Marsha Clark 0:00
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Wendi McGowan-Ellis 0:37
Welcome to "Your Authentic Path to Powerful Leadership" with Marsha Clark. Join us on this journey where we're uncovering what it takes to be a powerful woman leader. Well, Marsha, I'm pretty sure that I'm vibrating with excitement for today's episode. I've been itching to talk about this content now for weeks since I watched this movie for today's discussion.
Marsha Clark 1:00
Well, Wendi, I'm pretty excited, too, about today's topic and really, in addition, to kick off our panel discussions on The Fight for Freedom series that we introduced last week.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 1:11
Well, for our listeners who might be tuning in today and missed last week's episode, Marsha, will you do a quick review to set the context so that we can jump into introducing the panelists and dig into this content?
Marsha Clark 1:25
Yes, I'd be very happy to do that. So last week, our episode was titled "The Fight for Freedom" and it set the stage for exploring how the rights to full citizenship, including the right to vote, or suffrage, evolved over the history of our country. And this week, we kick off a four episode series where we're going to review relevant movies or documentaries that are linked to not only women's suffrage, but also other topics related to freedom for women. You know, the bonus is that we have you know, invited a diverse panel of women to join us as we explore and discuss the movies, movies, you know, art representing life, so to speak. And we're inviting all of our listeners to the conversation by asking them to contribute thoughts, feelings about the topics that we're going to be covering. So we'd love to hear from you about this.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 2:17
Exactly. So each week on Marsha's LinkedIn page, we'll be sharing information about the week's video, where the video is available for viewing and some discussion questions where you can add your own comments. So if you haven't had a chance to watch this week's video or review the questions, you may want to pause the podcast and go to Marsha's LinkedIn page and get caught up.
Marsha Clark 2:17
I think that's a great idea, Wendi. So let's get started. Let's roll.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 2:43
That's right. So this week's video is actually a documentary published in 2019 by Nashville Public Television, and can be viewed for free here in the U.S. by doing a search engine lookup for the title "By One Vote: Women Suffrage in the South". So sorry, "Woman Suffrage in the South". And we have a link to the video in the show notes for this episode. Okay, so Marsha, let's introduce our guests for today's discussion.
Marsha Clark 3:12
I do want to say one thing, okay. By One Vote is b y.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 3:16
Okay? Yeah. Yes. Yeah. Oh my god. That's a good point in today's political environment. So I'm gonna review that title again. "By One Vote: Woman Suffrage in the South". All right, Marsha.
Marsha Clark 3:30
Now, we can go. So you know, our first guest is a name that's familiar to many of our listeners. She's our content creator. And my 30 plus year longtime dear and treasured friend, Tracie Shipman. And Tracie, you really came up with this idea of the panel discussions, and you recruited some of our guests, the guest today as well as in some other episodes. So tell us a little bit about how that idea was spawned, and how it all came to be.
Tracie Shipman 3:55
So I was remembering back during Power of Self. Remember, we had all of those movie nights. And how incredibly moving it was to watch the movies together to have the conversations after. And because we had a bit of a gap in the schedule, especially around Fourth of July, I thought, hold on, what if we did some power movies? And so I came up with a whole theme around the fight for freedom because it was hitting around Independence Day, found some really powerful movies. And that's kind of what got me inspired and then pitched it to you and you were excited. So we're in.
Marsha Clark 4:28
Well, I love it because we can learn lessons from a lot of different places. And the movies that we're reviewing aren't ones that may make it, the box office, you know, set records or anything. And in many cases our listeners, women, won't find this in the history books either. So absolutely being able to share this information, I love the idea and you know, I just think about as part of the process for us preparing for these episodes was also recruiting women because we know how we feel about a lot of the stuff but how do we get some new and different voices in the room? So our second guest today, in addition to you is someone you specifically reached out to, I believe.
Tracie Shipman 5:09
Yes, it is. So I had a very intentional agenda when I made this text request. So there really are a few very few women in my civic leadership circle that I admire and respect so deeply. And these are women I can be honest with, will be honest with me and, and really kind of just make me smarter. And Tracy Gamble is one of those people. And so when I realized that we still had an opening for this episode, I reached out directly to her to see if she'd be open to join us. And lucky for us, she's taken some time out of her responsibilities working with a newly elected Texas State Representative. And so Tracy Gamble, so we're kind of figure out how we're going to call each other through this whole thing. But Gamble, thank you so much for being on the show.
Tracy Gamble 5:52
Thank you, Shipman. That feels really strange because we're so used to just being you know, Tracie and Tracy and everyone sort of around town gets used to knowing which one we're talking about. But I am, I appreciate the opportunity. It's pretty humbling to be in Tracie Shipman's circle of trusted advisors because I don't have to tell you all, you all know her resume and all the amazing things that she has done, not just in Frisco, but in the broader community. So I'm very lucky to consider Tracie one of my trusted advisors. And when she told me about the topic for this podcast, I could not say yes quickly enough. And I'm really looking forward to the discussion. So I appreciate you all having me.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 6:33
Excellent. Well, Tracy Gamble is kind of a local legend here in our community. So I grabbed a bio from one of the nonprofits she serves on so we could provide our listeners with a little more commentary on just what kind of superstar we're really talking about here. And this is from the Frisco Fast Packs website, Board of Directors page, and it reads: "Tracy moved to Frisco to join family in 2005 and began volunteering with the Frisco Women's League in 2006 working with nonprofits all over North Texas. She went on to serve on the Frisco Women's League board in several capacities, including two terms as president. Tracy also serves as president of the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 178, on the marketing committees for the Frisco Bowl and Leadership Frisco and co-chairs the Information and Services Committee for the 2023 KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship, which we just had here in Frisco.,
Marsha Clark 7:36
Wow, on all of those things. Thank you for all you do for our fine city. And so I get the local legend and superstar, and I would say, Tracy Gamble, that it sounds like you're quite the servant leader. And we're definitely lucky to have you. And I do want to say, I know that the working for a newly represented or newly elected Texas Representative, that you're also in special session. So you didn't get to come home when you thought you might. And so thank you for taking time out from that important work. And my ears did perk up hearing that you co-chaired one of the committees for our first ever PGA Championship in Frisco as the PGA headquarters recently moved here. And I'd love to know what was that like? And how did you get involved in that?
