Marguerite's Musings, a feature of Suffrage Wagon News Channelby Marguerite Kearns

The other day a friend of mine asked me for homework? “What do you mean?” I responded.  I couldn’t help but consider the question a joke. Then the talk grew serious. She really wanted a video, a podcast, or a crash course on the suffrage movement, an exciting part of American history. Either she’d been absent at school when the “Night of Terror” had been taught, or the 1917 picketing of the White House by American suffrage activists simply wasn’t in any of her teachers’ lesson plans. Fortunately Suffrage Wagon is partnering with Turning Point Suffragist Memorial on the November 15th “Night of Terror” observance, or I wouldn’t have been able to respond so fast.


OK. Here it is. If you haven’t seen the Lady Gaga parody, watch it. The video always reveals surprises. And while you’re watching, imagine that the streets near the White House in 1917 as bedlam some days when the women lined up with their picket signs. By the time November 15th rolled around, things were hot and heavy at the Occoquan Workhouse, the scene of the “Night of Terror.” I always think of it personally, as when my grandmother Edna Kearns and my aunt, Serena Kearns, then 12 years old, joined hundreds of others from around the nation to stand vigil at the White House gates in the U.S. Capitol to press for change.

From November 1 through November 15, Suffrage Wagon News Channel is partnering with the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial to draw attention to the “Night of Terror” at the Occuquan Workhouse near Washington, DC. This means that Turning Point Suffragist Memorial will be Tweeting like mad, and you can touch in with my musings over the next two weeks. Tweets and Facebook deliver the updates. Or you can subscribe by email.

Watch the video. Take a careful look at this music video produced in 2012 by Soomo Publishing that took the nation by storm and won a raft of awards for excellent educational programming. The “Bad Romance” video highlights the picketing at the White House, as well as the process of ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. A lot to cram into a video of about three minutes. But it’s worth the effort. It takes much more than three minutes to explain the suffrage movement that took 72 years. So consider yourself significantly up to speed. And pass this along this history to women voters headed for the polls on Tuesday. This video alone is reason enough to vote, but we’re building a foundation to celebrate suffrage centennials in the future, including the 2020 suffrage centennial.

The next two weeks constitutes a crash course on the suffrage movement, with the end point of the “Night of Terror” in mind on November 15th. In another segment of my “Musings,” I’ll review the content of the nine podcast series recently completed on Suffrage Wagon News Channel called “Playing Politics with the President.” It gives the background as to why the suffragists of the National Woman’s Party picketed the White House in the first place. But I’ll get to that soon. Stay tuned!

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