Music As Memory: The 19th Amendment, Schoolhouse Rock Song for Suffrage

TPOHStaff

Music has long been used as a learning tool, whether as hymnals or nursery rhymes, but one of the most entertaining and engaging methods of employing music for memory is through the work of Schoolhouse Rock, which taught an entire generation about American history.

And what better way to celebrate suffrage and the women’s vote than to rock this jam?

On this day in history, 1920, the 19th Amendment, guaranteeing women the right to vote, was adopted into the U.S. Constitution by proclamation of Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby. The battle for women’s rights has a long history, led by such memorable women like Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott, Susan B. Anthony, and Sojourner Truth, among others, as well as many men without whom the amendment would never have happened.

It took more than 70 years and a world war for the Suffragette movement to result in the 19th Amendment, but here’s the short version, courtesy of Essra Mohawk and the Schoolhouse Rock gang.

Maybe the tune will stick in your head, like an ear worm, and you’ll remember a couple of these memorable history makers.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T99V6s25J94

Lyrics for the Schoolhouse Rock song, for those who learn better through reading comprehension.

Now you have heard of Women’s Rights,
And how we’ve tried to reach new heights.
If we’re “all created equal”…
That’s us too!

(Yeah!)

But you will proba … bly not recall
That it’s not been too … too long at all,
Since we even had the right to
Cast a vote.

(Well!)

Well, sure, some men bowed down and called us “Mrs.” (Yeah!)
Let us hang the wash out and wash the dishes, (Huh!)
But when the time rolled around to elect a president…

What did they say, Sister, (What did they say?)

They said, uh, “See ya later, alligator,
And don’t forget my … my mashed potatoes,
‘Cause I’m going downtown to cast my vote for president.”

Oh, we were suffering until suffrage,
Not a woman here could vote, no matter what age,
Then the 19th Amendment struck down that restrictive rule. (Oh yeah!)

And now we pull down on the lever,
Cast our ballots and we endeavor
To improve our country, state, county, town, and school.

(Tell ’em ’bout it!)

Those pilgrim women who …
Who braved the boat
Could cook the turkey, but they …
They could not vote.
Even Betsy Ross who sewed the flag was left behind that first election day.

(What a shame, Sisters!)

Then Susan B. Anthony (Yeah!) and Julia Howe,
(Lucretia!) Lucretia Mott, (and others!) they showed us how;
They carried signs and marched in lines
Until at long last the law was passed.

Oh, we were suffering until suffrage,
Not a woman here could vote, no matter what age,
Then the 19th Amendment struck down that restrictive rule. (Oh yeah!)

And now we pull down on the lever,
Cast our ballots and we endeavor
To improve our country, state, county, town, and school. (Right On! Right On!)

Yes the 19th Amendment
Struck down that restrictive rule. (Right On! Right On!)

Yes the 19th Amendment
Struck down that restrictive rule.
(Yeah, yeah!
Yeah, yeah!
Right on!
We got it now!)

Since 1920…
Sisters, unite!
Vote on!

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