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In fact, Gagi was a woman of remarkably strong opinions, strongly and frequently expressed. As a child I was most fascinated by her views on food – despite decades of living in Massachusetts, she clung firmly to her recipe for Manhattan clam chowder – but as I grew older, it was her political fervor that seemed most striking. We often disagreed, but I never regretted arguing with her; her views were considered, mostly reasonable and always, absolutely, her own.
Which is why it was always incredible to me – and still is to this day – that, until she was 29 years old, she could not do something that most of us now take for granted. She was a woman, and so she could not vote.
“Women’s suffrage” has a kind of quaint, historical air, doesn’t it?
We picture ladies in white shirtwaists and Gibson Girl coiffures, picketing prettily in front of the White House (or, in my case, parading in London, because my first encounter with the word “suffragette” was the mother in “Mary Poppins”). There’s something almost silly about it; that “-ette” suffix does have a way of draining the seriousness out of almost anything. And yet it was, for my grandmother and for millions of women like her, a movement that asserted something she simply could not take for granted: that she was a full citizen of the United States, with all the rights a citizen holds.
Until she was 29 years old, my grandmother could not do something that most of us now take for granted. She was a woman, and so she could not vote.
This program aired on November 6, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.
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