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Funeral Oration for the Burial of Traditional Womanhood. The Jeannette Rankin Brigade (named in honor of the first woman to be elected to Congress) was a coalition of women's groups that demonstrated in Washington, D.C. on January 15, 1968 against the war in Vietnam. The Brigade then bussed to the Omni Shoreham Hotel, where prominent marchers such as Coretta Scott King and Dagmar Wilson gave speeches calling for peace. Papers: In the Jeannette Rankin Brigade records 1967-1968, 0.7 linear foot. Reserved. Although predictable under the circumstances, nevertheless it was unexpected. The Jeannette Rankin Brigade was an ad hoc coalition of women from all parts of the nation opposed to this country's involvement in Vietnam and inattention to domestic problems. As the day of the march drew closer, the Brigade was met with the news that the Capitol Police had invoked the law forbidding demonstrations on Capitol grounds. The Jeannette Rankin Brigade, also known as the Peace Parade, called for an end to American military action in Vietnam. On January 15, 1968, at the age of 87, she led 5,000 women, calling themselves the “Jeannette Rankin Brigade,” to the foot of Capitol Hill to demonstrate opposition to the hostilities in Indochina. Fortunately, as a former Congresswoman, Rankin had the right to appear on the House floor to present their peace petition to House Speaker John McCormack. Jeanette Rankin Brigade Women's March on Washington protesting the war A group of women's pro-peace organizations join together to confront Congress on its opening day with a display of female opposition to the Vietnam War. Please contact this collection for information about reproducing this article. Rankin continued to be a leader in the peace movement after retiring from politics, and in 1968, at the age of 87, led 5,000 women in the “Jeannette Rankin Brigade” at a Vietnam War demonstration in Washington, D.C. She died on May 18, 1973, at the age of 92. It was the first use of the law, which had been on the books since 1882. We were not really prepared to rechannel this disgust, to provide the direction that was so badly needed. The brigade was a coalition of women's groups united for a specific purpose: to confront Congress on its opening day, Jan. 15, 1968, with a strong show of female opposition to the Vietnam War. http://history.house.gov/People/Detail/20147?ret=True, http://texts.cdlib.org/view?docId=kt758005dx, Georgetown’s Mischievous Tradition of Clock Hand Thievery, The Great White Hope at 50: Making All D.C. a Stage, The Centuries-Long Saga of the ‘Oyster Wars’, “This is Serious, These Guys Will Kill You”: Salvatore Cottone and the True Story of the Short-Lived D.C. Mafia. When activists from Women Strike for Peace began organizing the first all-women's protest march against the war, they contacted Rankin asked for her support. Further, we disagreed with a women's demonstration as a tactic for ending the war, for the Brigade's reason for organizing AS WOMEN. A lot of energy and a good few months of our early formation period were spent preparing an appropriate action for the Brigade peace march in Washington, D.C., the largest gathering of women for a political purpose since the heyday of Jeanette Rankin (the first woman elected to Congress from Montana in 1917). [5] If elected, Rankin would have been the oldest person ever elected to the House of Representatives at age 89. Rankin is in the center, wearing glasses. by Shulamith Firestone (1968) The Jeanette Rankin Brigade was a women's protest to end the SE Asia War. Description. But that hardly stopped her from leading anti-war marches well into her eighties, including one on January 15, 1968 known as “The Jeannette Rankin Brigade.”[3], The Brigade began in May 1967 when Rankin was invited to speak to Atlantans for Peace, a civil rights group in Georgia. Top image credit: Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. But we lost it. Jeannette Rankin Brigade. The Jeannette Rankin Brigade (named in honor of the first woman to be elected to Congress) was a coalition of women's groups that demonstrated in Washington, D.C. on January 15, 1968 against the war in Vietnam. Rankin voted against US entrance into both WWI and WWII and was a well known feminist and peace activist. Rankin herself deemed the march a success because it “scared the military enough to make them tell Johnson not to run again.”