Tracy Gamble 8:22
It was an amazing experience. It literally just wrapped up. I actually took a few days away from the end of the eighty eighth regular legislative session to go and and you're right. We got called back into special session three hours after the first one adjoured. So, but we have gaveled out again, the house has adjourned again. So technically, we're done with the special session. It's more than anybody could even possibly explain. It's kind of a little political whirlwind going on in Austin right now. But it was very nice to take a few days, come back up to the Dallas area, come home to Frisco and work on this event, which was the debut basically of the first big major tournament to be held out at the PGA Headquarters, which has two golf courses on the property. And one of them is of course, a championship course that was designed for these big events. I will say and that you can go into an event like that thinking that you understand how much sunscreen you will need, and there is never enough sunscreen. So just something to file away. If I don't have sunscreen poisoning by now then I'm clearly immune because you're outside a lot. But it was an incredible experience because you had people coming in from all over the country and you had golfers that are absolutely the top of their profession coming in from all over the country to experience something that just a few years ago right here in Frisco was just a big piece of dirt. It was just, it was you know, several thousand acres that was just sitting there doing nothing and had been owned by a Frisco family for a very long time. They never did sell it for, you know, commercial, residential purposes. because it's it's in the 100 year floodplain, and it's got all these strange kind of rolling hills and stuff that was going to be difficult to make it a good development for, you know, kind of a regular profitable use. But that's the exact thing that made it perfect for what the PGA wanted to create a championship golf course out there. And it was a really exciting tournament. And it was impressive to see the power of volunteers. It takes about 1,500 volunteers to put one of those major tournaments on and we've been working on it for months. So it was very cool to see it go down. And getting involved with that was actually, you know, it comes from again, women identifying women and lifting them up. This was another, it was a phone call from another powerful Frisco female. I got a phone call from a lady named Wren Ovard, who I think some of you probably have met or know or gotten the pleasure to work with on different things. Wren and I have known each other for years volunteering together. We've been on some boards together. You know, our families have done things together. But her family was very key to the PGA relocating its headquarters to Frisco. Her husband actually came up with it that, came up with the idea about nine years ago and worked really hard to to bring all the parties to the table. Wren and David were intrinsic to the thing, to actually really coming to pass and going off it. So when they started to put together the first tournament, they reached out to Wren and said, Okay, tell us who in in Frisco can bring people together to work hard and put the face of the community forward. And she called me and I admit, I told her no a couple of times, because I said, I don't know anything about golf. And she said, 'No, but you know about Frisco, and you can be that Ambassador for the event.' So it was a really, it was really an honor to get to participate. But I was so proud of our community. We've done something really impressive. And I hope that if you haven't gotten a chance to go out and see the Omni resort and see the PGA property, that you'll go out and take a look because it's really beautiful. And it's a testament to what to the power of partnership, and to the power of vision.
Marsha Clark 12:06
I love the power of partnership, the power of vision, and I think about it serves our community. It's a business event. We're a sports centered city. I mean, it just touches on so many different pieces and parts of Frisco. So, thank you again.
Tracy Gamble 12:19
Tracie Shipman 12:20
So I know eventually, we're going to get to the part where we talk about the documentary. But before we do, I do want to just say a couple more things about TG. I was hearing about her all the time, you know, over about 10 years ago, and it was like, 'Oh, you need to meet Tracy Gamble. You need to, you have so much in common besides your name.' And it wasn't until we were both appointed to the 2015 Charter Review Commission that I got to see her at work. And I was just so impressed with her knowledge of policy and procedure and protocols. And I mean, she was just really kind of holding us to task and even before that appointment, she had already been recognized by the Frisco Chamber of Commerce as the 2014 Sole Proprietor of the year and, and since then, she just has really focused so much of her time and talent serving all these other boards in the city, or Community Development Corporation. And currently, as Wendi mentioned earlier, she's a member of the Fast Packs board and has been a big part of Empty Bowls Frisco, their steering committee and all of that. So, now you can see maybe, Marsha, why I was pretty excited that she said yes.
Marsha Clark 13:21
Yes, I can definitely see that.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 13:22
So, now that we have all the intros out of the way, let's dig into the documentary. So this video followed the true story of the ratification of the 19th amendment in the United States, and specifically what was happening in Tennessee, which ended up being the state that put the vote over the top and secured the right to vote for women. So our first question is, were you aware of the role Tennessee played in the ratification and what were your thoughts as you watch that tension in the story play out? Now, Tracy Gamble, since you're our guest, will you start?
