Sunday, January 31, 2010

Video Friend

Burns, Ken, and Barnes, Paul. Not for Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. PBS WETA. (No date given)

This beautifully researched and presented PBS 2 Part Special explores the lives of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, who were 19th Century Visionaries working tirelessly and passionately to advance the causes of Women.

Their work began in the mid 1800s and continued through the end of the Century. While the U.S. was initially organized as a country based upon a "Declaration of Independence", whole sections of Society were excluded from that initial Declaration.

When their work began, Women did not have the right to vote, hold property, divorce, go to college, hold office, sit on juries from whom they may be tried. They were considered property of their Husbands. Should their marriages fail, they did not have right to their Children. While Elizabeth wrote and spoke more broadly on Women's Issues, Susan focused more specifically on getting Women the Right to Vote.

The film is about their work but also about their enduring and sometimes challenged Friendship which lasted over a half Century. Their personalities and life styles represented great contrasts. Susan was stark, plain, tall and slender, Quaker. She chose never to marry. Elizabeth was born to privilege, short and increasingly round, married and had 7 children. Elizabeth became the voice and Susan the legs.

We 3 C's continue to explore missing pieces of our understanding of History and the World around us. At the time Richard and I were in school in the 1950s and 1960s, Women's History was largely deemed unknown, unimportant, and therefore absent. With its focus on Men who were White, Battles, Wars, and Conquest, I remember how dreadful and dead I found history to be. I wonder if that was because I found no place in it and if it spoke a language I did not speak.

I feel deeply grateful I have had the privilege of association of several Women's Historians while at the University of North Dakota (Kathleen Brokke, Barb Handy Marchello, Anne Kelsch). They helped me begin to fill in some gaping holes in my understanding of History. They helped me to understand that Women's expression of History (and that of others dis-enfranchised from Power) is different. Reclaiming those Histories is about reclaiming part of myself. Reclaiming it is about coming into a fuller understanding and expression of being a World Citizen.

We 3 C's find that such explorations bring into our lives a fullness that is nourishing and satisfying. We yearn for more. In fact, it is our right and obligation to seek out more. It is not always comfortable, but that discomfort is about growth.

We checked this out of the Public Library. We shall be heading back to the Library to see what other treasures they may have in the stacks.

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