by Marguerite Kearns

The women activists who put their lives, families, and reputations on the line so we could vote today didn’t speak with one voice. They debated and engaged in loud and chronic disagreements. There were hundreds of suffrage organizations. Yes, with many perspectives I didn’t agree with, then or now. But that doesn’t mean that all of these human beings spoke with one voice or supported certain practices we might find offensive or inappropriate today. Let’s be realistic.

And yet the forced bondage of humans with a variety of backgrounds was unacceptable for many.

The 19th amendment to the US Constitution does not overtly support prejudice and discrimination, and yet Edna B. Kearns must have protested silently when her beloved issue of free suffrage for women supported a military structure under the leadership of Rosalie Jones of Long Island and her Albany “hikes.
Many activists like my organizing grandmother made compromises for the sake of “the cause.”

Suffrage Wagon News Channel has been publishing since 2009.

Do you have questions about the “Spirit of 1776,” the suffrage campaign wagon used by Edna Buckman Kearns during 1913 in New York City and Long Island? The horse drawn suffrage campaign wagon is in the permanent collection of the New York State Museum. Contact the history curator there for more information. Also, you can find out more from the book published by SUNY Press (State University of New York) in 2021 by Marguerite Kearns: “An Unfinished Revolution: Edna Buckman Kearns and the Struggle for Women’s Rights.”

THE NEED FOR MORE DIVERSITY WAS RAISED DURING THE EARLY MOVEMENT TO WIN THE VOTE FOR US WOMEN. But the condition of prejudice and discrimination persisted, and the goal was important enough for many to persist.

It was an uncomfortable matter. Many women had diverse opinions. It appeared to be beyond the pale that women actually achieved their goal of winning the right to vote. It was close and controversial. Many US men may appear to support women’s right to vote. I witnessed one incident, however, when the disagreements were open and unresolved.

Suffrage Wagon News Channel, or, has been publishing since 2009.