Tracy Gamble 13:24
I would love to. So I admit that much. Kind of like Tracie Shipman mentioned a minute ago about, you know, what she realizing how much she didn't know about this particular story. I did not know. First of all, I've learned how much after watching this documentary how much I didn't really understand what exactly went into getting the 19th amendment passed and ratified. And that I felt a little bit embarrassed as I was watching it and thinking about this because of course, as a woman who's never not known the right to vote, and the daughter of a woman who never didn't know the right to vote, I realized that I you know, I kind of owed it to those women who just 100 years ago, y'all it has not been that long. And I owe it to them to kind of learn and understand how we got to here. So it was a great opportunity for me to learn something that I didn't previously know that I really wanted to know about. So, that's one of the thumbs up are excited about the about participating with y'all as having gotten the opportunity to really dig into this stuff. And I had no idea that Tennessee was the final piece of that puzzle. So I loved watching the film open with that kind of that sweeping view over the city of Nashville. And you can always identify the Nashville skyline because they've got that one building that looks like Batman. It's one of the oil companies. And if you look at it, it's got like, it looks like it's got ears that poke up. So it's got that Batman building, and you can always tell the Nashville skyline quickly, but then how the camera, you know, kind of zooms through the State Capitol. And, you know, through all of my, through my various work experiences, I've been in many state capitals, and I love the Tennessee State Capitol. I love Nashville as a capital city. I mean, I've stayed in the Hermitage Hotel. So I've been in some of those locations that they used, and you never, anytime you're walking through one of those, those historic buildings, especially a State Capitol, you're always aware of how much history has gone on. And you know, if these walls could talk, that sort of thing, you're always really aware of it. And I'm sad at the times that I was in that capital a lot, I didn't realize the fight for women to have the vote. And I never realized it took place there. And when you think about Tennessee, it's been you know, even Tennessee has been a site of so many important cultural touch points in American history. I mean, you think about, you think about Memphis and its role in the civil rights movement. And you think about, I mean, the Grand Ole Opry and the, you know, some of the birth of American music and the Scopes Trial. I mean, there's a lot that happened in Tennessee overall, that shape, you know, a lot of Tennessee, people came and helped Texas fight and David Bowie from Tennessee, and he came and help Texas fight for independence. And, you know, it kind of fits for this to have happened in Tennessee, it fits for it fits for a southern state to have been one where they said, We need one more, we need one more to get to 36. As far as the tension piece of it, it's the political tension of that battle, and that fight that they had to go through, the long game of of planning for months and months. You know, it felt to me both somewhat ancient and also very familiar, because it's not it's not that different. The same types of battles on different levels for different rights are still being fought today in capitals all over the country. So it means to feel both historical but also very, very modern.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 17:28
Marsha, what about you? I know that you've used the movie, "Iron Jawed Angels" in class, all those Power of Self years, but did you realize that the vote actually came down to just one leader in Tennessee?
Marsha Clark 17:28
Well, I didn't know that, but not until after I saw "Iron Jawed Angels" and then I wanted to go see a bit more about that. And you know, TG, that's what I'm gonna call you, TG, Tracy Gamble. The idea of It's a bit embarrassing that we didn't know this. And yet, how could we have, but they don't teach this. You know, there's a paragraph or two about women got the right to vote in, you know, August 26, of 1920. And the 19th Amendment was ratified. And that's about all we know, we don't know what women went through to get that vote. And, you know, even as I think about "Iron Jawed Angels", it was I will never not vote again, knowing how hard those women fought. And you'll hear me say that probably in every one of these podcasts about the movies, because I think that's such a strong and endearing message. And I just want to say, Tennessee, what it makes me a little proud because I was born in Tennessee. I'm a Knoxville, Tennessee girl. And the idea of yes, my family moved to Texas when I was very young. And there is a strong connection between these two states. So there's that part of it for me, and the the story represented by this particular documentary. And I do want to encourage our listeners, if you haven't seen the movie, "Iron Jawed Angels", it's another great story, to know, to learn, to share, to watch with the women in your life, because there's a lot of information that you're not going to know through school or history books. (Absolutely. Absolutely.) So Tracie, what about you?.
Tracie Shipman 19:11
Well, in doing the research, not just watching this video, but literally setting this whole podcast series up right around the fight for freedom. So some things that I learned that I didn't know before. So back in 1920, there were 48 states, which meant that it was going to take 36 to ratify the amendment. And I'm sure Linda Loker taught me that in you know, in junior year, but I didn't remember any of that. And so the number of states that had already given women the right to vote, and by that summer of 1920, there were 35 that ratified the amendment, but eight had rejected it outright, and three other states refused to even consider the amendment to vote. They wouldn't bring it to the vote. And of course, most of those were predominantly in the south. And so I watched a ton of other documentaries on the subject prepping for the series, and one of them was another PBS special from the American Experience Films series. And the outcome was called "The Vote - The Race to Ratification." So those two states left on the map that hadn't voted yet were in North Carolina and Tennessee, and the suffragette leaders, from Alice Paul based in D.C., and we learned about her in "Iron Jawed Angels", but Alice Paul, and then Carrie Chapman Catt, who was working really the ground attack, basically, they knew that North Carolina was a lost cause. They're like, we're not even going to try North Carolina. And so they're focused their efforts really on Tennessee because they had previously allowed women to vote prior to the amendment. I didn't know any of that before I watched this documentary. And I got, I was kind of confused between this and "Iron Jawed Angels". I thought it was the final vote for the 19th amendment that came down to that one vote and all the tension that we saw in the documentary, not the vote for ratification in the 3th state. And so in many ways, to me it was even more powerful to realize that everything really hung in the balance between, you know, young Mr. Burns, who flipped his vote because his mom wrote him that letter and said, 'Be a good boy and support Mrs. Catt and her rats', and her rats, right? And then when Turner Banks cast his final vote in favor of ratification. So, I didn't know any of that.
Marsha Clark 21:24
I have to say I learned a few things in regard to that. The young man was 24 years old, he was the youngest representative in the Tennessee legislature. So Wendi, when you watched the documentary, did anything ring a bell for you?
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 21:38
Well, this was somewhat new information for me on the focus on Tennessee. But what really struck me as I was watching this was the realization that getting the vote for women in the woman suffrage movement was more of a fight in the South because the Civil War had just torn apart the United States, and definitely the southern economy. And so it made sense to me that the suffrage movement would begin in the North, the Northeast, and that it would be a direct offshoot of that an-slavery movement. So I think what was really interesting to me throughout this whole documentary was the intertwinedness, if I can make up that word, of the black people, with women, and the ways that they, and we'll talk about this more as we go on through the podcast, but the ways that they both attack this problem of suffrage of having vote and what that means for women, and then black people, and then black women.
Marsha Clark 22:44
Yeah, you know, in "Iron Jawed Angels", it really was more about women and white women. And so the African American women were kind of a side story, right, and a very short part of it. And I do love the way this one talks about, as you say, the intertwinedness, or interconnectedness of those two, and how there was a yin and yang associated with that.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 23:05
So this documentary also gave us kind of a backstage pass and showed us how much of the work goes into a vote before the issue even lands on the floor. And it looked like the suffragettes had secured the majority of the vote prior to the special session being called with all of their lobbying across the state, town by town. But then, as they mentioned, the anti-suffrage team rolled into town and began their own form of lobbying with tactics like (I loved this part) the 24 hour Jack Daniel's Suite. So how did all of you feel about the tactics you use to delay or sway the vote? Marsha, we're going to start with you.
Marsha Clark 23:50
Appalled, disgusted, angry, cheap shot. I mean, those are the words that came to mind for me. And yet, I know those many of those tactics are still at play today. Yeah. And, you know, I guess that was one thing I learned in this documentary. I knew that it had played a role and just like political tactics, or, you know, and, TG, I can't wait to hear your thoughts about this in the world that you're living in. Because you know, I'm sure much more up close and personal around all of this, but mine was just disgust.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 24:22
Yeah. Yeah. Tracie Shipman?
Tracie Shipman 24:24
I think and again, that between the two documentaries, this one and then the other shorter clip that I watched, they were talking about some of the really deliberate delays. So there was a lot of the procedural stuff that they were doing to call for adjournment. So this, they call the session into order on Monday, and all week long then they play these games. And so there's the adjournments. There's literally one of the things that I think the other documentary talked about was, they on purpose did clerical errors so that they would, you know, have, it was just so disgusted, yeah, frustrated, but also a little bit of recognition of like, Ah, there they go. These were allowable in some cases, you know, playing by the rules. And both sides had the rules. Now, obviously this suffragettes wanted this to happen, wanted this to pass, wanted them to come to the vote. But as the week went on, and the legislators had nothing else to do, because apparently, this was the only thing on the agenda, and so they just keep spending all their time in the Jack Daniels' Suite during Prohibition, then, you know it and they were, the lobby was working. And the little, I love the whole idea of the little yellow roses, were starting to come off the lapels that the suffragettes had been pinning on everybody and showing their support. And as the week goes on, those yellow roses start disappearing. And some people are even going to the, you know, the extreme and putting the red roses on to show that they were now anti-suffrage. So it was frustrating to know this was happening, but also kind of validating, I guess, in a way to know that, you know, even back then the gamesmanship and the politics of it all, the lobbying, was in strong, strong play.
Marsha Clark 26:14
And we think about it today, and yet there it was 100 plus years ago.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 26:18
Yeah, exactly. Tracy Gamble. How about you?
Tracy Gamble 26:21
Y'all it has not changed. None of it has changed. All I could do just now when Marsha was talking about, you know, the kind of the feeling of disgust when you know, realize some of the tactics, I just, I can't cannot tell you enough. None of it has changed. Everything that we are talking about and everything that they dealt with in the documentary that they dealt with in, you know, in 1919 and 1920, those things are all happening today. The difference is we shine a little more light on it, on the lobbying, and we're a little more aware of it. But it is absolutely still part of the process and those tactics, the pressure, the coaxing, the threats, the you know, the political pressure, all of that is all still absolutely in play. And what has happened with the advent of technology is that now there's just more ways for those things to work. One of the things that I did notice that was very interesting, when Shipman was talking about some of the clerical errors made on purpose to delay the vote. That is also all still happening today. It's not at all uncommon that one of the ways that you can kill a piece of legislation you don't like once the legislation has gone through the committee process and made it to the floor of the House or the Senate, the way that you can kill it at that point, if you're not sure that the votes are going to go your way, the thing that you can do to kill it is use procedural and parliamentary tactics. And one of them is finding errors in the bill that you could point out either because the person drafting the bill missed it, or because somewhere along the way, someone who was a double agent essentially had you put something in the bill, that by the time it got to the floor, it had an error in it that you could then pull the pin on that grenade if you needed to, to kill the legislation. That's been the last six months in the Texas House of Representatives. That still happens constantly. And so it's just a it's another legislative technique, right? Use the rules to get the things done that you need. If someone isn't, if you can't get someone to agree with you in heart and mind and cast their vote for you, then try to keep the vote from happening using parliamentary procedure and procedural error and that that happens a lot. One of the things that jumped out at me as very interesting was when the governor told the suffragettes, we will do this. I'll call your special session so that we can take this vote, but we're not going to set it until after the primary. Because you've all got this new right to vote, you've got this new registered right to vote, I can guarantee you that the other guy, if he gets elected, he is not going to call this special session because he doesn't support you. You better go to the primary, get your ladies out, y'all turn out to support me in the primary. That way you can be assured that you'll have a governor that will at least call for the vote to even happen, you know, and that's the kind of thing that we also still see a lot today. I won't mention names, but I'll say it happens at all layers of government from the highest to the lowest levels, where you'll have someone that will delay a vote on something important until after a key election to make sure that the people who need to vote a certain way will actually be sitting in the seats in order to vote on something when the vote comes around. The when the vote takes place is almost as powerful as what you're voting on. And that's one reason that your most powerful committee in any legislative body of any size is going to be the one who sets the calendar. Whoever makes the agenda, basically controls the body. So, it's fascinating but it's sometimes feels a little icky to see it.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 30:00
So, Tracy Gamble, what's it like to be in the room where it happens? I mean, we can't pass up a Hamilton reference. But what is that like down in Austin?
Tracy Gamble 30:10
So I think that part of it requires, you know, I know y'all know that everybody's probably heard the saying about sausage is like government, everybody likes it, but no one wants to see how it gets made. Yep. And that is, that's never been more true. As you can see, as you saw in the documentary, obviously, that's what was happening 100 years ago. I can't speak to the state of Tennessee, because I'm not very active in what's happening with their legislative processes anymore. But in the state of Texas, that's all still, it's all still very much the same, the lobbying and the back and forth stuff, that's all still very much the same. And there's just so many steps in a process where somebody who wants a bill or a piece of legislation to go a certain way or the side that you're on, there's so many ways to skin the cat, right? Whether you're approaching individual legislators on their vote, or whether you are getting somebody, you're getting a legislator to horse trade on something, which is very common. You'll see a legislator, but they're, you know, they don't really care about issue A. They're very, very passionate about issue B because B affects their districts, you know. Maybe they don't care so much about the laws about parking structures because they're not an urban legislator, they're out in rural communities. They do care a lot about water rights and water resources. And so you may have your urban legislator trade support with your rural legislator, and they say, okay, look, I'm gonna vote your way on your parking garages, because I don't care. But I need you to vote my way on water, because I do care about that. So, you know, we will, you know, will coalesce on something that we both have a stake in. And of that horse trading, there's a lot of that that still goes on.
Marsha Clark 31:48
So, Tracy, I appreciate the reality of where you are and what you're doing, and how things are showing up. And I've also always been intrigued by the women who were part of this and the bravery, courage, risk that they took, and so on in the suffrage movement, and also the anti-suffrage movement. You know, I understand, you know, the liquor lobby, and the factories and the men in general who, who were opposed. But I have always wondered about the women who fought against women gaining the right to vote, and we heard about them as well. And I'd love to hear your thoughts on that. And Wendi, you always go last so we're gonna start with you on this one.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 32:31
Okay. So the thing that I took away, from this documentary was that the anti-suffrage women were wanting, choosing and wanting to maintain what I'm going to call their gilded cages. Like, just, you know, we talked in some other episodes about, you know, protecting the status quo. But I think that women, these anti suffragist women chose to look at their position as a place of power in that they were using the power of their husbands name. And they felt that they were, especially for the elite women. Now I, you know, I think it's a whole different conversation if you're going to have a, if you're going to talk to some of the working class women. But in this documentary, the women who were anti-suffrage were elite, they were wanting to protect what they viewed as their power position as mom, wife, director of all things domestic. And I think that's coming from a position of fear. It's definitely wanting to maintain what you currently have, and you're afraid of losing what you have and being punished for what you have. And not being willing to risk trying to be something more.
Marsha Clark 33:55
I love that, but coming from a place of fear. I think you're right. Tracie Shipman, how about you?
Tracie Shipman 34:01
Okay, I'll go. Ditto, ditto that the whole idea of it, there really were kind of two polarities as far as who the anti-suffragists were. So you had the the women who were trying to protect their, their status. And so the the one woman that really kind of jumped out at me was Josephine Pearson, she was discussed. And part of it was also that she made like a promise to her mother on her mother's dying bed, that she would not, that she would continue the fight against the suffrage movement. And so this Josephine Pearson, who had a master's degree, was a professional, was, you know, but she was also going around the state, kind of following in the shadow of Catt and but she was lobbying against and she was kind of being used as the poster child because it wasn't as politically correct for the men to be out there saying this is not a good idea, but they used her. There were just so many flags flying out for me as far as you know, people who are in the marginalized group, but are going out and speaking against the rights of the marginalized group. And I thought, wow, we are still seeing that today as well. And so I'm always surprised by when I see people in the marginalized group advocating against freedoms and rights for themselves, it just is always shocking to me.
Marsha Clark 35:26
It's a contradiction or a paradox that I cannot, I can't wrestle and make sense of. So, TG, what are your experiences, your thoughts, your stories about the women, the anti-suffragist women?
Tracy Gamble 35:41
That was one of the things, it was really one of the first notes I was making, just when I was watching and jotting down things I wanted to go back and poke into and think about. And it was really one of the first things that I wrote down with, you know, question marks and asterisks and big exclamation points, how did you have these women that were opposed to suffrage opposed to their own freedom, their own, you know, enfranchisement, essentially. And but then, when you think about it a minute and Shipman alluded to this, as well, it's regrettable, but it's not difficult, we see it a lot, it's not that difficult to find someone within a marginalized group and identify them and separate them away from kind of the thoughts of that community and, and lure them into working in their, working against their best interest. And, you know, it's an optics thing, right? You need somebody, you need somebody. You can't have the men to, I think Wendi's point, you can't have the men being the ones that say, 'Well, women don't deserve the vote'. You've got to have a woman saying, 'No women, we don't deserve the vote.'And I know what I mean, because I'm one of you'. That 'Listen to me because I'm one of you' argument is powerful. But it is, it's sad that human nature means that it's easy to split somebody away and convince them to work against something that will benefit them in the end.
Tracie Shipman 37:06
And so kind of while we're on the topic of things that surprised us, the other thing, and Wendi, you started to talk about this just a couple minutes ago, the other thing I didn't realize was the split, or the chasm that was created between the anti-slavery and abolitionist advocates and the woman suffrage advocates, after the enactment of the 15th Amendment. It made me so sad because this documentary, and some others that I that I watched really reflected that clear fracture between the two groups. And, a lot of them had been working together and aligned on early suffrage. They were fighting for the right to vote for all citizens. And then when that 15th Amendment was ratified, which, by the way, I didn't know this, it took almost 11 years, from the time it was passed, as the 15th Amendment in 1859. And then it was, you know, 11 years later, before it was actually ratified. So you know, after black men received the right to vote in the 15th Amendment, women, and especially white women, did not get the right to vote. And this, the division and the fracture was set in the ranks. And so, you know, I was sad but maybe not surprised that some of the leaders of the woman suffrage movement literally used white supremacy as a lobbying leverage point to try to gain support of the southern politicians. Basically, they were saying, you know, oh, if you give white women the vote, then we'll be able to come together and will basically be able to negate or balance out the vote that black men just were given. And so, you know, if they were worried about, their argument was, you know, if you're worried about black people gaining political power, then give us the vote and we'll be able to vote with you and we'll all keep the power.
Marsha Clark 39:01
I mean, Tracie, when I looked at that, here we are being used as pawns in the game, not giving us the vote because it was the right thing to do so that we could have an equal voice at the table or be represented in government or elect people that we thought would represent our points of view. And yet, that was a political strategy. And women are used as pawns in the game all the time. And here's just a beautiful example of that being done, oh, so long ago, and still at play today. You know, rather than being simply a philosophical or theoretical exercise, so what can we do today? Not, I mean, we've got to learn about this, these things that happen in history, but what can we do today to ensure that we're protecting these freedoms and what kind of opportunities are there for us to engage and really activate? And, Tracy Gamble, I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Tracy Gamble 39:54
I will say I actually get asked this question a lot in a case of, you know, anybody that says I'm upset with A, I'm frustrated with B. I want to see something different. I want to make a change, what can we do? What can we do? And I always tell people to let's not let the feeling of they're the good feelings that come from, you know activism and from getting a sign and marching in a protest or signing a petition, you know, those things give us a dopamine hit. And we feel really good because we quote, "did" something, you know, I'm making a difference, when in reality, the thing that we can all do for anything that we care about, that would be the most effective way to make change and have change, make real change in a matter of weeks or months, is for people to actually go to the polls. It is remarkable to me every time that we can have these big elections, we're voting while we've made it difficult, more and more difficult over the last few years. In general, we're blessed that voting is not as difficult now as it was 100 years ago. And certainly we all have the right to do that. And yet people will skip elections, people will tell me that they're very passionate about something happening in their city, but they've never voted in a city election. And so I would say that the very first hurdle for all of us is going to be to get more people to understand that this right to vote is precious. It was fought for and died for by so many people. And if we could really, the first thing we could do to protect all of these freedoms is to actually utilize them. Voting is a muscle. If we don't flex it, it will atrophy. So more people voting is the quickest and best thing we can do. So I tell people go to the polls, take every one of your family members and take all of your neighbors with you and pressure people to go.
Marsha Clark 41:44
I have written many a letter to my legislators both on a state level at a national level. And I'm curious. I wonder if my single letter or some letter writing or postcard campaign is really making a difference in the sense of all the political action committees and the big, you know, serious donors and all the different ways Super PACs and all that kind of thing. Does it matter if we directly contact our representatives in whatever form that might take? Does that help?
Tracy Gamble 42:17
It does, it really does. So, the key to keep in mind is that you're going to have the most impact when it's a legislator that actually represents you, right? If you pick up the phone and call someone across the state, he doesn't care because he knows that you can't vote for him. And so knowing who represents you and making sure you know how to reach their office is the first key and the thing that's most important. And then the second thing I try to let people know, if you go through your local advocacy group, and they say, click this form and we'll send an email on your behalf. It's easy, but it's also easily dismissed at the legislator side. Because when they see 100 emails come in, with the exact same form letter in them, and they come in a bundle, and they're all in the same domain, just because it has your name on it, they know that you didn't actually make that effort. And so the thing that matters is to either pick up the phone in person, call the legislator's office, or to send an email yourself. You could write a physical letter, but things move so quickly these days, I tell people that email works just as well. But send it yourself, don't go through a website, don't let someone else send it on your behalf. And the common rule of thumb in legislator's office is that every phone call, or email represents 10 or 15 people who didn't reach out. And so they track them. I don't know an office that doesn't track how many phone calls and emails they receive for or against an issue because they want to know how their district feels about something.
Tracie Shipman 43:47
So one thing, Tracy, you just made me remember to having just served on the bond committee, and we were getting tons of emails from residents who were lobbying about wanting to put the pet shelter on. And to your point, exactly, it was the emails where the person introduced themselves and said, You know, I've been a resident for this long. And here's, you know, here's a picture of my dog. And those were so much more impactful than the cut and paste where you can tell was literally the thing that had gone out through the advocacy group. And not that it wasn't impressive that the people took the time to do that as well. But it was the emails that were more personalized. Those felt certainly more impactful as somebody in that decision making role.
Marsha Clark 44:32
I think that's really important information because I know Facebook and any other social media, you're getting that kind of stuff on a regular basis. And I always add my name thinking that was important, but now I know writing that personal note's more important. So, listeners, maybe that's news for you as well.
Tracie Shipman 44:47
Right. But another thing I know that Tracy has been very involved in and I was actually a participant in this in high school is a way to kind of engage and activate young women and get them excited about the process of government and leading and all that. And that's Girls State. And so it's one of the things that Tracy is very involved in in our community, setting that whole thing up. So, Tracy, guess would you share just a little bit about, you know, even for people who aren't familiar with Girls State, a little bit about what it is and how people can get involved locally, because it's pretty much across the entire country.
