Rediscovering New York

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

2020/03/10 - Women, Activism and New York City

[EPISODE] Women, Activism and New York City

My live guest will be Sarah Seidman, Puffin Foundation Curator of Social Activism at the Museum of the City of New York, and curator of the museum’s present exhibition “Activist New York”.

We also will go into our archive for an interview with Lucie Levine, Founder of Archive on Parade, who will discuss the women behind Brooklyn’s own suffrage movement in the 19th Century. (Brooklyn was its own municipality, separate from New York City until 1898!)

Segment 1

The show begins with Jeff introducing the guest, Lucie Levine, who talks living in Brooklyn, continuing her story on how she entered the business she is working into now, having a love of history and being intrigued by the women’s suffrage movement in Brooklyn. Lucie gives a history of women’s suffrage, its roots lying all the back in the aftermath of the Civil War, outlining why Brooklyn would be the place where movements would be birthed, also noting the abolitionist history of the borough. She talks about a few key figures in the founding of Sorosis, focusing particularly on Celia M. Burleigh, including her founding of Brooklyn Women’s Club.

Segment 2

Lucie talks about where the listener can find information for ‘Archive on Parade’. The conversation continues with the history of suffrage organizations formed for black women in Brooklyn. The talks steers towards Sarah J. Garnet and her founding of the Equal Suffrage League of Brooklyn, and her sister, Susan McKinney Steward, their history being from a family of trailblazers in African-American suffrage. Victoria Earle Matthew working her way into the conversation as well through a talk of intersectionality being birthed in the 19th century, the two talking about her founding of the White Rose Mission. The segment closes with an anecdote about a little known figure named, Cornelia K. Hood, the first women graduate of the NYU Law School and with the two talking about an interesting figure in the suffrage movement, Lucy Burns.

Segment 3

Jeff introduces the second guest of the show, Sarah Seidman, who talks growing up in Boston and now living in New York City, and her decision to go into curating, joining the staff back in 2014. She reflects on an older exhibition, Beyond Suffrage, which outlines the history of the suffrage from 1917 to 2017, and a current exhibition, Activist New York, which covers a broader history of social activism in New York. The two talk about Mabel Ping-Hua Lee’s role in the suffrage movement and who pursued a larger suffrage goal when her right to vote came into conflict with the Chinese Exclusion Act. The segment closes with a brief discussion on the ‘Uprising of the 20,000’.

Segment 4

Sarah talks about a few current exhibitions opening at Museum of the City of New York. The conversation continues with Belle Moskowitz’s and Pauli Murray’s parts in the suffrage and other social movements, naming more important figures as these movements persisted through the 20th century. They talk about a duo of living activists, Gloria Steinem and Dorothy Pitman Hughes, name-dropping important figures in more niche social movements in New York City like Denise Oliver-Velez and Sylvia Rivera. The show closes with Sarah giving out her website and promoting upcoming exhibitions.