Westford Celebrates Women’s Right to Vote

 

The Westford Historical Society and Museum
in partnership with the
League of Women Voters of Westford
and Westford Cultural Council 

Join us for a look into the 19th Amendment and its legacy
through book discussions, historical interpretations and more

 

Votes for Women: Massachusetts Leaders in the Woman Suffrage Movement
Book reading and talk by Barbara Berenson

Date: Monday, February 10 at 7 pm
Location: Westford Museum, 2 Boston Rd. Westford MA

Barbara Berenson, author of Massachusetts in the Woman Suffrage Movement: Revolutionary Reformers, will discuss the woman suffrage movement and give local suffragists the attention they deserve. Massachusetts was at the center of the national struggle for woman suffrage. Long before the Civil War, Lucy Stone and other abolitionists launched the organized women’s movement at the first National Woman’s Rights Convention, held in Worcester. After the war, state activists founded the Boston-based American Woman Suffrage Association to lead campaigns across the country. Their work laid the foundation for the next generation of suffragists to triumph over tradition. Berenson will also address the battle over historical memory that long obscured the state’s leading role.


A 20/20 Perspective on Women’s Rights, 1920 – 2020
After Suffrage, talk by Barbara Berenson

Date: Thursday,  February 27 at 7 pm
Location: Westford Museum, 2 Boston Rd. Westford MA

Barbara Berenson’s second talk will address women’s rights after they finally achieved access to the ballot in 1920.  How have women fared politically and legally over the past century? Berenson will consider how women activists have built alliances and shaped laws in an effort to combat stereotypes, discrimination, and gender-based violence at home, at work, and in the public sphere.  She will review some of the key developments over the past century and include a discussion of the long and still-ongoing campaign for the Equal Rights Amendment. She will also discuss the historical connections between women who opposed suffrage and those who oppose women’s rights today. Followed by a panel discussion with:

Elizabeth Almeida has been a member of the Westford Select Board since 2017. Before running for the Select Board, she chaired the Agricultural Commission and led the opening and expansion of the Westford Community Garden. While on the Select Board she chaired the 63 Main Street Task Force in addition to serving on the Dog Park Task Force, as liaison to the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail and as a Northern Middlesex Council of Government Councilor.

Ellen Harde was the first woman elected to the Westford Board of Selectmen, in 1972, serving until 1974, and was Town Moderator from 1993 to 2017. She has served on too many town committees and boards to list here. She currently chairs the 35 Town Farm Road Task Force.

Beth Morrison is founder and chair of Indivisible Westford Progressive Massachusetts. She has been a member of the Finance Committee since 2018 and was a member of the Fiscal Year 2019 Classification Research Group, appointed by the Board of Selectmen.

“I Can’t Die but Once”
performance by Gwendolyn Quezaire-Presutti

Date: Friday, March 6 at 7 pm
Location: Westford Museum, 2 Boston Rd. Westford MA


Living History performance of Harriet Tubman.Tubman believed in the equality of all people, black or white, male or female, which made her sympathetic to the women’s rights movement. Tubman’s role was not that of a leader but that of a strong supporter. As a woman who had fought for her own freedom and the freedom of others, Tubman set to work with her friends by touring and giving speeches about her own experiences as a female slave and as the liberator of hundreds born under the bondage of slavery. She described her years as “Moses” and the impact she had to those who found freedom. She toured New York, Boston and Washington speaking in favor of women’s suffrage rights.

 

“I Now Pronounce You Lucy Stone”
performance by Judith Kalaora.

Date: Thursday, March 19 at 7 pm
Location: Westford Museum, 2 Boston Rd. Westford MA

In this fiery presentation, Lucy describes the tension of Antebellum Boston.. Women were evolving from successful abolitionists to struggling suffragists! Challenging discrimination is not easy; Lucy Stone was never one to take the easy road. The first woman from Massachusetts to earn a college degree, Lucy was an ardent supporter of human rights. Always fierce, her belief that women and men be equal was evident in both her political and personal endeavors. Her message inspired thousands to join the suffrage movement; even Susan B. Anthony credits Lucy’s impassioned speeches for her involvement. As a scholar, Lucy studied Greek and Hebrew, insisting that ancient scriptures had been mistranslated to objectify women. As a wife, Lucy refused to take her husband’s name, becoming the first to do so in the nation, and leading to the moniker of “Lucy Stoner” to describe a woman who does just that! Lucy and her comrades were evolving from successful abolitionists to struggling suffragists. Their fight was ferocious, so come along for the ride! Suitable for all ages.


“I want to go to Jail” A one-act play
written by Pamela Swing and Elizabeth Dabanka


Date: Friday, May 22 at 7 pm

Location: Parish Center of the Art, 10 Lincoln St. Westford, MA

“I Want to go to Jail” transports you back to February, 1919, when women suffragists grappled with unexpected obstacles in their quest for the final vote needed to pass the suffrage amendment. They were arrested for picketing President Wilson at the Boston State House and served time in the Charles Street Jail. These were the last arrests of the suffrage movement.

Discover Your Female Ancestor

Date: Thursday June 11 at 7 pm
Location: Westford Museum, 2 Boston Rd. Westford MA

Was your great-grandmother or great great grandmother alive in 1920? Did she vote in that very first election after the ratification of the 19th amendment, that granted women the right to vote? How do you find out? Bob Oliphant and Patti Mason will share tips, tricks and genealogical resources that are available to you in discovering more about your female ancestors.

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