January 21st - But the Women Rose

But the Women Rose Doreen Rappaport and Susan Kemplar, 1971

Today I will march in the New York City's Women's March; if it's possible and if you feel comfortable, I would recommend finding your local march  and getting out there.  

In these last few weeks I have taken solace in reading about the protests and fights of time past - for the abolition of slavery, for women's suffrage, for civil rights, against the encroachment of fascism and authoritarianism. It is very easy to feel, at this moment of time, unequal to the forces arrayed against us - and important to remember that this is always the case, that those who agitate against bigotry and oppression always do so against a seemingly immovable status quo. 

I listened to today's album, But The Women Rose, because I felt it was appropriate to the day - and ended up listening to it again, and once more with my wife and daughter. The album is a series of spoken essays and quotes telling the stories of women who, well, I'll let the liner notes explain:  

The subjects range from Anne Hutchinson, a Puritan midwife banished from the Bay colony for speaking out against the misogynistic theocratic government, to Sojurner Truth, feminist and abolitionist who was born into slavery in upstate New York. Short biographical sketches are followed by recitations of the subjects own words - from letters, speeches, books and trials. There is even a marriage contract between Lucy Stone and Henry Blackwell, setting out an equitable marriage partnership in 1855. 

I had known about some of these women but a lot of stories were completely new to me - there's a very interesting mix of the well-known and the more obscure. The stories are great and necessary to hear, and the recitations of the notes really adds something that you don't get from just reading the excerpts. There is a second volume, with women from Emma Goldman to Shirley Chisholm, that I absolutely cannot wait to get to.

Click here to read liner notes and purchase this album from Smithsonian Folkways

Mark PophamComment