Girl Scout Troop 2663
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The Time is NOW to Honor NYC’s Black Women Suffragists
As we honor the centenary of the 19th Amendment giving most women the right to vote, it is time to commemorate the leaders who founded the first Black Women’s Suffrage club. This amazing group of women are an essential part of America’s Civil Rights tradition. It is time to build the Sisters In Freedom Monument. In 2020, Ida B. Wells was finally recognized with a Pulitzer Prize for her 1890s writings about lynching. But there was a group of women in Brooklyn and around NYC that recognized her work 130 years ago and gave her the financial, moral and organizational support she needed to continue. After the offices of Ida B. Wells were burnt down and her best friend lynched in 1892 these women sprang to action. They organized a fundraiser for her and consequently she moved to Gold Street in Downtown Brooklyn, where she could be surrounded by these visionaries. She even debated one, Maritcha Lyons—and lost. But instead of becoming enemies, they learned from each other. It is through this spirit of cooperation that they founded, led, and supported countless organizations. Sarah Smith Garnet not only co-founded the first Black Woman’s suffrage club, she was also New York’s first Black Woman principal. She held this job for 37 years and was an educator for 55 years. Victoria Earle Matthews was a national leader for her work co-founding the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs, and she also founded the White Rose Mission, an institution that continues to support New Yorkers to this day. Dr. Susan Smith McKinney, the sister of Sarah Smith Garnet, was the first Black Woman doctor in New York, was an organist at Bridge Street AME Church for decades, and was instrumental in leading several medical institutions. New York City has a legal obligation to build a monument at Abolitionist Place Park (also known as Willoughby Square Park) in Downtown Brooklyn, a half block from Ida B. Wells’ home. Our City signed a binding contract for $1,000,000 yet has done nothing. Inaction is no longer acceptable. It is time to spend the money that the City allocated over a decade ago. It is time to build the Sisters In Freedom Monument. We need to show that we respect the work of these women with a monument that lives up to their commitment to education, Civil Rights and the highest ideals of humanity. ~ ~ ~ More info via PBS here and check out and be sure to check out the PSA video Troop 2663 created with help from Nathan Thompson.