Following the celebrations of Independence Day weekend, Mountain Lake PBS is airing “American Experience: The Vote,” a new two-part documentary that tells the dramatic story of the epic, and surprisingly unfamiliar, crusade waged by American women for the right to vote.
The film focuses primarily on the movement’s momentous final decade and charts American women’s determined march to the ballot box, while illuminating the various social, political, and cultural obstacles that stood in their path.
Timely as ever, “The Vote” delves deeply into the controversies that divided the nation in the early 20th century –– gender, race, states’ rights, and political powers –– and offers important lessons on the delicate, often fractious, dynamics of social change.
Check out these profiles on Ida B. Wells and Carrie Chapman Catt, two trailblazing women featured in the series, and watch the documentary in its entirety Monday, July 6th and Tuesday, July 7th at 9 p.m.
The suffrage movement was far reaching, with connections to the Adirondacks, too. Inez Milholland, iconic suffragist born and raised in the town of Lewis, New York, took up the cause and helped lead the national “Votes for Women” suffrage movement.
A graduate of Vassar College and NYU Law, Milholland became one of the “faces” of the movement, pictured famously in a photograph of her riding a white horse and wearing a long, white cape while leading the 8,000 women of the Women’s Suffrage Procession in Washington D.C. in 1913.
When President Wilson tried to stall the Suffrage Amendment, Milholland traveled across the country to encourage women voters to get behind the movement. Then after a grueling schedule of 50 speeches in 11 states in 30 days, she collapsed during a rally in Los Angeles, and soon after, tragically died of anemia at the age of 30. Her death became the inspiration and emotional impetus for the final push for suffrage. She is buried in a small cemetery in Lewis, and the town is in the process of creating a memorial in her honor.
Watch Mountain Lake Journal’s “New York Celebrates Suffrage Movement Centennial” to learn more about her or join Roadside Adventures’s Derek Muirden as he visits Inez’s final resting place.
And if you want your kids to learn along, check out the PBS LearningMedia collection “Teaching Women’s Suffrage” for video clips, lesson plans, and primary sources that detail key figures, events, and regional movements of the decades-long fight to win the right to vote for women in the United States. You will encounter activists — including Sojourner Truth, Carrie Chapman Catt, and Grace Abbott — and examine key regional efforts within the movement and study the chronology of the campaign for women’s suffrage, from the movement’s beginnings through the ratification of the 19th Amendment.