Upcoming Meetings

2020 marks the 100th Anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: the Susan B. Anthony Amendment guaranteeing Women the Right to Vote. To celebrate the Women’s Suffrage Centennial, most of our programs this year are devoted to the theme of Women’s Suffrage.

Next Meeting

From Corsets to Combinations: The Fashion Revolution of Women’s Suffrage, Park McCullough House, North Bennington August 26, 2020  6:30 – 9:00

 

Ain’t I a Woman?
TO BE RESCHEDULED
Oldcastle Theatre
This program, presented by Kathryn Woods, tells Sojourner Truth’s story in her own words, speeches, and songs.

During her 29 years as a slave, she developed a close relationship with God which enabled her, in 1843, to rename herself Sojourner Truth and walk away from slavery. Sojourner took to the road to free her people.

She became a powerful speaker against slavery and for the rights of women.  The last years of her life were spent petitioning the U.S. Government to turn over western lands.

The program joins Sojourner Truth at the end of her life. She recalls her early days as a slave, details her relationship with God, and shares poignant stories of her days walking through this land. Ms. Woods uses Sojourner’s own words and the spiritual music she may have sung to recreate this inspiring woman.

Kathryn Woods, a Massachusetts native, has acted on stage, screen, television, and radio and guides tours on the Freedom Trail in Boston.

We are partnering with the Bennington Performing Arts Center—Home of Oldcastle Theatre for this Vermont Humanities Council event.

 


Previous Meetings

From the Parlor to the Polling Place
Saturday, February 29 at 2:00 pm
Oldcastle Theatre

Singer and historian Linda Radtke, in period garb and “Votes for Women” sash, will celebrate the centennial of the passage of the 19th Amendment, at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 29  at the Bennington Performing Arts Center/Home of Oldcastle Theatre.

The event will highlight the decades-long persistence of Vermonters, both women and men, in getting the amendment passed. It is sponsored by the Bennington Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW), BPAC and Vermont Humanities Council. The public is invited to attend. There is no charge.

Music was essential to the Suffrage Movement: each state convention began and ended with songs such as “Shall Women Vote?,” “New America,” “Giving the Ballot to the Mother” and “Voting as We Pray,” as well as rousing Christian hymns.

Touring the state in 1870, Suffragist Lucy Stone urged resistant citizens to see women’s involvement in civic life as “enlarged housekeeping,” expanding women’s traditional efforts to nurture hearth and home to a wider focus to improve the greater community. (The Rutland Herald reporter expected “Harpies and Amazons” and was impressed by suffragists’ mild and rational approach.)

Both the songs and stories in Radtke’s presentation, accompanied by pianist Arthur Zorn, highlight Vermont’s efforts from 1840-1921, as they lobbied in churches, at “parlor meetings,” at town halls and at the State House for votes for women.

Radtke was a Vermont high school teacher for 31 years and now produces the VPR Church Hour on Vermont Public Radio. She has a special interest in local history, and enjoys doing research on each town she visits with her program. A classically trained singer, Radtke is a member of Vermont’s professional vocal ensemble, Counterpoint, the Oriana Singers, and the Arioso Chamber Ensemble. She also sings with a vocal quartet, Ah!Capella, sponsored by the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, which brings music to Vermont schools.

This is one in a series of programs planned by the Bennington Branch of AAUW to mark the anniversary of passage of the 19th Amendment.

BPAC is located at 331 Main St., Bennington.


Suffrage Film Series: Jan. 18, Jan. 26, and February 1

The Women’s Suffrage Film series is sponsored by the Bennington Branch of the American Association of University Women, and co-sponsored by the Bennington Free Library and the Bennington Center for the Performing Arts—Home of Oldcastle Theatre.

Three Saturday afternoon screenings, followed by discussion, will trace the American women’s Suffrage movement from just after the Civil War through the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920. All programs begin at 2 p.m. and are free and open to the public.

Not For Ourselves Alone (Part Two) will be shown on Saturday, January 18 at Oldcastle Theatre. This documentary by Ken Burns and Paul Barnes sets the stage for the series through an intimate, loving and sometimes fiery portrayal of the suffrage movement’s “miracle partnership” between Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. A discussion will follow the film.

Also at Oldcastle Theatre, Suffragettes in the Silent Cinema will be shown on Saturday, January 25. Following the movement into the “modern age,” this documentary—which contains clips from a variety of silent films—is a time capsule from the dawn of women’s suffrage as a mass movement. It looks at how the new medium of film was used for messaging by anti-suffragists and suffragists alike. Director, historian and novelist Kay Sloan will introduce the film via Skype; the discussion afterwards will be led by Jyotika Virdi, professor of Cinema Studies at the University of Windsor in Ontario.

The venue will be the Bennington Free Library on Saturday, February 1 for Iron Jawed Angels, a feature film by Katja von Garnier. This film casts aside sepia-toned images of ernest women suffragists in favor of plucky, wildly funny (and, yes, sexy) suffragists who took the fight for the 19th Amendment to the streets and risked everything to get it across the finish line. It traces the generational transfer of leadership from Carrie Chapman Catt (Angelica Huston) to Alice Paul (Hilary Swank) and other young activists.

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