[14] As for Rankin’s run for Congress, her health kept her from pursuing a third term. Description Jeannette Rankin was the first woman elected to a federal office in the United States when she won a seat in the House of Representatives from Montana in 1916. “If we had 10,000 women willing to go to prison if necessary,” she said, “that would end it.” Rankin lived long enough to join demonstrations against the war in Vietnam. A coalition of pacifists and feminists began fundraising and publicity efforts. The Women's Rights Movement in the U.S. : A New View, Rape Means Never Having to Say You're Sorry, Covert Sex Discrimination Against Women as Medical Patients, The Rise and Demise of Women's Liberation. This march was named after the first woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Leaders of the organization presented a petition asking Congress to end the war and arrange for the withdrawal of U.S. troops. Letters of protest poured in from women in radical groups around the country. [13] In fact, perhaps the biggest thing to come out of the Brigade was the phrase “Sisterhood is Powerful.” Coined by Kathie Sarachild for one of the funeral pamphlets, it became a slogan for second-wave feminism. This document was obtained by the Herstory Project from the Women's Studies Resources | Duke Special Collections Library-A project of The Digital Scriptorium, Special Collections Library, Duke University.http://scriptorium.lib.duke.edu/wlm . In 1968, at the age of 87, she led 5,000 women in the Jeannette Rankin Brigade at a Vietnam War demonstration in Washington, D.C. 'You can't have freedom for anybody in … Jeannette Rankin Brigade was the fisrt Newsreel film proposed, shot and edited by women. Jeannette Rankin Brigade. The records include correspondence, minutes of the steering committee, press releases, petitions to Congress, and reports of the political and legal action workshops. Her 90th birthday in 1970 was celebrated in the Rayburn House Office Building with a reception and dinner. [1] She later stated, “As a woman I can’t go to war and I refuse to send anyone else.”[2], Because of her vote, Rankin became a political pariah. On the day of the march, about 5,000 women gathered at Union Station and marched silently to the outside plaza. The Jeannette Rankin Brigade, the first large group of women to protest the Vietnam War, marched from Union Station to the U.S. Capitol on January 15, 1968, the opening day of the ninetieth Congress. ^ The Jeannette Rankin Brigade was by no means the first group to speak out against American involvement in Vietnam. Folk singer Judy Collins led the marchers in “This Land is Your Land,” “America,” and other ballads. At age 92, she was considering running for Congress again to put an end to the conflict, but she passed away 18 May 1973 in Carmel, California. We learned alot. Fifty years ago, on January 15, 1968, the Jeannette Rankin Brigade, a coalition of women’s peace groups, organized an anti-war march in Washington, D.C. that would become the largest march by women since the Woman Suffrage Parade of 1913. It is naive to believe that women who are not politically seen, heard, or represented in this country could change the course of a war by simply appealing to the better natures of congressmen. Bettmann, Jeannette Rankin Brigade Protesting Vietnam War, 1968. We had a special drum corps with kazoo, and a sheet of clever songs written by Beverly Grant and others. We confirmed our worst suspicions, that the job ahead, of developing even a minimal consciousness among women will be staggering, but we also confirmed our belief that a real women's movement in this country will come, if only out of the sheer urgent and immediate necessity for one. You have resisted your roles of supportive girl friends and tearful widows, receivers of regretful telegrams and worthless medals of honor. Marion Barry was just getting started in D.C. when he organized a successful boycott of the bus system in response to a proposed fare hike. Author Kevin S. Giles has brought Rankin into the present as a living and exemplary model of how to apply social justice activism … (Even Life couldn't have done better, had they been interested in trying.). She was one of seven children. We must not come as passive suppliants begging for favors, for power cooperates only with power. And we learned the value of spontaneity, of quick and appropriate political action, the value of learning to size up a situation and act on it at once, the importance of unrehearsed speaking ability. For I think one good guiding speech at the crisis point which illustrated the real causes underlying the massive discontent and impotence felt in that room then, would have been worth ten dummies and three months of careful and elaborate planning. This lesson plan introduces students to the Jeannette Rankin Brigade and provides an example of how women came together in the late 1960s to influence politics and foreign policy. Born in Missoula County, Montana in 1880, Rankin went from working on her parents’ farm to organizing in the women’s suffrage movement. Not sure where to start reading? A group of between 200 to 500 women wearing “miniskirts and high boots,” called the Radical Women’s Group, tried to commandeer the microphones. The march did not go to the Capitol. The years after her second term in Congress were full of learning the peace principles of Mohandas K. Gandhi. by Shulamith Firestone, (Editors Note: In January of 1968 with the SE Asia War raging, the Jeanette Rankin Brigade came to Washington to pressure Congress to end the conflict. 