist and racist. Burke was quoted in the El Paso Herald as saying, “‘None of you guys have a hard time figuring out how to vote. You don’t ask a stranger all these questions before you let them vote, when they are first; “Women have a special interest in the work of this country because it is our country as well as men.”
But she did something to bring us into the new world, where women were sitting in the driver’s seat.
Elizabeth D. Herman is a viewing and experimental journalist on political science at the University of California, Berkeley.
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