Let Us Honor the Women – 19th Amendment

Let us honor the women
Who fought boldly
For Women’s Right to Vote
What was long denied
Should have been a right
Granted to All Americans
Unanimously and instantly
With the sweep of one pen
Instead, the fate of a new nation
Initially given to only white men
Causing fractures and dissention
And years of striving and toiling
For All born on American soil
To have a voice, to cast a Vote

Let us honor the women
Who endured starvation
In the name of their cause
Who were force-fed
Behind broken glass and steel bars
Ridiculed and threatened for decades
On the streets, in the columns,
and in their own homes
Rocks through windows
And at them thrown
When speeches were delivered
A historical parade that began
With a march in the snow
Interrupted by unruly crowds,
Squeezing a parade of thousands
To a single row,
While the police looked away
And still, the suffragettes pressed on
Not perfectly, surpressing powerful voices
Like Ida B. Wells,
Who stepped in with her delegation,
Where she belonged,
Despite attempts to send her quietly
To the end of the procession

Let us honor the women
Who helped build this country
Working long hours and earning
Low wages while paying one-third
Of the country’s taxes
Receiving no representation
The same path that had previously
Led to a war with a monarch
Separation after blood spilled

Let us honor the women
Who struggled and sacrificed
For well over six decades
Never losing sight, even when
Generations came and went
And at least one even died
Ratification of the 19th Amendment
On August 18, 1920
Was their labored prize

Let us honor those women
By becoming a registered voter
By becoming an educated voter
By never taking for granted
Our Constitutional Right
Earned in exchange for a heavy price
That we can exercise
By filling an envelope or standing in line

Let us celebrate their victory
During this 100th year anniversary
I hope that you enjoyed my poetic tribute to the thousands of women, in America and abroad, who fought tirelessly for Women’s right to cast a vote. A right that many of the original suffragettes never saw come to fruition because it took so many years to make that right the law of the land. A Constitutional right that I have practiced since turning 18, but with the 19th Amendment one-hundred-year Anniversary upon us, my ballot will have profound symbolic meaning this political season. I choose to believe that my vote has meaning beyond just sentiment. Bravo to the states and other countries who were “early” adopters of this right, Arizona (my home state) being one of the first states in America to do so in 1912.

This poem is one of the poems in our next Being a Woman collection (my daughter is the illustrator). I am delighted to share a preview of our soon-to-be-published book with you today, and to celebrate the dedicated Suffragettes who fought, not just for their voice to be heard through a ballot, but for future generations to practice the same. Thank you to those women (and men who stood with them) for their strength and sacrifices. I hope their stories are forever remembered.

If you are interested in learning more about the historical movement, then I highly recommend watching the American Experience film, The Vote (link below).

Thank you for stopping by and let us honor the women! 👭

Be well, Michele 💞

The Vote. Directed by Nancy Novack (Part 1) and Michelle Ferrari (Part 2), WGBH Educational Foundation, 2020 https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/vote/

Photo 1: Image of poem from Being a Woman – Becoming Collection, titled, “19th Amendment”

Photo 2: Harris & Ewing, photographer. Suffragette. [Between 1910 and 1920] Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/2016855015/>.

Photo 3: Bain News Service, Publisher. Suffragettes, London. [No Date Recorded on Caption Card] Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/2014680110/>.

Photo 4: Ida B. Wells photo credit: digitized by Mark Gulezian/NPG, Copyright: National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, USA

Copyright © 2020 Michele Lee Sefton. All Rights Reserved.

11 thoughts on “Let Us Honor the Women – 19th Amendment

  1. acmbell

    A beautiful tribute, Michele. Any of us who have had the gift of strong women in our lives (mother, wife, daughter and others in my case) can appreciate the sustained commitment by all the strong women who have helped to deliver “a more perfect union” in real terms. The bonus is not just long overdue rights for more Americans; it includes capitalizing on their formidable strengths and wisdom to enrich the leadership pool we will always need. Perfect is never achievable; more perfect always is.

    If anyone thinks the women who are receiving special recognition now are not a powerful force in that process, they are simply not paying attention.

    Thank you for inciting us to pay attention, Michele!

    Gratefully,

    Al

    Liked by 3 people

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