This project builds on a Foundation tradition of interviewing politically active women in DC to capture their experiences and insights. These oral histories served as the basis for Jewell Fenzi and Allida Black’s book, Democratic Women, an Oral History of the Woman’s National Democratic Club (2000). The project will help the Foundation reestablish its oral history program and in the process train volunteers and build capacity to conduct these interviews on an ongoing basis. The immediate project will record the oral histories of 30 women leaders from across the Washington, DC area who were born in the two decades following the establishment of women’s suffrage. It will allow these women to tell their stories in their own voices and enrich our understanding of the impact and challenges of suffrage on individual women.
The oral history project will be carried out by project staff and trained volunteers associated with the Foundation with the guidance of an advisory board chaired by a scholar from the Department of History of American University and the co-authors of Democratic Women. In conjunction with the DC history program, five senior girls from the Richard Wright Charter School for Media and Communication Arts will participate in the project and will learn and document how to conduct oral histories. Volunteers and students will also be able to work with the Wikimedia Foundation to enhance the representation of Washington women in Wikipedia with a focus on DC African American suffragists.
The results will be disseminated in several ways through transcripts, archives, podcasts and a digital exhibit. The interviews will be transcribed and indexed so they can be searched and analyzed; then they will be uploaded to a digital archive where they will be available to scholars and researchers. The oral histories will also be used to update and expand Democratic Women.
Democratic Women: An Oral History of the Woman’s National Democratic Club, by Jewell Fenzi and Allida Black, was an oral history project, edited from interviews with more than 50 club members, including Daisy Harriman, Esther Peterson, Lindy Boggs, and Ellie Seagraves (granddaughter of Eleanor Roosevelt). The book, now out of print, will be revised and expanded in 2020.
Women and the Vote: Centennial Calendar. An 18-month calendar (July 2019 to December 2020) was published June 4, 2019 in recognition of the passage of the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment. It is illustrated with historic photos and factoids about the struggle to gain the vote for all women from 1776 to the present. Click SHOP.
An 18-month calendar (July 2019 to December 2020) was published June 4, 2019 in recognition of the passage of the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment. It is illustrated with historic photos and factoids about the long struggle to gain the vote for all women from 1776 to the present.
The Calendar is now available for purchase on Amazon.
Extending the right to vote in the United States required decades of dedication from individuals before us. Today, voting is a fundamental right and essential responsibility of United States citizens. Despite the importance of casting a vote in the nation’s democratic system, voting, to many, appears to be an unimportant, inconsequential task––especially among America’s eligible youth voting population (age 18 to 19).
There are a number of reasons frequently cited when attempting to understand passivity of young voters. Lack of civics information and political engagement education in classrooms is one recurring reason. Another source of reason stems from social media and the internet at-large: although today's technology has the potential to better educate a broader demographic of Americans surrounding political engagement, the biases that exist in all fields obstruct such promise. Moreover, multitudes of eligible young voters have adopted the belief that their individual vote is insignificant, and therefor, ignore the steps to casting a ballot.
Stated by the director of CIRCLE, the youth civic participation initiative at Tufts University, Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg, “there is a significant lack of knowledge about how exactly the government works, and, therefore, how their vote actually matters.”
In addition to the apathy of young voters in elections, suppression efforts in affect today further challenge prospective voters, perpetrating the nation's disconnect between civic engagement and the value of a vote. It is our responsibility to know about civics and voting and pursue the 'best practices' that have already proven success across the nation.
This report, produced on behalf of the WNDC Educational Foundation, explores the statistics surrounding youth voter turnout, the variables that may perpetrate these disparities, and potential strategies to increase youth voting rates.
© Copyright 2019. WNDC Educational Foundation, a not-for-profit, section 501(c)(3).