One hundred years, and one day ago, the 19th Amendment was ratified, securing the right to vote for women in the United States. Bedford’s ‘Poet Laureate’ Lois Pulliam has shared a commemorative poem and interviewed a Centenarian friend, Betty Hefner. And, in ‘Short Takes’ learn about a Women Vote postage stamp and a musical webinar tomorrow and on August 26.
Listen, my children, and you shall hear
A story most women, at least, hold dear.
In 1820 they missed the boat,
But a hundred years later they got the vote.
Were women too busy with cooking and cleaning
For freedom and suffrage to have any meaning?
More likely, the voting men pulled up their socks
And forbade dames approaching the great ballot box.
Anthony, Stanton, Cady and more
Knew this required a gender war.
Wyoming early jumped the gun,
And Brits gained access first,
But those opposed to suffrage
Avowed to “do their worst
Did women keep on pushing? Plenty!
And got the vote by1920.
Starting that year, the fight promoters
Became the League of Women Voters.
— LFP, 2020
Conversation with a Centenarian
Born shortly before the 19th Amendment was ratified, Betty Hefner, a 100–year-old-plus resident of Bedford, recalled voting for Roosevelt in 1940, and Truman in 1948. “Yes” she said, “it was a surprise to wake up the next morning after the election and find that Dewey had lost.”
She couldn’t recall whether her mother ever mentioned the very first year when women could vote after 1920 but said her parents always voted.
“I voted for Eisenhower,” Betty said, adding that she considered the person more than the party. ”I didn’t vote for Dewey, Nixon, Reagan, or either Bush, though, so I mostly voted for Democrats.”
Betty moved to Bedford from Greenfield, Massachusetts, where she was a member of the League of Women Voters. “It was not as active a League as I’ve heard Bedford used to be.”
We agreed it’s hard to believe women wouldn’t vote in current elections when their grandmothers and great-grandmothers worked so long and hard for suffrage in 1920.
We Did it For You ~ An Entertaining Webinar on August 20 and August 26
We Did it For You ~ Women’s Journey Through History tells the story of how women got their rights in the United States. With catchy musical numbers and a dash of comic relief, this highly entertaining and educational musical is a must-see for teens and adults.
For details about the August 26 performance, visit www.wediditforyou.org.
Suffrage Forever Postage Stamp
A ‘forever’ 55-cent postage stamp honoring the 19th Amendment is available through the USPS website.
Click this link to learn more, and perhaps use the Women Vote stamps to mail your November ballot!