“The fact that it’s open again is the most dramatic and amazing thing,” Mary Brennan-Taylor, exhibit co-chair along with Ellen Martin, said in a tour of her reopened display. A display dedicated to the struggle for women’s equal rights.
Brennan-Taylor explained the significance of this extension, “Interestingly, right now, we are in the period from mid-July until the actual anniversary, which is the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment.” She added, “Then, the signing on the 26th of August, we are right in the push where it would have been one hundred years ago. So, that’s really the most exciting thing to me.”
Part of this gallery is personally connected to Brennan-Taylor. Correspondence between herself and Alice Paul rests on display.
Paul, with overt and sometimes theatrical displays that were intentionally coordinated to impact legislation, helped forge a path for the 19th Amendment. Brennan-Taylor explained Paul’s 1913 Women’s Suffrage March in Washington D.C., “Miss Paul’s Parade was the day before Woodrow Wilson’s inauguration, which she did intentionally to actually draw his attention to this issue.” Successfully stealing the national spotlight, and with a few years and many marches later, the 19th Amendment was enacted in 1920.
Brennan-Taylor remarked on reading the old letters, “I’m touched by the kind of wide-eyed innocence. You know, it was fine to be talking to this incredibly historical figure.” Expanding on the correspondence, Brennan-Taylor unveiled Paul’s timeless dedication, “Ms. Paul, in particular, was I think willing to talk with any young women who were trying to get the Equal Rights Amendment passed.” At the time of their interaction Paul would have been 91 years old.
Although the current environment provides an unpredictable future, Brennan-Taylor is ready for presenting at other galleries, stating, “It really needs to be seen by others. So that they understand the struggles and sacrifices which were made.”
‘The Art of Suffrage: Struggle, Sacrifice and Success’ is open until August 26th located at the Kenan House Gallery at 433 Locust Street. For more information, check them out here: http://kenancenter.org/