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Nineteenth Amendment History is not always so long ago

#1 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2019-June-04, 09:57

Sometimes history shocks me when it shouldn't. Today is the 100th anniversary of the Senate approval of the Nineteenth Amendment. Ratification by the states was still more than a year away, August 1920. So what's shocking? My mother was born in June of 1899, so when my mother turned 21 women were still not allowed to vote.

I had never put these two dates, my mother's birth and the ratification, together before. It makes it seem like something of a recent event!. It is hard to imagine my adult mother being told that she is not allowed to vote!

Just a thought that hit me today.
Ken
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#2 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-June-04, 10:42

View Postkenberg, on 2019-June-04, 09:57, said:

Sometimes history shocks me when it shouldn't. Today is the 100th anniversary of the Senate approval of the Nineteenth Amendment. Ratification by the states was still more than a year away, August 1920. So what's shocking? My mother was born in June of 1899, so when my mother turned 21 women were still not allowed to vote.

I had never put these two dates, my mother's birth and the ratification, together before. It makes it seem like something of a recent event!. It is hard to imagine my adult mother being told that she is not allowed to vote!

Just a thought that hit me today.


I understand what you mean, Ken. I am still shocked to think that when John Kennedy was assassinated there was no Voting Rights Act.
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#3 User is offline   steve2005 

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Posted 2019-June-04, 10:47

Just as shocking most Native Americans (in USA and Canada) could not vote until the 1960's.
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#4 User is online   awm 

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Posted 2019-June-04, 12:35

I had a similar moment recently when I realized that both my parents were high school students in the segregated state of Maryland when desegregation happened. But when I asked them about this neither had any memory of it! White privilege at its finest I guess Im sure if they were black theyd have remembered!
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#5 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2019-June-05, 06:19

View Postawm, on 2019-June-04, 12:35, said:

I had a similar moment recently when I realized that both my parents were high school students in the segregated state of Maryland when desegregation happened. But when I asked them about this neither had any memory of it! White privilege at its finest I guess I'm sure if they were black they'd have remembered!


I can be oblivious, sometimes I think that I specialize in it. My post was more out of amusement than seriousness, but it can be useful to think of how we focus on some things but other things completely slip by us. I was 20 in 1959, and 1919 seemed long ago. And a 20 year old guy does not spend time thinking about his parents' life when they were 20. Now, at 80, 100 years ago seems like shortly before I was born. I could ask how it never occurred to me that my mother was an adult when women got the legal right to vote, but the fact is that it didn't.

As to segregation, I grew up in St.Paul Minnesota. We didn't have segregation. Uh huh. Sure. It might be true that some schools had both white students and black students but if so, I could not tell you which they were. There were two black girls that were students in my high school for a few weeks but then they left. Other than that, at both elementary school and high school, all of the students were white, or rather non-black. There was a Japanese kid at my high school, quarterback for the football team as I recall. I suppose I might have given this 30 seconds of thought, and maybe a couple of minutes of thought when the two black girls enrolled and then later when they were no longer coming, but that's about it. The school was white because white students came to it, end of my thinking. I did my adolescent share of questioning life and questioning authority, but asking why there were no black students in school was not part of that. I was more into asking why I had to read some stupid poetry by Shelley. Hail to thee blithe spirit. Whatever.

Tomorrow is the 75th anniversary of D-Day. I think I have "always" known that D-Day was June 6, 1944. Well, that happened when I was 5, the 19th amendment was 20 years before I was born. At least to a youngster, that makes a difference. I sort of knew what a flapper was, but I didn't care.

I don't have any great explanations for why we focus on some things and others totally slip by, my post was really just of something I found amusing. Maybe we should divide historical events into those that we easily recall and those that we try to recall because we agree that they are important so we suppose we should make the effort to remember them.
Ken
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#6 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-June-05, 12:34

View Postkenberg, on 2019-June-05, 06:19, said:

my post was really just of something I found amusing. Maybe we should divide historical events into those that we easily recall and those that we try to recall because we agree that they are important so we suppose we should make the effort to remember them.


I think I might write for many people on the forums as I express my personal delight when I open the website and see that you have posted.
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#7 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2019-June-05, 19:10

I think it's generally hard to imagine what life was like before something that's been true our whole lives. And it's also hard to imagine one's parents before they had that role. There are few people alive today who remember the days before women could vote, and imagining parents or grandparents who lived in those days is difficult.

I'm a 2nd/3rd generation American, I'm not sure if any of my ancestors were even in America before 1919.

#8 User is online   y66 

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Posted 2019-June-06, 08:58

View Postkenberg, on 2019-June-05, 06:19, said:

My post was more out of amusement than seriousness, but it can be useful to think of how we focus on some things but other things completely slip by us.

In the moment too, not just when thinking back over time.

Matt Yglesias tweeted this this morning:

Quote

When I was a kid I was of course fascinated by my grandfather’s stories of being a naval aviator during World War II.

Now that I’m old I wish I’d asked my other grandfather more about working in the Office of Price Administration.

Neither of my grandfathers were pilots or OPA employees. One owned a car dealership and one was a CPA. I'm visiting my grandkids next week. At some point I'll tell them stories about their ancestors. But not this year.
If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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