Rights, Privileges and Citizenship: the Argument for Woman Suffrage – Posted 4/14/16

As the nation continues to wrestle with the issues surrounding this election season, County College of Morris (CCM) will be holding a special public forum to explore the rights of women and their position in the political process.

The forum, titled “Rights, Privileges and Citizenship: the Argument for Woman Suffrage” takes place Thursday, April 21, from 12:30 to 1:45 p.m. in the Davidson Rooms in the Student Community Center on CCM’s Randolph campus, 214 Center Grove Road. The session, which is free and open to the public, is part a nationwide project exploring “Citizenship Under Siege,” supported with a grant from the American Association of Colleges and Universities funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Dr. Ann D. Gordon, an American historian at Rutgers University, will serve as the keynote speaker. Gordon is editor of the six-volume compendium “Selected Papers of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony” and author of “African American Women and the Vote: 1837-1965.” She also served as a consultant for the Ken Burns’ documentary “Not for Ourselves Alone: the Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony.”
“In the decades from 1860 to 1880, leaders like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton deployed constitutional, ethical and legal arguments to make a case for equal rights,” says Dr. Michael Parrella, chair of the Department of History and Political Science at CCM. “The legacy of their ideas and agitation has a role to play in current conversations about both citizenship and the right to vote.”

“The democracy laid out by the founding fathers provided for the evolution of the rights of women,” adds Dr. Jill Schennum, chair of the Department of Sociology, Economics and Anthropology at CCM. “However, a growing animosity towards women’s access to the public sphere, rights over their own bodies and women’s position in the political discourse are excluding growing numbers of women.”

Schennum and Parrella applied for and are overseeing the $17,500 grant CCM received to participate in the “Citizenship Under Siege” program. CCM was one of seven community colleges, and the only one in New Jersey, to receive a grant to take part in the project.

Following the forum, discussion sessions then will be scheduled to expand upon the themes that are raised so resources can be developed for the college community and general public.