August 13, 2020 I I 616-574-7307
Then & Now
While we are no longer able to celebrate the actual centennial of the Nineteenth Amendment en masse on August 26th, we hope that you will continue to celebrate with us virtually. On July 4th for the Hollyhock Lane parade, however, we did mask up and march. And we have designed a couple of other non-screen projects.
Stay tuned for details about our decorate-a-suffragist-grave project on the August 26th centennial! We will provide maps and information and hope that you will make a visit and send us a pic. And more soon about roving masked sentinels at Relax on Rosa in downtown Grand Rapids on August 20th!
Gravestone for suffragist Emily Burton Ketcham

Twenty Years Celebrating Local Suffrage History
Today we offer two virtual experiences of past GGRWHC programs—one from 1999 and one from last month. Don’t forget to supplement them from our fabulous digital suffrage exhibit.
The second feature below highlights the earliest Michigan campaign in 1874 and, immediately below, the biggest event in Michigan suffrage history, the meeting in 1899 Grand Rapids of the national organization. This event—and its representation on YouTube—also provides a glimpse at one moment of race history from the 1899 suffrage movement.
1999 re-enactment of 1899 NAWSA meeting in Grand Rapids
For its centennial in 1999, the GGRWHC scripted and produced a re-enactment of the 1899 meeting of the National American Woman Suffrage Association at St. Cecilia Music Society. On the left sits Frances Gentile, playing Anna Howard Shaw; in the middle, Norma Brink as Susan B. Anthony, and Marti Childs, as local leader Emily Burton Ketcham. On the right Len Robinson plays Temple Emanuel's Rabbi Gustave Haussman opening the proceedings. If you have a history as theater audience in Grand Rapids, prepare for a nostalgic memorial viewing of lost actors Brink and Childs and, recently, Robinson.

Former mayor John Logie opens the 1999 event with a declaration of April 27th, 1999, as Emily Burton Ketcham Day. The start could seem a little slow to virtual audience--you had to be there! But the first eight minutes take care of housekeeping and Mayor Logie’s proclamation. Please be patient with brief early sound fades while tech adjusted. But click here to enjoy this glance at two pasts: 1899 and 1999!
For a quick preview, turn up your sound and forward to minute 13 for Emily Burton Ketcham's introduction of Susan B. Anthony; to minute 27, for the end of former city historian Gordon Olson's portrayal of the anti-suffragist editor of the Grand Rapids Herald and the first introduction of Jean Reed Bahle as Francis Griffin, a colorful representative from Alabama. Finally, see minute 48 for the introduction of Lottie Wilson Jackson, the lone African American representative to the conference. This media favorite is played by Aletha Edwards.
Don’t forget our Frances Gentile. Her Anna Howard Shaw is on the parlor-type stage for most of the presentation, but her major address can be heard at minute 58. This national leader begins by addressing her Michigan girlhood. Then, go back to the beginning at minute 9, to see Temple Emanuel's Rabbi Gustave Haussman open the proceeding, with probably a little liberty taken by Len Robinson!
We thank Grand Rapids Community College’s Klaas Kwant for both the original video taping and the current YouTube presentation! Now, R.I.P., Len Robinson, Norma Brink, and Marti Childs. 
The Sturgis Star, 1860s
One August 22nd in the 1860s, Sturgis, Michigan, made the national news! The New York World picked up the story about enterprising Sturgis women undertaking an exercise in voting for its moral effect. Soon enough, though, they were among the earliest women in Michigan to vote officially and run for public office in school elections.
If you missed Ruth Stevens’ recent Zoomed program, “Getting the Vote: Michigan Women and the Path to Suffrage,” you have a second chance Catch it on YouTube for a quick tour of the state suffrage movement’s intersections with the national effort and a highlighted look at post-Civil War Michigan’s first forays into the suffrage world.

You will get a glimpse into Susan B. Anthony’s diary about her 1870s travels in Michigan with Elizabeth Cady Stanton when they first lobbied the state’s men to grant voting rights to the state’s women. They lectured and made appearances in small towns up and down the west coast. Stevens’s presentation focuses on Saugatuck, but you’ll also get a look at a Grand Rapids attack review titled “Spinster Susan’s Suffrage Show.”

The full program also addresses the role of the WCTU—the Women’s Christian Temperance Union—and how it kept the movement alive during demoralized stretches, and at how early women’s runs for school board positions fed the movement. Click! Here it is on YouTube!
The Vote on PBS
If you have seen The Vote on PBS, you will have a good sense of the national context for the Michigan suffrage story. If you haven’t seen this comprehensive suffrage history, tune in! 

During this challenging year, the Greater Grand Rapids Women’s History Council has pivoted to virtual salutes after losing in-person celebrations of the centennial of the 19th Amendment. We have rededicated ourselves to honoring the long and costly battle for the universal right to vote at the same time we pause to reconsider how we will more fully and effectively embrace the women’s histories of our entire community.
Please continue to celebrate with the Greater Grand Rapids Women’s History Council virtually and in print! Watch for us via this electronic newsletter, follow us on Facebook, find our monthly features in Women’s Lifestyle Magazine, and sign up for our hard-copy newsletter, if you haven’t already – at! Stay tuned, stay safe, and stay exercised!
Stay home and stay safe--but celebrate with us virtually and in print! 
GGRWHC |  | 616-574-7307
Hats off to the historical women who have shaped West Michigan!
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