Sunday, March 13, 2016

In honor Women's History Month: Bernadette Cahill celebrates our right to vote, UL offers symposium

            Bernadette Cahill of Richland Parish has published two books on women’s struggle to obtain the vote, a right that has only been in existence since 1920.
             “This is a drum I beat all the time ... it’s less than a century since women won the right to vote (they weren’t given it) and their campaign was 72 years long from the first call for woman suffrage in 1848,” Cahill wrote me by email. “When I became a U.S. citizen in September, 2012, I was very aware that my right to vote that came with my new citizenship was due to the work of the women I was writing of then in my two books. When I think of it, it makes me feel very humble.”
The “Alice Paul” book, a story of the national campaigns, examines the pioneering non-violent votes for women campaign from 1913-1920 based in Washington, D.C., while the Arkansas book tells the same story from the local perspective of Little Rock. The campaign for votes for women resulted in the largest enfranchisement of citizens of the United States — 26.5 million, according to the U.S. Census Bureau in 1920. The anniversary of the 19th Amendment passage approaches in 2020. 
            Cahill was producer and the host of the former KEDM radio show “Memories” at UL-Monroe, she was a classical music host when KEDM was launched and has been an occasional contributor on women’s history to the Richland Beacon-News. Cahill has made many presentations about votes for women, including one at the Clinton School of Public Service in 2012 when the 19th Amendment document on display at the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock. Her talk is available to watch here.
            She is currently researching and writing about the women’s campaign for equal rights, specifically the vote, from 1776 to 1876, with special focus on Reconstruction, when women were excluded from the equality established for men then by Congress and national reformers. She also often produces specialized articles on women’s history and writes each summer about historic themes and travel for “High Country Magazine” in Boone, NC. 

Women’s History Month
The University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Center for Louisiana Studies observes Women’s History Month with LA Femme/Women of Louisiana: A Symposium on Wednesday at the Paul and LuLu Hilliard University Art Museum’s A. Hays Town Building. The free day-long symposium­­ culminates with an evening book launch of “Louisiana Women: Their Lives and Times, Volume Two,” co-edited by Mary Farmer Kaiser, dean of the ULL Graduate School and published by the University of Georgia Press.
The program includes sessions on the state of women’s studies in Louisiana, health accessibility and disparity, intimate partner violence, campus culture and gender issues and a discussion of defining women and inclusivity. A Brown Bag Lunch Talk with Dr. Janet Allured will focus on her forthcoming book, “Remapping Second-Wave Feminism: The Long Women’s Rights Movement in Louisiana, 1950-1997.” Speakers are drawn from the university community, including faculty, undergraduate and graduate students, as well as the community.
To reserve your seat and see the full program, visit http://lafemmesymposium.eventbrite.com/ The Brown Bag Lunch Talk requires separate registration and payment for lunch. For more information, visit http://louisianastudies.louisiana.edu/, email clspresents@louisiana.edu or call (337) 482-6027.