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NYS Resolution Honors Women's Suffrage Wagon

Courtesy of Votes For Women 2020

An elected official in the Hudson Valley is behind a movement to put New York front and center of the women’s suffrage centennial in 2020. For starters, she has worked to ensure that New York has a new day to commemorate, in just a few weeks.

The state Senate and Assembly Tuesday adopted a resolution, calling on the governor to proclaim July 1 this year as the “Spirit of 1776” Wagon Day in the State of New York. Here’s Susan Zimet, founder of Votes for Women 2020, the non-profit organization planning suffrage centennial events in 2017 and 2020.  

There was a press conference Wednesday morning in Albany about the resolution, for which Democratic Assembly member Didi Barrett of the Hudson Valley voted in support.

Susan Zimet, who is also the Town of New Paltz supervisor, delivered the resolution to Albany. It recognizes July 1, 2013 as 100 years since the wagon’s maiden voyage. She says the resolution makes the connection among economic development, tourism and the upcoming Votes for Women suffrage centennial for New York State in 2017 and the national suffrage centennial in 2020.

Zimet wants to see New York develop a tourism route spotlighting women’s rights.

Assembly member Barrett, who represents portions of Columbia and Dutchess Counties says she is excited about the idea of such a trail. She says there certainly is an opportunity for economic development built around heritage and cultural tourism.

Meanwhile, Zimet is also thinking about how to ensure that historical houses have the funding to operate. She points out that capital improvements are often afforded through grants and such, but operational costs are a different story, and she has an idea.

Seneca Falls is the site of the first Women’s Rights Convention; Rochester, the home of women’s rights activist Susan B. Anthony; and the Hudson Valley? One connection comes in the person of Lucretia Mott, abolitionist and women’s rights activist, who attended a Quaker school in Millbrook, in Dutchess County. The story is that she became a teacher there, and her interest in women’s rights burgeoned after learning that male teachers at the school earned three times as much as female teachers.

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