Tracy Gamble 45:24
It is. And thank you for opening that door for me. But I will tell you all I've had to set, I've just started a timer, because I am so passionate about the Girls State program that I could go on, hours and hours. So I'm going to limit myself significantly, and the restraint is going to be a heroic effort. But this is the program that got me excited about government, excited about civic engagement. And I tell a lot of the elected officials that I work with and I work around and then I find that they really have out of a sense of obligation should make a donation to the program because if I had not gone to Texas Girls State when I was a junior in high school, they probably would not be sitting in their elected office today because it shaped me that much. And it's a program that is hosted every summer. Every state has one of these, it has a Girls State program and a Boys State program. They're run by the American Legion Auxilary and the American Legion respectively. And it is a mock government essentially. So in Texas, the girls will go, in fact they leave in two weeks for the summer, this summer's program. They'll go on Sunday and by six days later on Saturday, they will have registered to vote, established a city government, established a county government, established a political party, established a political party platform, elected officers to city council, a commissioner political party, and then they will have host primaries, they will elect all state offices, Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Chief Justice at the Supreme Court, Agriculture Commissioner. They will elect all those offices, then they will learn what that office has to do. They and then they will come they will finalize that with a trip to the state capitol where they will legislate on the floor of the House and Senate after having learned how to run, how to draft legislation and write it and that all gets done in six days. It's a sight to behold. And it's if you don't sleep a lot, nobody sleeps a lot during it. But what happens is you realize very quickly how easy it is to engage people in government when they are passionate about how it's being done. People don't want to sit and listen to something in a classroom, they want to do. We all know people learn by doing. And you if you get young people involved in something that makes a big impression on them at a young age, it sticks with them. So that was the thing that got me hooked on government in general, and the sausage making and the best thing that someone can do to help support that program, essentially is look for look for their American Legion, post or unit in the community and reach out and say I'd like to contribute to the Girls State program. Because the girls that go, they'll pick 600 young women from across the state of Texas, and there's a cost. They all go down and stay at Texas Lutheran University down in Seguin for a week and there's a cost that's associated with it. But the students aren't allowed to pay for that. The community has to raise the money to send them. And that ensures that the program is not only available to the girls whose families can afford, you know, several hundred dollars for a summer camp, it makes sure that it's a merit based program. So it's a great, an outstanding program that a lot of people don't know about it, but it definitely is good for teaching young people how they can make a difference.
Tracie Shipman 48:51
There is no way I would have been able to go if I would have had to have paid or my family would have had to have paid so the fact that you know it was a it was funded by the community is just such a gift.
Marsha Clark 49:02
You know, I have to tell you, so this brought back memories when I read this in the notes about Girls State. So I was part of a government group called Tri High Y in high school. I don't know if it was just a school sponsored versus American Legion sponsored. Boys were High Y but I remember going to Austin when I was a senior in high school and being an officer of that club and didn't do quite the extensive things that you did there. But I also want to say there's another program that Mary Petter, one of my high school friends and I were chosen to do the Presidential Classroom for Young Americans and then we got to go to Washington and do those same things. And one of my moments I will never forget is meeting Barbara Jordan because I grew up in Houston. And she was one of our, you know, state representatives and sitting in her office watching her on the on the congressional floor and all of those kinds of things. It was amazing. It was absolutely amazing. And, you know, I had kind of forgotten about those things until we're doing this and remembering just how that, you know, Tracy, not to the same level maybe that it hooked you given your current role in politics, but the importance and understanding the importance and how, why and how it matters. So that's a part I love.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 50:14
Well, I'm going to bring the conversation back to the documentary. So there are so many highlights from it and I want to give everyone a kind of lightning round chance to add anything else that jumped out at you from the film that we haven't already covered today. So Tracy Gamble, let's start with you. Then we'll go to Tracie Shipman. And then I'll add mine and, Marsha, we'lll end with you. So Tracy Gamble?
Tracy Gamble 50:39
Well, I just want to say again, I'm so grateful that I've had a reason to dive into this documentary. And I can't wait to watch it with my daughter and talk about it with her. Because I know if I don't know some of these things that that were part of this process, then I know she doesn't either. And, but I think that, you know, for me, the biggest takeaway was simply understanding that there's no, you know, when I looked at the co-mingling of how race and gender intersected to, at this particular time, especially with the backdrop of the World War going on, you forget how much these things are all intertwined. And everybody, every, every marginalized community is fighting a battle. And a lot of those battles are very much aligned. And they're often fighting against the group in power, who wants to stay in power. And so I think that we want to, if we want to do better going forward, we have to find ways to give grace to different marginalized communities who are trying to figure out how to fight their battle, and realize that really, everyone's rowing in the same direction, which is more rights for everybody. And enabling people to do that, I think, is the battle that we've got to fight, most immediately.
Tracie Shipman 51:52
So one of the things and I have said this before, and things I've written or even for the podcasts, the idea of, you know, in 1920 American women were given the right to vote. And one of the things that someone said in one of the documentaries I watched was this idea of the right to vote wasn't given to women, they fought for it. I mean, as I'm watching the little flags go across this the Tennessee State as they've gone from community to community to fight for the right to lobby, it was a hard fought victory for them, but it had been 70 years in the making. And similarly, in the U.K., in the other movie that we have "Suffragette", I mean, this same kind of timeline. So a lot of the women who started even that fight for freedom, they died even before the 19th Amendment made it to Congress, and certainly before it was ratified, and so women and men fought for that freedom. Nothing was given to them. So that's something that jumps out at me.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 52:50
No, I love that, Tracie. And so what jumped out at me during this documentary was the realization because they share, the documentary shares that it was church groups, civic work groups by women, public work groups that started, the women started gathering and forming these groups to address problems, what they saw as problems in society. And one of the things that they mentioned in the documentary is an organization that was called the Ossoli Book Club. And it started as a women's book club. But they started morphing and changing, I'm sure, due to the conversations around the books, they started changing into more of a social reform group. And so they started addressing issues like education for their children and political empowerment and several other topics that were important to the women, and that this group, or the ideas of these groups started moving the women in front of politicians, so they started having conversations in public spheres, and talking to the politicians. But the thing was, until they had the right to vote, they still didn't have power. It was still just conversation, but I loved that they, that this documentary kind of gives you that background in the history of how this started, it wasn't just all of a sudden, one day women, you know, took to the streets. It started in these little intimate gatherings and they started getting comfortable sharing their ideas with each other and then took that in front of the politicians.
