Arise Women of the Nation
Staten Islanders in the Fight for Women’s Right to Vote
Commemorating the Centennial of the 19th Amendment
Arise Women of the Nation will present Staten Island’s unique place in the history of the suffrage movement by recounting stories of local suffragists, their contributions to the national effort, and the tactics they employed to win the vote. The exhibition will connect visitors to the history of earning women’s right to vote, as well as the relevance to present-day considerations of civic engagement and voter participation.
Staten Island’s role in the fight for women’s political equality was both innovative on a national level and uniquely suited to the community from which it came. Visitors will learn about the tactics suffragists employed to bring attention and garner support for the movement, including a radical act by Rosalie Gardiner Jones, who became the first suffragist to fly for the cause when she dropped ‘votes for women’ leaflets from a bi-plane over Staten Island in 1913. Highlighted in the exhibition will be Drusilla Poole (pictured left), a prominent reform activist who formed an organization to encourage and instruct African-American women about civic engagement, and the ardent suffrage activist Reverend Florence Spearing Randolph of Rossville AME Zion Church. The exhibition will explore the intersection of race, class, and gender in the Suffrage Era, as well as racism and exclusion within the Suffrage Movement. Despite their ingenuity and dedicated involvement in the New York State Women’s Suffrage Party, the stories of Staten Island Suffragists are lesser known and this exhibition brings them to light.
Arise Women of the Nation has been in development for more than three years with research spearheaded by the Museum’s archives manager Gabriella Leone, drawing upon the Museum’s collections, original research, and loaned items from Historic Richmond Town and other repositories. This exhibition ties to the Staten Island Museum’s institutional history since Museum Founder Arthur Hollick and his wife Adeline were active Suffragists and collected related periodicals at the time for the Museum’s collection. The Woman Voter and The Suffragist have been digitized and made publicly available online: https://archive.org/details/statenislandmuseum.
Arise Women of the Nation will open in March 2020 to commemorate the centennial of the 19th Amendment, which was ratified in 1920, and in celebration of Women’s History Month.
Exhibition Advisory Panel:
Susan Goodier is a Lecturer of History at SUNY Oneonta and specializes in U.S. Public Policy History, International Gender and Culture, and Black Women’s History. She is the author of No Votes for Women: The New York State Anti-Suffrage Movement and co-author with Karen Pastorello of Women Will Vote: Winning Suffrage in New York State.
Catherine Gray is Co-President of the League of Women Voters of the City of New York since 2016 after being a member for more than a decade. She is retired from her job as a librarian with Brooklyn Public Library for over thirty years.
Sarah Litvin is a doctoral candidate in U.S. History at the CUNY Graduate Center with a minor in gender and women’s history and Director of the Reher Center for Immigrant Culture and History in Kingston, NY. She was previously an Andrew J. Mellon Predoctoral Fellow at the New-York Historical Society’s Center for Women’s History, where she contributed to the exhibition, Hotbed, which explored the New York State campaign for women’s suffrage.
Margaret Middleton is a designer and developer of exhibitions and graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design. She is passionate about the intersection of museum work and social justice movements. She has received a number of awards for excellence and diversity.
Debbie-Ann Paige is a public historian specializing in African American history, co-president of the newly chartered Richard B. Dickenson Chapter of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society (AAGHS) and professional genealogist.
This project has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor