Peggy Joan Maxie was the first black woman elected to public office in Washington State. She served as Washington State Representative, position no. 2 in the 37th Legislative District in Seattle, from 1971 through 1982. As she campaigned, Maxie began graduate school at the University of Washington. She graduated in 1972 with a thesis on no-fault divorce law, which the legislature passed in Washington.
Susie Revels Cayton
Susie Revels Cayton (1870?- 1943) was one of the few black women working in journalism at the turn of the 20th century. Cayton served as the associate editor for the Seattle Republic newspaper for several years. At one time the newspaper held the number two spot for circulation in the city. Her editorials often focused on education and racism.
We Will Not Be Denied
This piece started with the photograph featured in my piece of Washington State women hanging suffrage posters. The women in the photo reminded me of my grandmother who was a German immigrant to the US in the early 1900’s. She and my grandfather settled in Hoquiam, WA. Sadly, I never talked with my grandmother about women getting the right to vote in 1920 but I know she would have been at the ballot box the first time she had an opportunity! My piece is an abstract interpretation of the American flag because my grandmother so valued the opportunity to be in this country and I remember accompanying her to vote on election days. The stars in the flag are represented by faces of all the women who worked so hard to secure the VOTES FOR WOMEN. To complete the piece are words and phrases of the suffrage movement.
Eaton's Suffrage Feat
When I started researching the efforts of women in Washington State to get the right to vote I came across the fascinating story about the suffragists who climbed Mount Rainier in 1909 with the Seattle Mountaineer’s Club. I had no idea! Dr. Cora Smith Eaton, an experienced climber and suffragette created a list of supplies for the women which included knickerbockers, smoked goggles, boys wool socks and cold cream! Dr. Eaton planted a “Votes For Women” flag at the summit. My abstract interpretation of this event features Mt. Rainier, summer flowers and Dr. Cora Smith Eaton with the supply list text written on her dress . It also puts her at the summit with the flag, dressed in a long black hiking skirt, boots, white blouse and hat with a walking stick. Additional text is handwritten featuring suffrage words and phrases of the day. The pinkish color palette is definitely a nod to the feminine yet the women who tackled this adventure were not frail nor timid, they were pretty gutsy!
Hero: Ida B. Wells
"The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them", Ida B. Wells. 1895
Ida B Wells was a multi talented writer, civil rights activist, organizer, and speaker. She was one of the founders of the NAACP in 1896. Among her many accomplishments, she fought for women's voting rights in Illinois and was responsible for women gaining the ability to vote in Illinois local and state elections starting in 1913. That same year she traveled to Washington DC to attend the National American Women's Suffrage Association parade, where she was informed by the white organizers that Black women would not be allowed to march in the parade. So, Ida B. Wells stood near the spectators along the street, until the Chicago contingent marched by, and she stepped into the parade and joined them, walking alongside them for the rest of the event.
Hero: Lucy Burns
"It is unthinkable that a national government which represents women should ignore the issue of the right of all women to political freedom." Lucy Burns, 1913
Lucy Burns was an activist and suffragette who protested extensively in both the United States and in England for women's right to vote. She was jailed on many occasions for protesting women's right to vote, including hunger strikes that involved her jailers force feeding her to prevent her from protesting in that way. Lucy Burns once advertised an upcoming national women's convention by riding as a passenger in a small bi-plane, and tossing leaflets out of the plane in 80 mph winds, scattering the leaflets all over downtown Seattle!
Hero: Mary Anne Shadd Cary
"The fact that somebody is displeased is no evidence that we are wrong", Mary Ann Shadd Cary, 1854.
Mary Ann Shadd Cary was an accomplished writer, activist, educator, and scholar. As a young woman she worked as a teacher and was active in her writing about anti slavery and abolitionist concerns. In 1853 she established the Provincial Freeman newspaper, and became the 1st black woman in North America to edit a newspaper. In 1870 she became the 1st woman to receive a law degree from Howard University. She was active in the National Women's Suffrage Association and spoke at their 1878 convention. In 1880, she established the Colored Women's Progressive Franchise—a united group of Black suffragists. In her work for women's suffrage, she and other suffragettes testified before the Judiciary committee of the House of Representatives, making her the 1st Black woman to cast a vote in a national election. She was a truly remarkable and multi-faceted pioneer."
Those Were the Days
Growing up in Pennsylvania I had learned about the Seneca Falls Convention and the Women’s Suffrage Movement in the Eastern states. Now, participation in this exhibit gave me the opportunity to research the Women’s Rights Movement in the Northwest, and to learn more about the history of Washington state, specifically the importance of roles played by women. What has inspired me most is the continuity of strong women, from the beginnings of statehood in Washington, to the current political and social leadership, both locally and nationally. In 1907 May Arkwright Hutton stated: “I believe that the ballot in the hands of women will do more to raise the standard of citizenship than all other reforms together.” While the 19th amendment was an important milestone in the initial struggle for women’s voting rights, the battle for equal rights for all citizens remains unsettled.
I embrace minimalism and negative space in many of my pieces, and I like the idea that a 'negative space' can also double as a reference to the tense political atmosphere when any minority group was fighting for the vote. I made this piece as a diptych to be shown to the left of 'Suppression.'
I hope this piece speaks for the minority woman in America. Women may have won the vote, but are our voices still being smothered? I made this piece as a diptych to be shown to the right of 'Progression.'
My collage illustrates an aspect of Susan B. Anthony's historic visit to the northwest in 1871. As her cumbersome dress floats away like a ghost, she shows the strength she will need to conquer those who stand in the way of women's rights. The section of US flag seen behind SBA denotes her national directive, however, the red star and red edge of the white ribbon could indicate spilled blood in one form or another.
Kathryn V. White
Advocating for women’s suffrage required a commitment to gender equality as a truth. Those involved in this movement were aligning and centering themselves on that which they believed was true and just. In doing so, a resonance occurred as the desire for change rippled outwards from single individuals, to groups, to states, to the greater nation. As a single artwork and as a part of the larger exhibit, the abstract elements of Resonating Truth plus the title will hopefully inspire people to find their own answers to questions such as: When the truth is really known, does it feel like a bull’s eye has been struck? In what ways has the work of the women’s suffrage movement resonated outward to benefit you personally as well as the greater society? (the circle of many circles) What “resonating truth” actions have you personally taken to support gender equality? In what ways are people still closed-minded about gender equality or stuck in gender biases? (the enclosed shapes)?
I cannot imagine what this nation would look like if women were not allowed to vote. Thanks to the Women’s Suffrage Movement, women now provide voices for the voiceless and create actions to reverse discrimination. We rise up to honor those who fought before us and FOR us. We have one chance to get it right. Collage using Life magazine,1938 and Seventeen magazine, 1955 on cradled board.
Women were voiceless, directed by men, the decision makers. They needed to stand strong, come together and fight for the right to vote, to have their voices heard. I don’t often use magazines in my work, but these two offered a glimpse of a different time, one where a woman’s place was still behind men. In the shadows they formed an army. Collage using Life magazine, 1938 and Seventeen magazine, 1955 on cradled board.
The inspirational quote for this project was “Well behaved women seldom make history”. Hence the party hat on Susan B. Anthony, a serious woman who played a pivotal role in the Suffrage movement, igniting the WA territory. Her life was devoted to equal rights for women and African Americans, an ongoing hot topic. I respect her kind of strength and leadership wondering if she ever let her hair down? Her life was devoted to freedom and lived by this measure; “the woman who will not be ruled must live without marriage”. The collage is named for Sarah Burger Yesler, a spiritualist at the center of Seattle life, in the Suffrage peak . She too had different ideas about societies rules, refused to join the church believing in free love while being devoted to her husband Henry Yesler, who built the 1st Seattle saw mill. This then papered the books, leading Sarah to found the Seattle library association, now the Seattle Public library. Her courage, living for what she believed, in 1885 is an admirable trait I seek to emulate. What I appreciate about these women is reflected in my version of “dada” collage. This style peaked in 1920, parallel to the 19th amendment being ratified. Dada is non-sensical to the point of whimsy, yet created by ferociously serious thoughts in response to emerging modern media and machine culture trends. It’s ironic 100 years later and the role of Suffragette, demanding equal rights and calling for women leaders, still exists.
Claudia Mazzie Ballheim
Oh the Women
As part of their suffrage campaign, Washington women climbed Mount Rainer in 1909 and planted a “Votes for Women” flag at the summit. My collage marks this event, but instead of Mount Rainier, the women ascend a mountain made of suffrage posters and handbills.
My collage process began when I saw the expressions on these two women’s faces. They looked simultaneously delighted with themselves and shocked by their boldness. In order to support these women’s bravery, I placed other suffragettes behind them and a flyer outlining the reasons why women were willing break societal norms and march for their right to vote. The map shows how far suffragettes had come in gaining voting rights and how much work still needed to be done.
The Unfinished Business Of Building One America
This collage was inspired by the words of former President William J. Clinton in a message to Congress dated January 15, 2001, concerning the challenges of completing the unfinished business of building One America. The lines of text (appearing in 13 pairs) mimic the red and white stripes of the American flag, which symbolize the original colonies. Of the 50 stars, 13 are set apart, White against Black, representing the Confederate States, to remind us of the sacrifice of so many who, as former President Abraham Lincoln had hoped, ensured that “government of the people, by the people, and for the people” did not “perish from the earth.” The iconic images of Fumiko Hayashida and Ruby Chow, clipped from Seattle Met’s issue on "30 Women Who Built Seattle," reflect the “long arc” that “bends toward justice,” of which Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. often spoke, and the fourteen stars that flow from one figure to the other, referring to States that joined the Union after the Civil War, also suggest progress. Much, however, remains to be done, and former President Clinton’s observation that “America at its best is people of all colors united for the common good . . . work[ing] with [their] neighbors for change” resonates even more now than when he authored the axiom on the eve of leaving office.
When They Finally Guaranteed Us the Vote
White men got the vote in 1776 when we became a nation. The rest of us had to wait much longer: In 1910, the State of Washington gave white women the vote. In 1924 the Indian Citizenship Act granted Indigenous Peoples federal citizenship, but voting rights were still restricted in many places. In 1952 the McCarran-Walter Act gave Asian-Americans the right to become citizens and to vote. The 1964 Civil Rights Act included a section upholding the right of African-Americans to vote. The 1965 Voting Rights Act finally removed discriminatory barriers that prevented many people of color from voting.
It was the summer after my first year in college when Title IX went into effect, it is decades later that we now normally see great athletes who are women rightfully applauded by all. Sue Bird gave me inspiration for this piece. I am consistently struck by how long it takes and how much perseverance is needed to ensure that all people are afforded equal rights and opportunities. And, we must not fall backwards.
Bold hot pink letters proclaiming “We Vote” set the tone for the women wearing hats from various decades of the past one hundred years. Check marks over mouths emphasize she now speaks with her vote.
Elsa Bouman and Juanita Choo
Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
Two collage artists have collaborated to compose a vortex of the suffragette time line. The past, present and future of the women's movement are encapsulated in this historic swirl of figures.
John Nelson Arbuckle
The distorted faces of the three suffragettes used in this piece, Bernice Sopp, Cora Smith Eaton, and Mehitable Haskell represent the pain of discrimination that women were subjected to as members of society without equal voting rights. These women were truly pioneers in the cause for justice in America. The distorted faces also represent the fact that we still are having voting rights issues in this country and we still are having equal rights issues in this country. One only needs to look at discussions in the political arena to see how absurd it is that we even question that a woman could be president.
This collage is inspired by the voices of the women of the suffrage movement. These women spoke often and loudly. They did not let criticism and opposition quiet their voices. They spoke out for what they needed to do and we as women today need to follow their example. We do not serve society well when we allow our voices to be silenced.