Who's In Favor Of Suffrage?
Date: Wed, 13 Sep 95 22:44:26 -0700
From: Peter Langston <psl>
Subject: Who's In Favor Of Suffrage?
Forwarded-by: email@example.com (Keith Bostic)
Forwarded-by: firstname.lastname@example.org (Mike Meyer)
WOMEN'S PLACE IS APPARENTLY IN THE BASEMENT
-- by Barbara Yost (The Phoenix Gazette)
Karen Stacer, wife of a United States senator's aide, was headed for the
bathroom in the basement of the U.S. CAPITOL several weeks ago when she
stumbled across three tons of marble. It was a statue of three women, their
names facing the wall as if in shame.
When she looked closer, she discovered they were three of the most famous
women in American history: SUSAN B. ANTHONY, ELIZABETH CADY STANTON AND
LUCRETIA MOTT, suffragists who had helped women win the right to vote.
Upstairs in the Capitol rotunda, a place of honor, are monuments to
America's great men - Jefferson, Washington, Madison, Spiro Agnew. But the
women who had secured the most basic of democratic rights for half the
American population are consigned to the bowels of the building, once used
In the 74 years since the statue was presented to Congree in an elaborate
but apparently hypocritical ceremony, the marble women have languished in
the basement despite five resolutions to move them upstairs next to the
No other women stand in the rotunda, giving visitors the impression that
women have done little for this country besides sew flags and marry
Moving the statue requires a vote in both the Senate and the House. Led by
Republican Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska, whose grandmother was an activist
for women's rights, the Senate recently passed yet another resolution. The
House seemed on the verge of agreement.
But last week they ran into something more immovable, it would seem than
three tons of marble. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. "Why the Speaker
is doing this I have no idea," says Joan Meacham, president of the 75th
Anniversary of Woman Suffrage Task Force in Washington, D.C.
Countless appeals have fallen on deaf ears, Meacham says. Gingrich, who
could bring up the resolution for a vote in the House, reportedly commented
that he didn't want to be associated with "a bunch of liberal women."
Liberal women? Meacham, a Republican, names some of the groups involved in
the effort: The League of Women Voters, Concerned Women for America - an
extremely conservative group, and Republican women's organizations.
The mood is grim at Meacham's office, operating under the auspices of the
National Women's Party, whose founder commissioned the statue in 1920 after
the constitutional amendment was passed giving women the right to vote.
"We're totally deflated," Meacham says. "I'm totally shocked... There's no
reason this could not have been done."
Gingrich's office responded with a long-distance shrug. "We have no
update," the press officer said. "In the long run, I don't know where
he's going to come down" on the issue. But, the aide added reassuringly,
"He's in favor of suffrage."
© 1995 Peter Langston