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Free Video on Suffrage

Free Video on Suffrage

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Did you know that this year is the 100th Anniversary of women’s suffrage? Do you know what women’s suffrage even means? I’d heard the term “suffrage” before, but I wasn’t really familiar with the term, and I knew nothing about the history of women’s suffrage. So when I started to create a presentation about the history of women’s suffrage for elementary students, I was starting from scratch.

What I learned in my research gave me a new appreciation for our country’s history. Women’s suffrage is about women gaining the right to vote, and many women had to fight for over 70 years to gain this right. So why didn’t I know anything about the history of women’s suffrage? Why wasn’t I taught this in school? Apparently, most typical history or social studies books for elementary and middle school students don’t cover or barely cover the topic of women’s suffrage. Why not? Does this topic pale in comparison to the Civil War or World War II? What about Christopher Columbus and the discovery of the New World?

I would argue that the story of women’s suffrage is just as important and just as entertaining as these other more classic history topics. Look at the story of Susan B. Anthony. She went to vote in 1872, arguing that the 14th Amendment gave U.S. citizens the right to vote. She was arrested, and despite her lawyer’s arguments, she was declared guilty by the judge. The judge wouldn’t let her speak for herself (she’s a woman, after all, and not competent to speak in public), and he wouldn’t let the jury come to their own decision. She was just guilty, without a fair trial.

Then there’s the story of Alice Paul and the National Woman’s Party. They picketed in front of the White House as part of the woman’s suffrage movement. They were arrested and treated brutally in prison. To protest, they went on a hunger strike, which resulted in force feedings of these women. They literally had a tube shoved through their nose and into their stomach to force them to eat. The public was so infuriated by the women prisoners’ treatment that the president at the time, Woodrow Wilson, finally had them released.

This is just a glimpse of the drama that was the women’s suffrage movement. We’ve captured some of the highlights of this movement in a video presentation aimed at upper elementary and middle school students. This video presentation and a teacher’s discussion aid is available free of charge for anyone who wants to educate themselves, their children, or their students. I know putting this presentation together gave me a new appreciation of my right to vote. I hope it does the same for you!