Did you know the women’s suffrage movement lasted 72 years? That it included race wars, class wars, conflicts between moderate and radical activists, a female presidential candidate, a large-scale women’s rights march coinciding with a presidential inauguration, a 3-year-long continuous picket of the White House, and a range of other non-violent, militant actions which often resulted in violent attacks and imprisonment of the protesters? Does any of this sound familiar?
Our folk/punk/hip-hop musical spans the 72 years of this monumental battle, drawing clear parallels to what’s happening in our country today, while using the musical styles women have historically used to be subversive.
Most Americans know little about how women won the right to vote, or even why it was a right that needed to be won at all. Suffragist stories need to be told, and we place women of color at the center of the narrative, bringing the movement to life through an inclusive, intersectional lens. But please don’t call them “suffragettes.” It was a demeaning, derogatory term, and there was nothing little or cute about these women. They were the bad-asses of their times, creating change, making a difference.
In Trump’s America, the women’s suffrage movement gets more relevant every day. We’ve seen the phenomenon of Hamilton, and we believe that a contemporary, race-conscious approach to the women’s suffrage movement could have the same kind of impact, highlighting the barriers faced by women of color, while relating to contemporary issues of gender, race, and social justice.
WHY THIS PROJECT?
We want to…
- Make suffrage history relevant, inclusive and accessible for contemporary women, people of color, young people, and others who might feel alienated by traditional, white male-dominated history
- Give voice and representation to those whose experiences and perspectives are usually silenced or left out history by placing women of color at the center of an intersectional narrative
- Reflect modern perspectives and draw parallels to current issues around women’s and minority rights
- Encourage and inspire civic and community engagement around voting rights
With the approach of the centennial of the 19th Amendment, and in context of today’s social and political environment of race and gender discrimination, art and education around the suffrage movement are increasingly relevant, and a more inclusive, equitable approach to American history essential. The fight for women’s right to vote is one of the most under-appreciated and misunderstood civil rights movements in American history, and its story is skewed toward a handful of elite, white, Eastern women.
Let us show you another side of the story.