March is Women’s History Month. With all that is happening, this celebration was neglected. But I don’t think it should be forgotten. Since the library is closed, there’s no access to the book display celebrating the month. So, look at some of these resources from the comfort of home.
The designation of a month to acknowledge women was a long road: from labor movements, to local celebrations, to presidential proclamations.
In February 1980, President Jimmy Carter issued the first Presidential Proclamation declaring the Week of March 8th, 1980 as National Women’s History Week:
“From the first settlers who came to our shores, from the first American Indian families who befriended them, men and women have worked together to build this nation. Too often the women were unsung and sometimes their contributions went unnoticed. But the achievements, leadership, courage, strength and love of the women who built America was as vital as that of the men whose names we know so well.
As Dr. Gerda Lerner has noted, ‘Women’s History is Women’s Right.’– It is an essential and indispensable heritage from which we can draw pride, comfort, courage, and long-range vision. I ask my fellow Americans to recognize this heritage with appropriate activities during National Women’s History Week, March 2-8, 1980. I urge libraries, schools, and community organizations to focus their observances on the leaders who struggled for equality – – Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth, Lucy Stone, Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Harriet Tubman, and Alice Paul. Understanding the true history of our country will help us to comprehend the need for full equality under the law for all our people.”
Finally, in 1987, March was designated as Women’s History Month.
This year’s theme marked the struggle for the right to vote and the passage of the amendment 100 years ago. Did you know that women first got the right to vote in the Wyoming Territory in 1869?
Gaining the right to vote was a long struggle. The movement was linked to the anti-slavery movement of the early 1800s. Many abolitionists were women who had no voice in government and when they tried to express their opinions, they were ignored. The idea of women’s suffrage was a controversial topic at the Seneca Falls convention (1848). Some participants argued that the condition of society and the state of their immediate communities were of equal concern to women as to as men. And that women should have an equal say in how such matters were governed.
The Library of Congress has some of its exhibits available online. Take a look at “Rosa Parks In Her Own Words” to see her struggle for Civil and Women’s rights.
The New York Historical Society’s “Women and the American Story” is an ongoing project spotlighting women’s contributions which you can discover by theme or time period. The Smithsonian Institution’s online contribution to the topic is “Because of Her Story”. You can peruse the collections by themes such as Work, Health & Wellness and Activism. There are videos to complement some of the artifacts. The Smithsonian also offers some musical aspects of the movement for women’s rights.
The Music Division of The Library of Congress has selections of sheet music about the women’s suffrage movement covering the years 1838-1923. If you have the time, try them out on your piano or other musical instruments!
Time magazine offers brief biographies of some remarkable women who we should, but might not, know. Time also presents possible covers of overlooked women had might have been selected as “Person of the Year”.
We all have more time inside. Check out some of these sites. And when the library reopens, we will help you find the perfect book to expand your knowledge or satisfy your curiosity.
-posted by Brenda, Reference Services