“NOT JUST TALK”:
Listening, Telling and the Transformation of Social Consciousness
The Kilian Room – 500 Hall of Languages, Syracuse University
NOVEMBER 16, 2013
Dr. Sally Roesch Wagner – Associate Professor, Renee Crown University Honors Program, S.U., Founding Director, The Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation. Dr. Wagner shares the Foundation’s controversial “Who Chooses?” dialogue on Women’s Reproductive Rights, and their Girl Ambassadors for Social Justice International Dialogue Program.
Matilda Joslyn Gage: Bringing her into History
Although she was considered equally important as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony (the were called the “triumvirate of the movement”), Matilda Joslyn Gage (1828 – 1898) has been all but written out of history. Dr. Sally Roesch Wagner, the foremost authority on Gage, enlightens about this amazing women “lost from history,” who offered her Fayetteville, New York home as a station on the Underground Railroad, was adopted into the Wolf Clan of the Mohawk Nation, edited a newspaper, encouraged her son-in-law, L. Frank Baum, to write his Oz stories, and worked for the separation of church and state.
Onondaga Community College
4941 Onondaga Rd
This lecture is a part of the Speakers in the Humanities program.
Sally speaks at the American Association for State and Local History in Birmingham, Alabama, Sept. 2013.
Small Museums Luncheon
Sally Roesch Wagner of the Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation, shares with us the story
of Matilda Joslyn Gage, and how the Foundation applies her concepts to create a truly participatory museum experience. In the nineteenth century, Gage asked women to write postcards in support of suffrage. Attendees will pen a postcard or two of their own, and take away innovative ideas, proven concepts, and inspiration about why
small museums want to preserve and display objects.
International Collaboration, Extraordinary Benefits
International collaborations present unique opportunities for expanding audience and mission while offering up an unexpected set of difficulties to overcome. The panel will explore the reasons for and benefits of reaching out globally along with tips for bridging the cultural divide a museum may encounter in creating joint programs
Chair: Sally Roesch Wagner, Ph.d.,
Executive Director, The Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation,
Small Museums, Big Impact!
In this session, representatives from three small museums will discuss the challenges faced by their institutions, and the changes they made to confront those challenges completely transforming the way their institutions work.
Sally Roesch Wagner will be speaking about the Haudenosaunee Influence on Women’s Rights on Sept. 13 at 7:00 pm at the Seneca Museum of Waterways and Industry, 89 Fall Street, Seneca Falls, NY.
Imagine that women had the right to choose all political representatives, and to remove from office anyone who didn’t address the wishes and needs of the people. Haudenosaunee (traditional Iroquois) women have had that responsibility – and more – since long before Christopher Columbus came to these shores. Pre-contact, Native American women generally had a status which would be the envy of United States women, even today.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Matilda Joslyn Gage, the two major theoreticians of the early women’s rights movement, had direct knowledge of the Haudenosaunee, writing about the superior social, political, religious, and economic status of women in the Iroquois nations. Their work for women’s rights, Wagner argues, was inspired by the vision they received from the Haudenosaunee of gender balance and harmony.
This lecture is a part of the New York Speakers in the Humanities program.
SENECA FALLS, N.Y. (RNS) More than 29,000 people visit the Women’s Rights National Historical Park each year, where they sit on the wooden pews in the faded brick Wesleyan Chapel where, in 1848, 100 activists signed the first document in world history to declare “all men and women are created equal.”
Religion News Service | By Kimberly Winston Posted: 09/01/2013 12:48 pm EDT
Reprint of article in Washington Post, August 26,2013.
By Kimberly Winston| Religion News Service, Washington Post Published: August 26, 2013
“Some of the sites and the people they are associated with are widely visited, but the freethought aspect isn’t usually touched on,” said Tom Flynn, executive director of the Council for Secular Humanism and one of the main researchers of the Trail. “They don’t build it into their general presentations because I suppose some visitors would find it offensive. But it is part of the history, and not to share that is to short-change the visitors and the history itself.”
Drawn by the opening of the Erie Canal in the early 1800s, settlers transformed the region into a hotbed of radical social ideas. Religious ideas blossomed, too, including Mormonism, Spiritualism, several utopian movements and the development of the Protestant social gospel. By the late 1800s, the area was called “the burned over district” for all its religious and social fervor and reformers including Susan B. Anthony, Frederick Douglass, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Amelia Bloomer made it their home.
Flynn came up with the idea for a trail a decade ago with historian Sally Roesch Wagner.
Why, they asked each other, did so many people remember Douglass and Anthony while many of their equally important contemporaries — Matilda Joslyn Gage, Robert Green Ingersoll and, to an extent, Stanton — were forgotten?
“The answer is they were freethinkers,” Wagner said from The Matilda Joslyn Gage Center, a stately Greek revival home in Fayetteville, on the eastern edge of the Freethought Trail, where she is director. “In a word, that is the reason.”
Wagner has spent 40 years studying what has come to be called “first wave feminism” of the 19th century. Her thinking goes like this: after the Seneca Falls convention, Stanton, Gage and Anthony became a triumvirate in the newly formed National Woman Suffrage Association. Stanton and Gage, both freethinkers who did not attend church, did the organizing and writing, while Anthony, a Quaker, became the movement’s public face.
Both Stanton and Gage became increasingly critical of organized religion. Both wrote about their belief that Christianity kept women subordinate and urged women — and men — to reject it. They pointed to Scriptures that denied women a voice in church and contemporary ministers who preached women should remain at home.