50 years ago, few could have imagined that Howard Sackler's play would be one of the most influential forces in shaping 1960s Washington, D.C. 3939 Campbell Avenue, Arlington, VA 22206 |. Peg Dobbins wrote a long funeral dirge lamenting woman's traditional role which encourages men to develop aggression and militarism to prove their masculinity. A lifelong pacifist, Rankin founded the Georgia Peace Society and was an active member of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF). The 1968 protest was named in her honor. That is, the Brigade was playing upon the traditional female role in the classic manner. According to Rankin, on the day of her speech newspapers announced that the death toll in Vietnam had reached 10,000 soldiers. After she lost a bid for a Senate seat in 1918, Rankin dedicated herself to activism. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, amid “a chorus of hisses and boos,” Rankin became the only member out of 389 delegates to vote against war with Japan. They were all keenly disappointed, and fully aware of their impotence. So if you are really sincere about ending this war, join us tonight and in the future.[11]. The protesters had a point: The Washington Post deemed the Brigade “peaceful and ladylike.”[12] The petition’s dual emphasis on withdrawing from Vietnam and healing a “sick society at home” couched the Brigade’s demands in domestic language. Rankin died in 1973 of natural causes. Leaders of the organization presented a petition asking Congress to end the war and arrange for the withdrawal of U.S. troops. Now, the Jeannette Rankin Brigade was taking the first step into one of the most tumultuous years in American history. Jeannette Rankin, first woman member of the U.S. Congress (1917–19, 1941–43), a vigorous feminist and a lifetime pacifist and crusader for social and electoral reform. The Jeannette Rankin Brigade and 58 individual women filed a complaint on January 8, 1968, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief against the enforcement of 40 U.S.C. So that we came as a group not of appeal to Congress, but to appeal to women not to appeal to congress. She served as a lobbyist for the National Council for the Prevention of War for a decade. 193g (1964), which declares it illegal 'to parade, stand, or move in processions or assemblages in * * * (the) United States Capitol Grounds * * *. Let us pick a story for you! Today the Jeannette Rankin Peace Center in Missoula works to continue Rankin's efforts toward peace. They alleged that King and Wilson had been coerced into giving peaceful speeches to appeal to “church women” in the march.[9]. The Jeanette Rankin Brigade: Woman Power? They paraded a dummy in “feminine getup” with “blonde curls,” to a funeral dirge “lamenting woman’s traditional role which encourages men to develop aggression and militarism to prove their masculinity.”[10] They passed out pamphlets about the funeral to Brigade attendants which read: Don’t Bring Flowers...Do be prepared to sacrifice your traditional female roles. Today, a statue of Jeannette Rankin stands in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall, representing Montana. In 1916, she made history as the first woman elected to Congress. Shulamith Firestone analyzed the Brigade from a radical feminist point of view. [7] The Brigade sued the Chief of Capitol Police on the grounds that the law violated their First Amendment rights, but without a decision by the day of the march, they would be breaking the law. Rankin won election for her second House term in 1940. Subject. At age 87, pioneering suffragist Jeannette Rankin leads the march of approximately 5,000 women. During the Vietnam War, she led the Jeannette Rankin Brigade, numbering 5,000, in a protest march on Wash­ington in January 1968 that culminated in the presentation of a peace petition to House Speaker John McCormack of Massachusetts. Despite all this discouragement and the small returns on all our labors, the Washington experience was not entirely wasted. We believe that working with designers, staff, and producers who are queer, trans, non-binary, straight, Black, White, Asian, Latinx, and Indigenous creates the most innovative and powerful work. She introduced the resolution which became the Nineteenth Amendment, finally giving women the right to vote. Later, 500 women split off in disgust from the main body of the convention to call a counter congress. But where minor reporters failed, Ramparts succeeded. And at the height of the anti-war movement of the 1960s, she led a group of 5,000 — dubbed the Jeannette Rankin Brigade — in a march protesting U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Title. Copyright © 2020 WETA. The splinter group invited the marchers to a staged funeral procession of “traditional womanhood” at Arlington National Cemetery. The Brigade was named for Jeanette Rankin, the first woman to be elected to Congress. We must learn to fight the warmongers on their own terms, though they believe us capable only of rolling bandages. Although the Brigade leaders were willing to face arrest, they said it was more important to “attract women for whom it was a large enough step just to declare their feelings in public.”