The Massachusetts Historical Society and The Greater Boston Women’s Vote Centennial Present “Can They Do It?” A Panel Discussion Exploring Divisions on the Road to the 19th Amendment

Saturday, 21 September 2019 at 3:00 PM at the Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston

The MHS and The Greater Boston Women’s Vote Centennial present “Can They Do It?” a panel discussion exploring divisions on the road to the 19th Amendment, featuring acclaimed historians Allison K. Lange, Corrine T. Field, Manisha Sinha, and Barbara F. Berenson. The event takes place Saturday, 21 September at 3:00 PM at the Massachusetts Historic Society, located at 1154 Boylston Street in Boston. It is free and open to the public, RSVP encouraged.

The women’s suffrage movement was not always a cohesive or inclusive space for everyone who fought for the vote, nor did the Nineteenth Amendment bring about political enfranchisement for all women. Conflicts around political philosophy, campaign tactics, and most notably, issues of race, led to a movement that was deeply fractured. The panel will further examine the divisions inherent in the movement and will look at how other social reform activists have historically struggled with coalition building and intersectionality.

“History is complicated and that is why uncovering the stories of our past is so important,” explained MHS President Catherine Allgor. “Our current exhibition at the MHS is a great example of doing so as it presents the struggles for and against women’s suffrage. The upcoming panel discussion is a fitting end to our show as we look at the complexities and divisions that were inside the suffrage movement to more fully understand what this movement meant to women of all races and classes in America.”

About Can She Do It? Exhibition at the Massachusetts Historical Society
Commemorating 100 years since Massachusetts ratified the 19th Amendment, this exhibition at the Massachusetts Historical Society (MHS) explores the activism and debate around women’s suffrage in Massachusetts. Featuring dynamic imagery from the collection of the MHS, “Can She Do It?” Massachusetts Debates a Woman’s Right to Vote illustrates the passion on each side of the suffrage question. The exhibition is open at the MHS April 26 through September 21, 2019, Monday through Saturday, from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Curated by Allison K. Lange.

About Allison K. Lange, PhD.
Allison K. Lange is an Assistant Professor of history at the Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston, MA. She received her PhD in history from Brandeis University and studies the long nineteenth century with an interest in gender, power, and visual culture in the United States. Various institutions have supported her work, including the National Endowment for the Humanities, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Library of Congress, and American Antiquarian Society. Lange has presented her work at conferences such as the American Historical Association, Organization of American Historians, and Berkshire Conference of Women Historians. Her writing has appeared in Imprint, The Atlantic, and The Washington Post. She also consults and works as a guest curator with Harvard’s Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, the Massachusetts Historical Society, and the Boston Public Library’s Leventhal Map Center. Lange is currently completing a manuscript called Picturing Political Power: Images in the Women’s Suffrage Movement, forthcoming from The University of Chicago Press in spring 2020, on the ways that woman’s rights activists and their opponents used images to define gender and power during the US woman suffrage movement.

About Corinne T. Field
Corinne Field is an associate professor in the Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality at the University of Virginia. Her research focuses on the intersection of gender, race, and age in the nineteenth-century United States. She is the author of The Struggle for Equal Adulthood: Gender, Race, Age, and The Fight for Citizenship in Antebellum America. With Nick Syrett, she is co-editor of Age in America: Colonial Era to the Present. Field is a co-founder of the History of Black Girlhood Network, an informal collaboration of scholars working to promote research into the historical experience of black girls, and she was a co-organizer of the Global History of Black Girlhood Conference held at the University of Virginia. Her current research investigates the history of generational conflict within the U.S. women’s rights movement from the 1870s to the 1930s, focusing in particular on the deep connections between age prejudice and race prejudice in arguments for women's empowerment. She has been a Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University, the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia, the Huntington Library, and the Schlesinger Library, Harvard University. Field received her Ph.D. in American history from Columbia University and her B.A. from Stanford.

About Manisha Sinha
Manisha Sinha is professor and the James L. and Shirley A. Draper Chair in American History at the University of Connecticut. She was born in India and received her Ph.D from Columbia University where her dissertation was nominated for the Bancroft prize. She was awarded the Chancellor’s Medal, the highest honor bestowed on faculty, from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where she taught for over twenty years. Her recent book The Slave’s Cause was reviewed by The Times Literary Supplement, The New York Review of Books, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, The Atlantic, and The Boston Globe, among others. It was featured as the Editor’s Choice of The New York Times Book Review. It was named the book of the week by Times Higher Education, and one of three Great History Books in Bloomberg News. Her first book, The Counterrevolution of Slavery, was named one of the ten best books on slavery in Politico. Her research interests lie in United States history, especially the transnational histories of slavery and abolition and the history of the Civil War and Reconstruction. She was a Visiting Professor at the University of Paris, Diderot in 2018. She is a member of the Board of the Society of Civil War Historians and of the Council of Advisors of the Lapidus Center for the Historical Analysis of Transatlantic Slavery at the Schomburg, New York Public Library. She is a co-editor of the “Race and the Atlantic World, 1700-1900,” series of the University of Georgia Press and is on the editorial board of the Journal of the Civil War Era and Slavery and Abolition. She has written for The New York Times, The New York Daily News, Time Magazine, CNN, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, Dissent, Jacobin, and The Huffington Post and been interviewed by The Times of London, The New York Times, Smithsonian Magazine, The Boston Globe, Slate, The Daily Caller, and Gothamist. She has appeared on Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show, TLC’s Who Do You Think You Are and was an adviser and on-screen expert for the Emmy nominated PBS documentary, The Abolitionists, which is a part of the NEH funded Created Equal series. She is currently writing a book on the “Greater Reconstruction” of American democracy and capitalism after the Civil War.

About Barbara F. Berenson
Barbara F. Berenson is the author of Massachusetts in the Woman Suffrage Movement: Revolutionary Reformers (The History Press 2018), Boston in the Civil War: Hub of the Second Revolution (The History Press 2014), and Walking Tours of Civil War Boston: Hub of Abolitionism (The Freedom Trail Foundation 2011, 2nd ed. 2014). She is co-editor of Breaking Barriers: The Unfinished Story of Women Lawyers and Judges in Massachusetts (MCLE 2012). A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, she retired from her position as Senior Attorney at the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in June 2019. She serves on the Boards of Boston By Foot and the Royall House & Slave Quarters.

About the Greater Boston Women’s Vote Centennial
The Greater Boston Women’s Vote Centennial, presented by Mayor Walsh’s Office of Women’s Advancement and supported by the Barbara Lee Family Foundation, aims to elevate the ongoing women’s suffrage centennial celebrations throughout Greater Boston. The project will span from June 2019-August 2020 and host a public speaker series, offer grants for suffrage centennial programming, and more.

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