Not For Ourselves Alone

I’ll be back later today with a more New Years-y post, hopefully, but I just wanted to rave about this documentary I watched about Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton and their fight to get women the right to vote. It’s called Not For Ourselves Alone. I missed I don’t know how much of the first half, I came across it channel surfing, but I recorded and watched all of the second half. Mesmerizing and mind-blowingly well done. I know, women’s rights, blah-blah-blah, but trust me, it was absolutely riveting.

And we didn’t get the vote in their lifetime. It didn’t happen until freaking 1920. Can you believe that?? It took that long to figure out that we deserve that same right? I’m doing all this research about singing and music and composers and I realize that all this time that I’m writing about, women couldn’t vote. And they could barely talk in public, much less sing (most of the early choral societies were all male).

We always think of America as so forward thinking, but over and over, if you do the research, we’re just not. We weren’t close to the first to give women the right to vote. I forget how many countries were listed in the show, but dozens, including the Soviet Union, gave women the right to vote before we did. Look how many other countries that have already had women leaders.

Anyway, watch it. It’s great. Trust me. And thank you Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton (and thank you Ken Burns and Paul Barnes and everyone else who worked on this). The filmmakers really capture how much work and heart and intelligence went into this battle. I can’t imagine summoning all that it must have took. Anthony and Cady Stanton should be huge national heroes, celebrated often, with many books and movies. They should be as big as George Washington and anyone else who fought for freedom and independence.

Stacy Horn

I've written six non-fiction books, the most recent is Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York.

View all posts by Stacy Horn →

6 thoughts on “Not For Ourselves Alone

  1. Sounds like an interesting program, will definitely look for it.

    Have you seen “Iron Jawed Angels?” It’s an HBO movie made in 2004, with Hillary Swank – dramatic but also based on the history of women fighting to get the vote. I watched it recently via Netflix, and felt the same outrage you do over what it took to get a basic right everyone should have!

    Here’s a link to the movie info, if you haven’t seen it:

  2. I haven’t seen it — thank for the recommendation. It’s so upsetting when people can’t recognize that we’re all entitled to the same rights. Period. No exceptions. None. We’re going through the same thing now with gay rights. How could anyone think it’s okay to tell anyone who they can or cannot marry?

  3. Actually, I think it’s Cady. Seneca Falls is on my next year’s agenda of places to see.
    Happy New year, Stacy! Hope the new book sells like hot cakes.

  4. Women’s rights also makes me think about all the other areas of life where some people disrespect other people for no good reason. We humans can get so convoluted.

  5. I’ve been researching this church riot (so ironic, starting a riot in a church) and in the course of my research I read about all these lynchings that years (1834). It was horrible.

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