[8]. Continuing her pacifist traditions, Rankin helped form the “Jeannette Rankin Brigade,” a collection of some five thousand feminists, pacifists, students and others opposed to the Vietnam War. There were several related pamphlets, including one written by Kathie Amatniek which elaborated on the following Progression: Finally, by way of a black-bordered invitation we "joyfully" invited many of the 5,000 women there to attend a burial that evening at Arlington "by torchlight" of Traditional Womanhood, "who passed with a sigh to her Great Reward this year of the Lord, 1968, after 3,000 years of bolstering the egos of Warmakers and aiding the cause of war...". It is also an example of differences among women, especially differences of generational approaches to politics in this era. This lesson plan introduces students to the Jeannette Rankin Brigade and provides an example of how women came together in the late 1960s to influence politics and foreign policy. This march and Congressional lobbying effort was named the Jeannette Rankin Brigade, and Rankin lead the demonstration to the Capitol in January of 1968. The Brigade intended to march from Union Station along Louisiana Ave. to the Capitol, where they would demand Congress withdraw troops from Vietnam, make reparations to the Vietnamese, and “refuse the insatiable demands of the military industrial complex.”[6] Their non-violent demonstration was inspired by the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi, which Rankin studied on her many trips to India. Rankin graduated from the University of Montana in 1902. They slated the march for January 15, 1968, the first day of the new session of Congress. A national protest in Rankin’s name was of no little significance even if many Americans didn’t remember her. Rankin voted against US entrance into both WWI and WWII and was a well known feminist and peace activist. Over the next twenty years Rankin traveled the world, frequently visiting India, where she studied the pacifist teachings of Mahatma Gandhi. Anti-War. And although the Brigade was the largest women’s march in Washington since 1913, the generation gaps between former suffragettes and young feminists were apparent. Jeannette Rankin's tireless fight for suffrage and peace was game-changing for women everywhere, and for all Americans. When war, again, raged at the United States door, she formed the Jeannette Rankin Brigade. She subsequently attended the New York School of Philanthropy (later the Inscribed “I Cannot Vote For War,” it stands as a reminder of Rankin’s pioneering spirit and unwavering commitment to peace. To impress their concern upon the 90th Congress, the members planned to march from Union Station to the Capitol on January 15, 1968, the opening day of the second session. To drive this home, we felt that a dramatic action would be least offensive and most effective. Georgetown University holds true to traditions of academic excellence, religious customs and…clock tower mischief? During the Vietnam War, the Jeannette Rankin Brigade totaled 5,000 protesters in a march on Washington in January 1968. Leaders of the organization presented a petition asking Congress to end the war and arrange for the withdrawal of U.S. troops. Written by The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. In addition to a speech written and delivered to the main body of the convention on Jan. 15, and reprinted below, we staged an actual funeral procession with a larger-than-life dummy on a transported bier, complete with feminine getup, blank face, blonde curls, and candle. by Shulamith Firestone (1968) The Jeanette Rankin Brigade was a women's protest to end the SE Asia War. T The defendants are the Chief of the Capitol Police, and the three members of the Capitol Police Board, who are responsible for the enforcement of Section 193g. A blog about local history in Washington, D.C., suburban Maryland and northern Virginia. You have refused to hanky-wave boys off to war with admonitions to save the American Mom and Apple Pie. The women were united only in their frustration, some calling for militancy of any kind at that late date, others for more organization for the future. It was a great moment. Jeannette Rankin was used to being outspoken. Rather we believed that such a massive gathering should be used to devise ways to build up real political strength. All Rights We found out where women, even the so called "women radicals" were really at. There was chaos. It is also an example of differences among women, especially differences of generational approaches to politics in this era. But Ramparts just