Women have been fighting for their rights forever. No where is this truth more poignant or dramatic than BEYOND SUFFRAGE, an exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York, 103rd Street and Fifth Avenue in East Harlem.
The exhibit traces women’s political activism in New York City from the struggle to win the vote, improve labor conditions, healthcare and government – from the early 20th century right up until today.
We first saw photos and artifacts of the different cultures, ethnicities and ages of the women. Remi, our gracious and knowledgeable Museum Scholar, guided us through the exhibit’s four sections, with captivating stories along the way.
In SECURING THE VOTE, Remi asked us a question: “Why didn’t men want women to vote?” His answers were everything from distasteful to infuriating: They weren’t property owners; they weren’t as intelligent, and they couldn’t be trusted!
There were clashes among the women’s groups. The “Mink Brigade” was white and upper class. Black, Asian and other white women were middle and lower class. Each group marched separately for the exact same goal.
In NAVIGATING THE SYSTEM, we saw the jumpsuit many factory women wore. The buttons were hidden so their male colleagues couldn’t unbutton them!
By 1917, the country’s thinking had changed. The 19th amendment to the Constitution finally allowed women to vote.
LIBERATION FROM THE TOP DOWN AND THE BOTTOM UP was about the 1960s, when different movements were striving for equality: civil rights, labor, anti-Vietnam, and a new wave of feminism with Gloria Steinem, Bella Abzug and Shirley Chisolm.
BREAKING THE GLASS CEILING was heartbreaking. It showed how close we came to electing Hillary Clinton in 2016, but in the end, not a shard was shattered.
There are witty signs and paintings from the 2017 Women’s March. And there’s still reason for hope. Harvey Weinstein was the catalyst who ignited the worldwide #ME TOO movement. And oh, how the mighty have fallen – just because women spoke up!
Don’t miss this invigorating piece of history. The exhibit runs through 8/05/18. Visit [email protected] or call 212-534-1672.