What About You?

Well what can you do? I can only give you so much information. It is your job to be informed. Dig a little and discover. You now know what Matilda fought for. What will you fight for? Who will you teach and what will you tell them? Maybe you find common ground with the men and women working for the ERA. Maybe you find issues with the birthing system in this country. Or maybe you find a completely different issue that you are passionate about. Whatever it is stay informed, find the facts, and then teach the public. That is what Matilda would want you to do. But hey, don’t listen to me. Think for yourself.

To learn more about Matilda go to: http://www.matildajoslyngage.org/

Books you can read include: Matilda Joslyn Gage: She Who Holds The Sky

Sisters in Spirit

A Time of Protest

Go. Think and discover for yourself.

Matilda in Me

I have always been an informed and inquisitive person. I was raised much the same way that Matilda was. My mother and father stressed that I needed to be aware of what was going on in the world. Every night we would watch the evening news. They encouraged me to ask them questions about what was going on in the world and in our country.

They too taught me to think for myself. I was never to just take someone’s word. I was expected to do my own research, ask questions, and come up with my own opinion. Is this not the very spirit of Matilda herself?

The way I keep Matilda alive is to continue asking questions about the world an society. I need to ask if the dominant culture and narrative is running my life. Am I being harmed by what I don’t know? The more informed I am the better. As cliche as it is, knowledge is power.

I plan on being a High School History teacher. Matilda will be in my classroom. I will teach my students to question everything I teach them; question everything they read. If I do this, than Matilda’s thoughts and ideals can be imprinted onto another generation. I need to teach my students about the untold stories; the stories and people that were written out by the winners. It is my responsibility to give my students multiple sides to every event and occurrence  If I do not do that, then to me I fail as a teacher, I fail my students, I fail myself, and I fail Matilda.

Matilda is alive in me. Her actions will not be forgotten. Her ideals will continue on for generations to come. It is up to me to teach how to think for yourself.

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Me and my parents at Monticello.

Matilda in Today’s World

Matilda may have passed away over a hundred years ago, but that does not mean that her spirit is not alive and her dreams are not being pursued. If you look hard enough you will see work being done.

One example is the national movement to get the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) added to the Constituion. Section 1 of the Amendment states: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” The amendment was passed in 1972, but failed to be ratified by enough states. Since then it has been brought to every session of Congress to be voted on.

The current movement to pass the ERA has been utilizing social media and Obama‘s White House Petition system. For more information go to: https://www.facebook.com/groups/45860562011/

Another example of Matilda in today’s society can be found in The D.R.E.A.M. Freedom Revival. They are a group of people from the Syracuse community, who come together to bring issues to the forefront. The issues they cover are usually ones that are seldom covered by the media and go against the dominant narrative of society. They put on free performances that discuss current problems. They have people give their testimonies on the topic. After the performance, there is open dialogue so that the audience members can actively engage and discuss the issue. Matilda would love this. She wanted people to be knowledgeable about the issues, but not only that, she wanted them to engage in discussion about what was happening.

For more on The D.R.E.A.M. Freedome Revival go to: https://www.facebook.com/thedreamfreedomrevival?fref=ts

“To those who f…

“To those who fancy we are near the end of the battle or that the reformer’s path is strewn with roses, we may say them nay. The thick of the fight has just begun; the hottest part of the warfare is yet to come, and those who enter it must be willing to give up father, mother and comforts for its sake. Neither shall we who carry on the fight, reap the great reward. We are battling for the good of those who shall come after us. They, not ourselves, shall enter into the harvest.” – Matilda Joslyn Gage

Nothing is Sweeter Than Liberty

In a nutshell what did Matilda fight for? It can be summed up into one word. That word is Liberty. The idea that she fought for equality is correct to an extent. But equality isn’t a strong enough word. Equality is simply being equal. And who controls equality? That would be the government. Liberty on the other hand means being free from confinement, control, captivity. When one finds liberty, they break the reign of government upon their lives.

This quest for liberty is what made Matilda a rebel. Most women such as Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton were simply looking for equality. That wasn’t enough for Matilda. She wanted true freedom. For that, she was written out of history. She did however leave us with writings and wisdom, and it is our job to uncover the truths that she brought to light that were so unjustly hidden. It is our job to bring Matilda to life.

The Haudenosaunee

The women of the Women’s Rights Movement had to have gotten their ideas from somewhere. They did not simply make up the idea of equality, rather they looked to the local native people for ideas on how society could be. New York State is home to the Haudenosaunee, or more commonly known as the Iroquois. Here the women found a society where men and women were equal.

In the Haudenosaunee culture, the lineage is determined through the mother. Children take on the clan of their mother, unlike the European ways of taking the father’s name. At the time in the United States, if there was a divorce, the man, not the woman, would take control of the children.  The native people believed that the children should stay with the mother.

Rape, which was common in the American culture (it was legal for a husband to rape his wife), was a concept unknown to the Haudenosaunee people. If a man were to commit this crime against a woman, he would be forced out of the nation.

The style of dress that many Women’s Rights advocates wore was directly modeled from what the Haudenosaunee women wore.

Haudenosaunee women were responsible for the agriculture of their community. They also had control of their own land. The contrasts greatly to the White society, in which women were not able to hold property once they were married.

What was most astounding to the suffragettes was the political clout that the Haudenosaunee women had. These women held key political offices withing their clan. The women were the ones who picked the chief. All decisions made, were by everyone, not just the men, voting. What a contrast this was from the dominant culture in the United States.

Matilda was enthralled with this culture. She became very close with the Mohawk people. She was adopted into the wolf clan and given the name Ka-ron-ien-ha-wi, or ‘Sky Carrier.’  Matilda wrote many articles for the New York Evening Post about the nations. She described their culture and how equality reigned; how their society was just to all. She brought to light the fact that the U.S. government was based off of the system that the Haudenosaunee have had for centuries, yet their system was more fair to all.

Examining the culture around her, Matilda found motivation and logic in her argument that the United States government and society was oppressive. It had been proven that an equal society was in existence and had been for hundreds of years.

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Territories of the Haudenosaunee People.

Dressed for Success?

The women in the 19th century were not dressed for success, they were dressed to be oppressed. Women when they entered their teen years were forced to begin corseting. BY the time they were in their mid-twenties, they couldn’t stand up by themselves; the muscles in their torso were not strong enough. The way that women were forced to dressed cause physical harm to their body.

Women began to introduce the idea of wearing loose pants under a tunic. This allowed for women to have freer movement. Of course it was frowned upon. A woman surgeon was arrested for wearing men’s clothes. She argued that in women’s clothes, she could not perform her duties. Matilda advocated for this change in dress. Men and society’s oppression had come down to even how women were supposed to dress. Every aspect of their lives was controlled. equality to Matilda was not simply gaining the right to vote. To her it was being equal in every way in society.

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Damage done by corseting.