Updated: May 12, 2019
In memory of Dora Davis
The history, the propaganda and the individual. Who were the feminists in our history? Can feminists claim them as part of who represent them today?
The contributions of women in American history had varied backgrounds with many pushed aside, or worse yet vilified. The propaganda for advancing agendas has targeted our women's history for years.
The Socialist Origins of International Women's Day. Stated in this article from the Jacobin magazine from the beginning the holiday celebrated working women and the defeat of capitalism. It has roots back to 1894-today's celebration is outlined in the National Women's History Museum. The National Women’s History Alliance selects and publishes the yearly theme. I had to question-do I celebrate it today? Of course!! I am a woman.
My journey of this topic starts with the findings in "the box" I found of medals, ribbons and historical artifact. My great grandmother was a leader in the Women's Christian Temperance Union. There is little recognition and acknowledgment of the role the women's group contributed. Research has concluded their part to be very significant.
As stated in Frances Willard . Org, Through education and example, the WCTU hoped to obtain pledges of total abstinence from alcohol, and later also tobacco and other drugs. Their local chapters called "Unions" were mostly autonomous but closely linked to the state unions and national headquarters. The WCTU quickly became the largest woman's organization in the United States (and later, in the world.)
The white ribbon bow was selected to symbolize purity, and the WCTU's watchwords were "Agitate - Educate - Legislate."
Known for their work towards securing prohibition, they championed many other causes. Here is a list of a few. Women's right to vote, protection of women and children at home and work, shelters for abused women and children, equal pay for equal work, stiffer penalties for sexual crimes against girls and women, uniform marriage and divorce laws, prison reform and police matrons, women police officers and homes and education for wayward girls. There are many others. Many Christian women contributed in very unique ways to this organization.
There is much wisdom to obtain from the history of women. Each woman was a person, an individual advocating for their beliefs and rights. Various groups across this nation continue to stand today. Propaganda tells women we have to fit a mold they create to be a feminist or stand for women's rights. It is a mockery of the intelligence level women possess today, just as it has been throughout our history. Perhaps it is time again to "Agitate-Educate-Legislate!"
Be brave and fierce but always remain humble.