August 5, 2020 I I 616-574-7307
Celebrating In Print & Online
Author Elaine Weiss will join us on September 16th to discuss her groundbreaking book The Woman’s Hour, featuring the nail-biting climax of the 72-year-fight to ensure all citizens the right to vote. Tennessee ratified the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution on August 18th, and on the 26th it became the law of the land. 
Reading into Suffrage History
Virtual Book Discussions
Third Wednesdays in Sept, Oct, & Nov, 7:00 - 8:30 pm
Free & open to the public, Watch to RSVP
Co-sponsored by the Grand Rapids Public Library &
the Greater Grand Rapids Women’s History Council 
The Woman’s Hour by Elaine Weiss
We met author Elaine Weiss when she visited Grand Rapids in 2018 to talk about The Woman’s Hour, and you may have seen her recently in 2020 centennial documentaries--The Vote and Carrie Chapman Catt on PBS, and more. We can ask her about progress on the mini-series to be based on this book! It includes Weiss’s report on an extraordinary moment in May 2020 when the voice of the daughter of a slave was heard inside the house chamber of the Tennessee Capitol. Scroll down to meet Juno Frankie Pierce!
Death in Ten Minutes by Fern Riddell All Bound Up Together by Martha Jones
Prior to the shut-down, we had already planned to follow our big August 26th celebration with opportunities to talk about books on suffrage history. Now the partnering groups are taking it virtual! Colleen Alles will represent the Grand Rapids Public Library at each of three discussions. At each one, she and her GGRWHC co-host will also link content to the local history of Grand Rapids’ own suffragists.
Please join us even if you couldn’t finish the books. You will be inspired to keep reading! Our hosts will sketch out questions to start, but try to keep the structure loose. All interested are welcome, but the virtual Zoom discussions will require RSVPs through EventBrite. Stay tuned! Here's the plan for Reading in Suffrage History
Wednesday, September 16th, 7:00 - 8:30 pm
The Woman's Hour by Elaine Weiss
The Woman’s Hour is the inspiring story of activists winning their own freedom in one of the last campaigns forged in the shadow of the Civil War and the beginning of the great twentieth-century battles for civil rights. It features summer in Tennessee one hundred years ago. And Elaine Weiss will make a virtual visit to talk with us! More here. Co-hosted by GGRWHC’s Ruth Stevens.

Wednesday, October 21st, 7:00 - 8:30 pm
Death in Ten Minutes by Fern Riddell
Death in Ten Minutes is a biography of Kitty Marion, who became one of the UK’s most militant suffragettes. The book illustrates the British campaign using Kitty’s life, and it doesn’t end in 1918. In fact, many US suffragists and UK suffragettes went on to use their skills for other causes and social movements. Kitty was no exception. We are delighted that a specialist in British women’s history will help us make connections between the sister movements. Former GVSU administrator and history professor Gretchen Galbraith will join us from her new home at SUNY Potsdam (New York), where she is dean of the School of Arts & Sciences. More here.

Wednesday, November 18th, 7:00 - 8:30 pm
All Bound Up Together by Martha S. Jones
In All Bound Up Together, Martha S. Jones explores the roles played by 19th-century black women in their communities' social movements during the run-up to the 20th century. Covering three generations of black women activists, she demonstrates that
the "woman question" was at the core of movements against slavery and for civil rights.
Unlike white women activists, who usually created institutions separate from men, black women often organized within already existing churches, political organizations, mutual aid societies, and schools. Jones illustrates how women helped to shape the course of black public culture. More here. Co-hosted by GGRWHC’s Sophia Brewer. 
Tennessee’s Juno Frankie Pierce
A Rare Alliance “Only in Nashville”

Juno Frankie Pierce was among Tennessee's most active black suffragists helping to inspire 2,500 African American women to vote in the 1919 Nashville municipal elections, the first elections for which the state’s women were enfranchised.

During that year when the people of Tennessee worked for or against the movement to make it the 36th state to ratify the 19th Amendment, the suffrage movement was mostly segregated, especially in the Jim Crow South. But Nashville’s black women's clubs had worked with white women’s clubs on various social issues before, and these connections fostered a suffrage alliance in Nashville. The clubs worked together to get out the women’s vote in the 1919 municipal elections and later during 1920.

Impressed by Frankie Pierce’s organizational skills, the Tennessee Equal Suffrage League invited her to address the first convention of the League of Women Voters at the Tennessee Capitol. Elaine Weiss has called the May 1920 address by Juno Frankie Pierce to several hundred white women a “taboo-breaking experiment in political cooperation.” Pierce asked, "What will the Negro woman do with the vote? . . .Yes, we will stand by the white women. We are optimistic because we have faith in the best white women of the country, of Nashville. We are going to make you proud of us, because we are going to help you help us and yourselves." She continued, "We are interested in the same moral uplift of the community in which we live as you are. . . . We are asking only one thing—a square deal." 

Pierce asked for a platform including a state vocational school, a state child welfare department, and more room in state schools. The League adopted the school as part of its legislative agenda and lobbied for it extensively. Historian Anita Goodstein called the black women’s offer of cooperation with white suffragists in return for specific benefits a “rare alliance” and observes that it happened only in Nashville.

Little is known about the life of Pierce, but that she was born to a house slave of a Tennessee legislator about the time of the Civil War and that she studied at Roger Williams University, one of four colleges founded in Nashville for freed slaves. But she grew up with excellent political instincts and became a trailblazer seeking to improve conditions for African Americans. Honor Juno Frankie Pierce!
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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