Fort Bragg celebrates women's equality
August 28, 2009
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - The XVIII Airborne Corps, in conjunction with Womack Army Medical Center, hosted the Women's Equality Day celebration at Fort Bragg's York Theater yesterday.
The celebration commemorated women's suffrage granted through the U.S. Constitution's 19th Amendment, ratified in 1920.
Kate Campbell Stevenson, Broadway singer, actor and educator, used costume, song and short stories to highlight the accomplishments of women during the early 20th century.
"Each day, today, whether we are a man or a woman, we need to develop ourselves to our fullest potential," said Stevenson.
During her one women show "Petticoats in Politics," Stevenson recalled the suffragist movement through the words of Abigail Adams who wrote a series of letters to her husband John in 1776 detailing her frustration in being considered inferior and implored him to "remember the ladies."
Stevenson also reenacted the first women's rights convention in 1848 in Seneca Falls, N.Y., and portrayed the life of Alice Paul, a Quaker suffragist who helped organize a 1913 parade of 8,000 marchers in Washington, D.C., and helped to draft the Equal Rights Amendment.
Lastly, she recounted stories about Bessie Coleman, the first African-American airplane pilot who was so inspired by stories of French women pilots that she travelled to France to learn how to fly and Eleanor Roosevelt who had to overcome her fear of public speaking.
Brig. Gen. Nicolas Matern, deputy commanding general for operations, presented Stevenson with an award and reiterated the importance of conducting observances like this to educate people. He further commented that in order to know where you are headed, you must know and understand where you have been.
"Petticoats in Politics speaks of freedom, equality and human rights, the founding principles on which this nation was built' Matern said. "Although we have made a tremendous progress, the women's rights struggle continues today and we must do our part to move forward in a positive and inclusive way."
Those in attendance left the theater with smiles on their faces and pride in knowing the contribution women have played in making our country what it is today. They also learned how important the woman's suffrage movement was and still is today.