Kingston rally to celebrate centennial of NYS women’s suffrage

Suffrage Parade in New York City, 1912 (Courtesy of the Library of Congress). The suffrage parade was a new development in the fight for women’s suffrage in the United States. It was a bold tactic, adopted by suffragists and the more militant suffragettes shortly after the turn of the century. Although some women chose to quit the movement rather than march in public, others embraced the parade as a way of publicizing their cause and combating the idea that women should be relegated to the home.

Many New Yorkers take pride in our state’s long heritage of being ahead of the curve on (most) social-change issues. As a result, we get to start celebrating the centennial of women’s suffrage nearly three years earlier than the rest of the country. The 19th Amendment to the US Constitution was formally adopted on August 26, 1920. But it was in a referendum on November 6, 1917 that 54 percent of New York’s all-male voters approved the addition of a women’s suffrage amendment to our state constitution, after it had been approved by two successive State Legislatures. Thanks, fellas; we’ll take it from here.

Here in Ulster County, the centenary festivities will peak with a live reenactment of a Suffrage Rally in the afternoon of Sunday, October 22. Organized by the Ulster County Historical Society, the Ulster County Clerk’s Office and the Ellenville Public Library & Museum, the gathering will begin around 12:45 p.m. in the vicinity of T. R. Gallo Park and the Maurice Hinchey Promenade on the Rondout waterfront in Kingston, serenaded by the Saints of Swing from the bandstand. The rally will then move on to the Home Port at the Hudson River Maritime Museum at about 1:10 p.m., to be welcomed by Kingston mayor Steve Noble and Ulster County clerk Nina Postupack.

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The general public is invited to wear period costume if possible, and join in conversations with costumed reenactors whose role will be to engage people in discussion about the women’s rights movement.

Beginning at 1:30, actors G. Angela Henry and Lynne McKenney Lydick will offer period speeches to the assembled crowd, portraying Sojourner Truth and Abby Kelley Foster respectively. Question-and-answer sessions will follow.

The event will also include a public display of the 16-panel “Ulster County Women of Note” traveling exhibit created in 2016 by the Ulster County Historical Society and the Ellenville Public Library & Museum with funding from a Humanities New York Action Grant. Attendees will have an opportunity to make their own Women’s Rights sash to wear or display, and voter registration tables will be set up by the Ulster County Clerk’s Office.

Admission to the Ulster County Women’s Suffrage Rally is free, and all are invited. For more info, e-mail uchsdirector@gmail.com, call (845) 377-1040 or (845) 647-5530 or visit www.facebook.com/ulstercountywomenofnote.

Suffrage Rally, Sunday, October 22, 1 p.m., free, T. R. Gallo Waterfront Park, 1 Broadway, Kingston; (845) 377-1040, (845) 647-5530, www.facebook.com/ulstercountywomenofnote.

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