Did the suffragettes help women's suffrage?

Women's suffrage in the USAWomen artists to 100 years of struggle for equality

The historic officers' mess on Park Avenue Armory: large oil paintings with generals and officers posing in lush wood paneling, old wooden parquet and heavy wrought iron chandeliers. This is where the African American performer Jillian Walker sings about the right of women to define themselves. The contrast is full of wonderful irony.

More than 300 guests came, almost all of them women. A special moment for program director and curator Avery Willis Hoffman. In her initiative "100 Years - 100 Women" she brought together ten important New York institutions:

"In our history books, we celebrate this day as a great step forward. The situation was much more complex."

Citizenship Denied

African American women were further deterred from voting, some by violence. Others were supposed to pay election taxes and had to pass reading tests. Polling stations were placed in areas that were inaccessible to blacks. Women of "Indian" origin were not allowed to vote anyway because they were denied American citizenship.

Today progress is palpable, as demonstrated by the institutions involved, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the famous Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York University and the National Black Theater. For the Artistic Director of the National Black Theater, Jonathan McCrory, transgender women are a natural part of it:

"Who is the most vulnerable in our society? They are black trans women. That means: We have to honor these women. And not with 'inspiration porn', but with a place where they can really be who they are."

Perspectives through art

On two floors, historians, filmmakers, directors and journalists will debate the long road to equality and inclusion: How long does it take from the legislative initiative to political culture actually changing? At the same time, composer Amanda Gookin's ethereal cello echoes through the hallways. Or the warm singing of the black performer Abbie Dobson can be heard. Avery Willis Hoffman:

"We are completely convinced that artists have a different view of this debate. In today's political climate - and to be honest in the climate of the last 100 years - it has often been artists who have helped us to see new paths. Neither can Politicians are still activists. "


The highlight of the day is the lecture of the so-called "Womanofesto", a collection of famous speeches by women. Well-known actresses like Kathleen Turner, Laila Robbins and Lady Dane read them. Here is a text from transgender stonewall activist Sylvia Rivera:

"I have had my nose broken. I have been thrown in jail. I have lost my job. I have lost my apartment - for gay liberation and all I wanted to say to you, people ... Let's do something for all of us , and not just men and women that belong to your white middle class club. "

After this successful start, curator Avery Willis Hoffman has only one concern: How will the works of the hundred artists fit into the large parade hall on May 16? That's when the birthday is really celebrated.