Remaining Vigilant For Equal Rights Part 1 | By Patricia Depew Wirth

Va_Woman_Magazine_July_Aug_2016_Page_24“To educate, inspire and empower present and future generations to remain vigilant in the quest for equal rights” is the mission of the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial Association (Turning Point). Our country has not earned an A for how it has handled equal rights, beginning with our treatment of Native American Indians. When John Adams went off to Philadelphia to participate in the drafting of the Declaration of

Our country has not earned an A for how it has handled equal rights, beginning with our treatment of Native American Indians. When John Adams went off to Philadelphia to participate in the drafting of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, his wife, Abigail, sent him the following (spelling is hers):

“…I long to hear that you have declared an independency — and by the way in the new Code of Laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make I desire you would Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favourable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could. If perticuliar care and attention is not paid to the Laidies we are determined to foment
a Rebelion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation.

That your Sex are Naturally Tyrannical is a Truth so thoroughly established as to admit of no dispute, but such of you as wish to be happy willingly give up the harsh title of Master for the more tender and endearing one of Friend. Why then, not put it out of the power of the vicious and the providence under your protection and in immitation of the Supreem Being make use of that power only for our happiness …”

Well, that clearly didn’t happen. The Declaration of Independence said, “all men are created equal,” but that did not mean mankind, i.e., women or Negros. The Constitution was passed thirteen years later in 1789 and it did not include women or Negros. While Amendment XIII abolished slavery in 1865 after the Civil War, it did not afford Negros equal rights. Amendment XV passed in 1870 and says: The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. WOMEN WERE NOT CONSIDERED CITIZENS – only Negro men gained the right to vote!

Three decades later in 1920 women became enfranchised when the XIX Amendment was ratified. In 2011, the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia opined that women do not have constitutional protection against discrimination; hence the continued effort by millions to get the Equal Rights Amendment ratified; three more states are needed.

Please help us turn this vision into reality. Contact us at www. suffragistmemorial.org and contribute to our fundraising efforts. Establish a giving circle with an organization to which you belong. We can provide presentations, costumed monologues and materials. Introduce us to individuals or companies with which our project resonates. Please contact me with your questions:  pwirth@suffragistmemorial.org or 703-201-3171.

By Patricia Depew Wirth

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