chuckled patted the little women on the cheeks published a few (out of context) and went on its more important radical business. The Jeannette Rankin Brigade (named in honor of the first woman to be elected to Congress) was a coalition of women's groups that demonstrated in Washington, D.C. on January 15, 1968 against the war in Vietnam. Hanging from the bier were such disposable items as S & H Green Stamps, curlers, garters, and hairspray. Boundary Stones is a service of WETA and is supported by contributions from readers like you. Streamers floated off it and we also carried large banners, such as "DON'T CRY: RESIST " Kathy Barrett of the Pageant Players, a New York street theater group, worked with others on simple but effective costumes for the funeral entourage. Jeannette Rankin Brigade. Jeannette Rankin died in 1973. However, from the beginning we felt that this kind of action, though well-meant was ultimately futile. The Brigade was named for Jeanette Rankin, the first woman to be elected to Congress. In 1968, she led the Jeannette Rankin Peace Brigade, a protest march in Washington D.C. of some 5,000 feminists, pacifists, radicals and students to demonstrate against the Vietnam War. Rankin herself entertained a third run for Congress in her home state of Montana. They had to use odd agile photography distorted quotations, and a whole lot of incorrect facts, granted, but succeed they did. Until we have united into a force to be reckoned with, we will be patronized and ridiculed into total political ineffectiveness. It’s been reported that the slogan was first used on Jan. 15, 1968, when five thousand women took to Washington to protest the Vietnam War in the Jeannette Rankin Brigade March. “If we had 10,000 women who were willing to make the sacrifices that these boys had given their lives for – that we could stop the war,” she said.[4]. She died in 1973, at age 92. And now you must resist approaching Congress playing these same roles that are synonymous with powerlessness. Her father was a rancher and businessman, and her mother was a school teacher. Jeannette is more than a musical--it's a mission We believe that art is activism. The Jeannette Rankin Brigade (named in honor of the first woman to be elected to Congress) was a coalition of women's groups that demonstrated in Washington, D.C. on January 15, 1968 against the war in Vietnam. by Shulamith Firestone Bettmann Archive/Getty Images. PRINT IMAGE > Jeannette Rankin was born on June 11, 1880 outside of Missoula, Montana. In 1968, at the age of 88, she led 5,000 black-clad women, the Jeannette Rankin Peace Brigade, in a march protesting the Vietnam War. Rankin and Mansfield went way back – after losing to Rankin in the 1940 election, Mansfield claimed her seat in Congress in 1942. But some marchers were unhappy with the Brigade’s image of mourning wives and mothers. The plaintiffs in this action are Jeannette Rankin Brigade, a coalition of women against the war in Vietnam, and 58 individual women. She used many of the tactics she learned from Gandhi's work in a protest march of the Vietnam War in 1968, later called the Jeannette Rankin Brigade. One of the Newsreel filmmaker, Lynn Phillips said about the film production, "We knew that Jeannette Rankin was coming east… Somehow we got a hold of a 16mm Bolex, plus the usual outdated film stock, and we took the train down. Shulamith Firestone analyzed the Brigade from a radical feminist point of view.). She also met with Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield of Montana. Rankin was the first women elected to Congress in 1916 and was a fierce advocate for pacifism, women’s rights and social welfare. Leaders of the organization presented a petition asking Congress to end the war and arrange for the withdrawal of U.S. troops. They came as wives, mothers and: mourners; that is, tearful and passive reactors to the actions of men rather than organizing as women to change that definition of femininity to something other than a synonym for weakness, political impotence, and tears. The aftereffects of the Rankin Brigade’s march, like many anti-Vietnam protests, were difficult to calculate. Congress received the Brigade’s petition but certainly did not act on it. This article is a radical feminist critique of that well intentioned, but ultimately frustrating effort. This article is a radical feminist critique of that well intentioned, but ultimately frustrating effort. She maintained homes in both Georgia and Montana. In 1968, she and 5000 protested marched in Washington D.C. against the war in Vietnam. The measure of that impotence was the very fact that the number of marchers was, for the first time in years, accurately reported: the march was no threat at all to the Establishment. Rankin was in the first row, holding a banner that read “End the war in Vietnam and social crisis at home!” Many women wore black to underscore the death toll. 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