03/23/2015 (press release: SuffrageWagon) // New York, New York, U.S. // Samantha Bailey
The casting of Meryl Streep to play English suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst has brought new attention to Pankhurst’s great-granddaughter, Dr. Helen Pankhurst, a contemporary women’s rights activist in the U.K. Dr. Pankhurst is also the granddaughter of Sylvia Pankhurst.
Dr. Helen Pankhurst’s message to American women voters about their voting rights is featured in a Suffrage Wagon Café video in a Spirit of 1776 campaign to restore the women’s suffrage movement to its rightful place in American history.
The video featuring Dr. Pankhurst’s message is part of the Suffrage Wagon Café’s programming (https://vimeo.com/122846822).
VIDEO SOUNDTRACK: “THE MARCH OF THE WOMEN” BY ELIZABETH JOHNSON
The video soundtrack features Elizabeth Johnson in a performance of “The March of the Women,” the anthem of the women’s suffrage movement in England. It was composed by Ethel Smyth in 1910 and became famous during the suffrage movement there. “The March of the Women” is still widely performed today.
The entire song by Elizabeth Johnson is available on the Suffrage Wagon audio channel (https://soundcloud.com/suffragewagon/march-of-the-women-sung-by-elizabeth-johnson-a-spirit-of-1776-special).
“SUFFRAGETTE” FILM BRINGS INCREASED ATTENTION TO VOTES FOR WOMEN
Dr. Helen Pankhurst was recently featured in a photograph released on International Women’s Day in March 2015 showing her with the cast of the film “Suffragette.” This major motion picture from the U.K. stars Meryl Streep, Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter, Ben Whishaw, Brendan Gleeson, Romola Gerai, and others. It is the first film ever to be shot at the Houses of Parliament in London. The film is scheduled for release in the fall of 2015. “Suffragette,” the film, highlights the struggles of women’s rights activists during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
DR. HELEN PANKHURST’S MESSAGE
“Both in the United States and in the United Kingdom, women fought long and hard for the right to vote, and to be voted in as politicians,” Dr. Pankhurst told Suffrage Wagon News Channel (http://SuffrageWagon.org). “They faced derision and both private and public violence before attitudes started to change.
“The campaign for equal suffrage continues both in our two countries and all over the world. It is needed everywhere. Either the right for equality hasn’t been won, or it has in theory. But obstacles remain that impede progress on representation in practice,” Dr. Pankhurst continued.
“If we want a better world, every one of us needs to vote for those that are closest to representing our view in local and national elections. For those who feel their views are not represented by the current options of political candidates, more –not less—political activism is the solution. By caring enough to be politically engaged, we honor both ourselves and previous generations who campaigned for our right to have a voice,” Dr. Pankhurst concluded.
THE SUFFRAGE WAGON CAFE AND ITS SPIRIT OF 1776 CAMPAIGN
“Suffrage Wagon Café presents suffrage movement stories and history as both education and entertainment,” according to Marguerite Kearns, host of Suffrage Wagon Café. She points out that the video of Dr. Helen Pankhurst’s comments is one of more than 100 videos about the suffrage movement available on the Suffrage Wagon News Channel video channels on Vimeo and YouTube.
As the granddaughter of an American suffrage activist, Marguerite Kearns calls her work “a labor of love.” Her grandmother Edna Kearns’ suffrage movement organizing covered the period of a decade in New York City and Long Island. Edna Kearns was well known for her “Spirit of 1776” horse-drawn campaign wagon used for suffrage movement organizing that is considered a prime artifact of the American women’s rights movement because it portaryed the movement theme of patriotic protest. The Spirit of 1776 wagon is currently in the collection of the New York Museum in Albany, NY. The state museum has announced that the Spirit of 1776 wagon will be exhibited in 2017 during the state’s suffrage centennial celebration.
The Spirit of 1776 wagon inspired the Suffrage Wagon News Channel that has been publishing since 2009. The Spirit of 1776 is a program of Suffrage Wagon News Channel designed to restore the women’s suffrage movement to its rightful place in American history. The United States celebrates its national suffrage centennial in 2020.
“We’re persistent in our goal of inspiring, motivating, educating, and entertaining audiences about how we stand on strong shoulders. The suffragists were ‘there’ for us. Let’s be ‘there’ for them by voting and becoming leaders in the world today,” Marguerite Kearns said.
Photo: Emmeline Pankhurst, 1912. Library of Congess.
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