Privately, Anthony — a member of the dissenting Hicksite sect of Quakers — agreed with her friends, but felt that focusing on anything other than the right to vote was a distraction. After the Civil War, her new allies in Christian women’s temperance groups demanded distance from Stanton and Gage’s unorthodox views. Gage left the movement in disgust, and Stanton was formally renounced and repudiated by the movement in 1896.
“Mankind allows her in Church as well as State, but a subordinate position,” one reads, “claiming Apostolic authority for her exclusion from the ministry, and, with some exceptions, from any public participation in the affairs of the Church.”
Other sites are more well-known, especially the Douglass and Anthony homes and graves, all in Rochester, and the Grandin Print Shop in Palmyra. That’s where Joseph Smith printed the first edition of The Book of Mormon —alongside publishers of a freethought newspaper. Its publisher, Obadiah Dogberry, got an early look at Smith’s work, drawn from golden tablets Smith claimed to have found in the nearby hills, and skewered it in his next edition. The Grandin Print Shop is now run by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the word “freethought” is not evident in its displays. Freethought Trail visitors must dial a number on their smartphones to hear its version of history.
“Dogberry found the future scripture ridiculous,” Flynn’s voice intones on the recording. “It was the first lay criticism of the Book of Mormon, and many of its criticisms are upheld by contemporary scholars.”
At Anthony’s house, where visitors can see “Aunt Susan’s” trademark black silk dress and alligator handbag, docent J.D. Lynne easily and eagerly responded to a visitor’s question about freethought in the women’s history.
“People who did not hold traditional religious beliefs, like Elizabeth Cady Stanton, may have influenced our history more than religious people,” he said in a second floor bedroom where Stanton was often a guest.
Some sites receive only a trickle of visitors. The Robert Green Ingersoll Birthplace Museum, in lakeside Dresden, is the first stop on the Freethought Trail. There, for a $2 fee, visitors can view the bedroom where the orator known as “the Great Agnostic” was born and have their picture taken with a giant bust of his head rescued from the rubble of a 19th century theater.
“The upshot is that if you had some people who knew their local history and the movement’s history, I could foresee 20 or 30 freethought trails in different regions around the country,” he said. That would suit Erik Sandhal, 22, just fine.
Touring the Wesleyan Chapel with his family, Sandhal said he had taken a history course on American rhetoric that discussed Stanton, but not her religious beliefs.
“I would have liked to know about that,” he said. “It makes me think of these people as a more diverse group.”
Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Religion News Service LLC. Washington Post
In Central New York, Fayetteville’s Matilda Joslyn Gage Center is among the participants, with Executive Director Dr. Sally Roesch Wagner saying it fits into the museum’s goal of looking at major issues and how they impact residents of their time (the Civil War, abolition and women’s rights were key, with connections to current conflicts and social issues).
I will be preaching in the character of — not Gage — but ELIZABETH CADY STANTON at 10:00 this Sunday, May 6, at Plymouth Congregational Church/United Church of Christ (232 East Onondaga Street in Syracuse).
In “Thunders from the Pulpit” I’ve pulled together Stanton’s own published words and reflections on Christianity. “Though clearly of her historical moment,” Rev. Quinn Caldwell, pastor of Plymouth describes, “Stanton’s words remain fresh and challenging more than a century later, a call to examine the church’s role, both historical and current, in oppression of all kinds.” I developed the sermon in 1988 for the Great Plains Chautauqua and have never performed it in Syracuse. I’m very excited to be invited to do this at Plymouth, with their strong tradition of working for justice and peace.
After the service I will attempt to redeem myself by transforming back into Sally for an informal visit with the congregation about Matilda Joslyn Gage, connecting her religious views with Stanton’s. Rev. Caldwell describes Gage as “Syracuse’s own lion for justice,” and we are delighted to begin this relationship with Plymouth. We will be announcing a special tour of the Gage Center for church members on Sunday.
A CAUTIONARY NOTE FROM REV. CALDWELL IF YOU PLAN TO ATTEND:
This Sunday, Syracuse’s famous Mountain Goat Run will be in full swing as you prepare for church. Don’t let this stop you, but do give yourself ten or fifteen extra minutes to get here. The Syracuse Police Department recommends approaching the church on Harrison Street if you’re coming from the north, south, or east; you should be able to cross the course there. If you’re coming from the west, West Onondaga Street should be open after 9:30 or so. Or just avoid the whole thing and plan to park in the large lot at the corner of South Church Street and West Onondaga, which is just outside the race route, and walk two blocks to church from there. You can find maps of the route here:
We are pleased to announce that Dr. Sally Roesch Wagner will deliver the keynote address for our 67th Annual Conference. Dr. Wagner’s work is timely given the increasing prominence of gender and suffrage issues in today’s political arena.
Maxwell Hall, Syracuse University
April 11, 2013
350 W. Fayette St.
Women’s Equality Agenda: A Briefing and Discussion with:
President & CEO, Family Planning Advocates of NY
Assemblymember Addie Russell
Chair, Women’s Issues Task Force
Dr. Sally Roesch Wagner, PhD
Executive Director, The Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation
Thursday, April 11, 5:30pm-7:30pm*
Reception at 5:30pm, Discussion at 6pm
Gov. Cuomo introduced the Women’s Equality Agenda at his State of the State address on January 9. Join us for a briefing on how this 10-point plan will advance women’s rights in New York State.
Mayor Stephanie Miner
Linda Ervin, Onondaga County Legislature
Monica Williams, Onondaga County Legislature
Bea Gonzalez, Dean, University College of Syracuse University
Eleanor Roosevelt Conference Committee
Planned Parenthood of the Rochester/Syracuse Region
National Organization for Women
League of Women Voters