Esteemed thinker: Maud Wood Park

votingThe media can be the maker or breaker of a person’s claim to fame. It has a dramatic effect on the attention of the populous, dramatically influencing who will succeed and who may not. Yet, it is not always accurate, often giving more attention than deserved to those individuals that may not deserve such notoriety. It has the power to guide and influence in a positive way, yet regularly chooses paths that would ordinarily dismissed as follies. How often have we been bombarded by irresponsible reporting, leading us through the briar patch and around the same thorny trail… and then at the end giving the most sensational reports to those who have, shall we say, the squeakiest wheel.

And then there are those deserving souls who are never heard of, never acknowledged; ones we think of as the unsung heroes. Let us hope that those who are lead around by the media have enough sense to filter for themselves what is worthy of our time and our attention.

maude wood park Today’s blog brings to you the esteemed thinker: Maude Wood Park (1871-1955) born in Boston, Massachusetts. Graduating from Radcliff College, Ms. Park became a leading activist for the women’s suffrage movement, advocating for the 19th Amendment (women’s right to vote).

In 1916 her friend Carrie Chapman Catt, president of the National American Woman’s Suffrage Association (NAWSA), persuaded Park to join the NAWSA’s Congressional Committee and to go to Washington to lobby directly for the federal suffrage amendment. Thus Park led the “front-door lobby” to win suffrage. As a result of her efforts Park became the first president of the League of Women Voters, an organization which preceded the passing of the Amendment, a nonpartisan organization to educate new voters.

Upon the passage of the 19th Amendment, Park continued to advocate for women, forming and running a most needed coalition, the Women Joint Congressional Committee. With leaders from several other women groups, they lobbied for and helped pass legislation of the Sheppard-Towner Maternity and Infancy Protection Act of 1921 and the Cable Act of 1922, which granted protected care for pregnant women and infants and granted independent citizenship for married women

Park continued to work tirelessly for the betterment of women, advocating for social reforms. I now present from her own Front Door Lobby a passage which gives you a heartfelt view of the passing of the 19th Amendment; a journey that began so very long ago which we should without doubt continue to laud.

“… So quietly as that, we learned the he last step in the enfranchisement of women in the United States had been taken and the struggle of more than seventy years brought to a successful end. We were all too stunned to make any comment until we were in the cab on our way to the Department of State, where we almost had to stick pins into ourselves to realize that the simple document at which we were looking was, in reality, the long sought charter of liberty for the women of this country…”

Second image: League of Women Voters, Maud Wood Park 1915

Esteemed thinker: Mark Twain and memory

Mark Twainjpg 21st century… narcissism… the era of immediacy…the fret of being left out of the social media…the age of sound bites…it is a time when we find ourselves archiving our every move. Moments will no longer have to be left to memory, but are chronically digitalized in such a way that even those things and events we wish to leave in the past, forgotten, swept under the rug, will eventually… sometime in the future … rear its ugly head (or not so ugly head) and become resurrected into the present.

Good or bad, whatever you may think, these are our times.

Today’s blog takes us on a pondering of Memory. To bring the point home I present the esteemed thinker, Mark Twain (1835-1910) (Samuel Langhorne Clemens was his given name being the former was his pen name). The great American author and humorists is often credited as being the father of American literature. Best known to contemporaries for Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer, he was a prolific writer beyond the novel.

So from his work, Mark Twain’s Speeches by the title’s author; I give you a bit of his witticism to contemplate and react to. Take heed to his remarks for we have or soon may be in the same boat!

“January 11, 1906.
Answer to a letter received this morning:
DEAR MRS. H.,
-I am forever your debtor for reminding me of that curious passage in my life. During the first year or, two after it happened, I could not bear to think of it. My pain and shame were so intense, and my sense of having been an imbecile so settled, established and confirmed, that I drove the episode entirely from my mind–and so all these twenty-eight or twenty-nine years I have lived in the conviction that my performance of that time was coarse, vulgar, and destitute of humor. But your suggestion that you and your family found humor in it twenty-eight years ago moved me to look into the matter. So I commissioned a Boston typewriter to delve among the Boston papers of that bygone time and send me a copy of it. It came this morning, and if there is any vulgarity about it I am not able to discover it. If it isn’t innocently and ridiculously funny, I am no judge. I will see to it that you get a copy.” ….