Tracie Shipman 54:28
I love that part in the documentary where, you know, the woman the socialite lady stands up. "Dante is dead, ladies". Yes, I love that because and it was like Dante is dead. Now what are we going to do about real life situations and our thinking? Yeah, that's how you know what gets done, right, when somebody gets angry enough to take something on.
Marsha Clark 54:48
Well, and again, I'm gonna go back. I hear in our classes all the time, I thought I was the only one thinking this or I was I thought I was the outlier or I was the crazy one or there was something wrong with me or my voice was getting squashed but it must be more about me than about the the ideas I'm bringing forward or whatever. And so this idea, I go back to it over and over and over again, the power of many and women supporting women. And I was struck, too, by the woman from I think she was University of, Memphis State University and I know it's got another name, University of Memphis or whatever. But anyway, when she talks about, we would take some steps forward, and there will be steps taken back, and we can't stop biting, you know. And that's what I see happening with us again, and again, and again, where it just slowly gets whittled away in the same way it slowly gets progressed, you know, advanced, and, you know, ladies, we've gotta pay attention, and you can't let the slippery slope suddenly become, you know, a landslide kind of thing. And that's why I just say it's fragile. And I mean, I found myself answering that question, a related question in a program I was doing a couple of years ago, and it was, you know, everybody was all hot to trot after the George Floyd death and all that kind of thing. And it was a panel and someone said, you know, here we are now a year later, and, you know, is it still is, are we still as outraged by it? Or are we still as moved by it and that sort of thing? And, or will it just, you know, slowly move to the corner and we'll all forget about it because of our, you know, factoid, 15 minutes of fill in the blank interests fade. And I've seen it happen too many times. And so, for me, what stands out about this, and that's why I think we've got to know the fight and the choices that these women made. And I know we use the term sacrifice a lot. And I just believe that things that are worth fighting for are about choice and not sacrifice. Sacrifice is probably one of those trigger words for me, not probably, it is one of those trigger words for me. I made a choice and I thought that what I was doing in support of something larger than myself would get us further than something that I might have to give up as a result. I might have to give up my privilege, I might have to give up my elitism, my position of power in the community or society or, you know, attached to my husband's identity and social status and economic status. I might have to give those things up. But what we're getting in exchange for that, it's not a sacrifice. It's a choice. And I think we all make those choices every day.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 57:44
Yeah. Well, ladies, this has been a thoughtful, insightful discussion and a perfect kickoff to our video panel series. Thank you both to Tracy Gamble and Tracie Shipman, for joining us today and setting the bar for the three other episodes we have teed up.
Tracie Shipman 57:59
I'm just tickled to be here. I'm tickled that Gamble could be here. I know what's coming. So like next week with "Suffragette", some of the things you're talking about as far as choices, and I mean, that's going to come up again and again. And "She's Beautiful When She's Angry". I mean, there's so much happening. So I'm so excited and just grateful to be here. So thank you for including me.
Marsha Clark 58:19
You know, I love that next week, we are going to be shifting our focus from the fight for suffrage in the U.S. to the United Kingdom. And we are going to discuss a feature film entitled "Suffragette", and it was released in 2015. And I would encourage our listeners that you know, now that they are hearing this, that they can look for the film and watch it before we download that episode next week. And you know, again, we're going to post our discussion questions on LinkedIn so everyone can follow along. And I also want to add that, you know, we're going to talk about the U.S., we're going to talk about the U.K., every country has its own story on women being quote unquote, "given" the right to vote. And, you know, we know statistically speaking that women from, you know, over 50 countries have downloaded our podcasts, countries I've never been in, don't know how it's happening. And yet, so representative of 50 countries, and their own stories and narratives and scripts about women getting the right to vote, and we don't have the ability to cover them all here. So for those that certainly live beyond the U.K. and the U.S. that you do some homework and find out the story for your country. And I would just you know, beg and grovel and plea that you share that with women so they understand the fight, the courage, the bravery, the risk that women take to ensure that women have a voice and a seat at the table where big decisions are being made.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 58:19
Yep. I love this idea of being interactive in that way. And in the meantime, for our listeners today, please feel free to post your thoughts about today's documentary and discussion on Marsha's LinkedIn. And look for the post about today's episode, entitled "Power Movies: By One Vote". And please add your comments. So thank you, Tracy Gamble and Tracie Shipman, for joining us today. And thank you, listeners, for joining us on our journey of authentic, powerful leadership. Please continue to download, subscribe and share this podcast, not only with your women and men colleagues, but also with the next generation. This is some powerful history that we're discussing, so with your daughters, your nieces, your nephews, the next generation. So, Marsha, close us out.
Marsha Clark 59:54
Yeah, so again, we can't take these things for granted. Freedom didn't just come, like you said, overnight or in a single vote. It was 70 years in the making. We're now 104 years past, you know, coming up in August, when women, when the 19th amendment was ratified. And we've got, we've got to do the work. We have to stay vigilant in that regard. So ladies, thank you very much for sticking with us. And hopefully we've given you a little history lesson about yourselves and the lineage from which you come. Because it could be your mother or your grandmother and if you have an opportunity to have a conversation with a woman who lived through these times. I loved it when I had the conversation with my mother and how just really moving it was for her to think about, you know, on the eve of her first birthday is when the 19th Amendment was ratified and then having conversations with, you know, the young women in my life as well. So please go do that, and we do have more power when "women are supporting women!"
Transcribed by https://otter.ai