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Epigraphs: The Vote Chapter 5

This statement by Rose Schneiderman is the epigraph for Chapter 5 Stir Things Up: 1907-1909: The time has come.

Twenty-six-year-old Rose Schneiderman enters The Vote: Women’s Fierce Fight in 1908—”That spring, Maud Malone teamed up with Harriot Stanton Blatch to conduct a tour of open-air meetings in upstate New York. Traveling by trolley, they started the tour in Seneca Falls, Blatch’s hometown and the site of the women’s rights convention organized by her mother in 1848. Vassar College, Blatch’s alma mater, in Poughkeepsie, New York, was their last stop. Vassar’s anti-suffrage president banned suffrage events. Not to be deterred, Inez Milholland, an activist student, proposed meeting in the Roman Catholic cemetery that bordered the north side of the campus. A tall, spirited, smart, and athletic woman, Inez Milholland grew up in a socially engaged, wealthy family. She had spent the previous summer participating with suffragettes in London.  A good-sized group of students, alumnae, and local suffragists showed up at the cemetery, some climbing over the fence, others using a gate. It was a pleasant day in early June, so they sat in a circle on the grass. Instead of a yellow ‘Votes for Women’ banner, Blatch displayed one inscribed: ‘Come, let us reason together’ (perhaps in case the president showed up.)

Rose Schneiderman, a prominent member of Blatch’s Equality League, came from New York City to speak, arriving late, having missed the ‘fast mail train.’ She discussed trade unionism and ‘got fully twice as much applause as any of the rest.  A Jewish Polish immigrant, Rose Schneiderman was less than five feet tall with wavy red hair. She started working at the age of thirteen to support her widowed mother and siblings. In time, she became a skilled caps and hats lining-maker . . . . An electrifying orator, she fiercely advocated trade unionism, vividly evoked working

women’s lives of hardship and exploitation, and persuasively connected the vote with the power to improve working conditions. At a convention of women trade unionists, Schneiderman declared: ‘The time has come when working women of the State of New York must be enfranchised and so secure political power to shape their own labor conditions.” The top image is Rose Schneiderman. The bottom image is the top half of the article that appeared in a New York City newspaper, The Sun, June 9, 1908, p. 3.  The headline read: VASSAR MEETS IN GRAVEYARD/COLLEGE GIRLS HOLD SUFFRAGE POWWOW IN A CEMETERY. (Click on images to enlarge.)

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