Today would have been the 98th birthday of Montgomery’s beloved seamstress and Secretary of the NAACP. Parks was 42 at the time of her political activism on that bus, which directly led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Although she was not the first woman who sat down in an act of civil disobedience (if you do not know about Claudette Colvin, go read about her here. Now.), she has become an icon of American and civil rights history. Happy birthday, Ms. Parks.
More civil rights history this week – February 2, 1960:
Want another reason to dig Debbie Wasserman Schultz? She defines the bullshit H.R. 3 as “a violent act against women.” Which of course it is, but apparently in our Congress you need ovaries to see that.
“It really is — to suggest that there is some kind of rape that would be okay to force a woman to carry the resulting pregnancy to term, and abandon the principle that has been long held, an exception that has been settled for 30 years, is to me a violent act against women in and of itself.”
As I’ve noted elsewhere, early 20th century suffragists were quite adept at using visual media to support the cause of women’s enfranchisement, producing postcards that challenged the idea of gender inequality. These women activists also produced a number of stamps that could be and were affixed to envelopes to promote the movement! While the western states were generally supportive of the move for equal suffrage (see image above), suffragists extended their activism to focus on the heavily-populated eastern states of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Massachusetts and New York in the mid-1910s to generate support east of the Mississippi River.
After the 19th Amendment became part of the U.S. Constitution in 1920, the federal government took up the cause of supporting women suffragists, producing stamps of their own, including this 3 cent stamp featuring Susan B. Anthony on August 26, 1936.
I think it’s pretty awesome that Secret uses their new commercial, “Let Her Jump,” to bring up this issue of sex discrimination in the Olympics. The video uses
film footage from the 1924 Olympics (the scenes of which are stunningly beautiful) to illustrate how archaic the decision of the ruling committee is to ban women ski jumpers in the 2010 games is, and ending with the message that after nearly 100 years of a men-only policy on ski jumping in the Olympics it’s time for change. It’s one thing to have men’s and women’s teams to allow for differences in their physiques, but to not have a team for women to compete altogether? It’s 2010 and we are better than that. (This history of discrimination against women athletes is not lost in the past, either. According to Wikipedia, women were prevented from jumping in the Nordic World Ski Championships until the 2009 games.)
The juxtaposition of the past and the present in this is so great – it’s such an effective way to communicate the absurdity of this situation. Lindsey Van and all of her teammates who are fighting to end the sex ban on ALL Olympic sports are amazing women doing great work. The world is watching.