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Suffrage100MA

Founded in 2010, Suffrage100MA was originally formed to commemorate the 90th anniversary of women receiving the right to vote. So the organization has had a lot of time to plan for this month’s big event: the 100th anniversary of woman’s suffrage in America.

Suffrage100MA is committed to telling the story of the remarkable achievements of the suffragists, including the tireless work and essential contributions of women of color, who were often intentionally excluded by white women’s suffrage organizations, and whose role in the suffrage movement has been largely overlooked.

The website is an amazing resource that offers a monthly newsletter, delivered directly to your inbox. There is a woman’s suffrage centennial toolkit and featured suffragists that you can explore.

There’s a special section on Black suffragists of Massachusetts featuring Cambridge’s Maria L. Baldwin, along side with Sojourner Truth, and Josephine St Pierre Ruffin.

Lastly, mark your calendars for a virtual commemoration on August 24th with speakers Senator Elizabeth Warren and Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley. More information to follow.

The Cambridge Historical Society recently launched a project to collect the stories of individual Cantabrigians and their response to the COVID-19 crisis. This is what we in the archives business call collective memory. Here’s what the project entails:

The ongoing public health crisis is affecting the lives of people all over the world, including Cantabrigians. We want to know how you have been affected, so we’ve created the Cambridge & COVID-19 Collection. If you’re a resident of Cambridge, consider this a chance to add your voice to the historical record. Please take a few minutes to tell us about how you’re coping with crisis.

Complete the questionnaire here.

For more information on the project, visit the Cambridge Historical Society’s website here.

The Cambridge Public Library’s Archives and Special Collections has a widely used and very popular online collection of the Library’s collection of Cambridge newspapers, published between 1946 and 2015. These papers have been made freely available to anyone with an internet connection.

So what happens to our shared cultural heritage when for profit companies like newspapers.com, put these newspapers behind a paywall?

Read this short, great article by Michael Peever, of the Colorado Historic Newspaper Collection, titled CHNC and the Online Historic Newspaper Landscape, to learn about the current issues surrounding online historic newspapers and what you can do as a researcher to support cultural heritage institutions.

Did you receive the Cambridge Chronicle during the shutdown?
Unfortunately, the Library didn’t.  We microfilm and digitize the Cambridge Chronicle annually so that we can make the City’s newspaper of record available to anyone in perpetuity.

We are looking for the following issues:

March 19
April 2
April 9
April 16
April 23
April 30
May 7
May 14
May 21
May 28
June 4
June 11
June 18
July 9

Please help us preserve Cambridge’s newspaper of record!  Without your help much of the city’s history for 2020 may be lost.  E-mail cplresearch@cambridgema.gov.

Our streets come alive through poetry. If you’re looking for inspiration in Cambridge, you might want to look down. There are 20 poems by Cambridge residents imprinted in our sidewalks! Since 2015, Cambridge’s annual Sidewalk Poetry Contest has invited residents to submit poetry for the chance to get their words stamped in concrete as part of the city’s sidewalk repair program. The collaborative project from Cambridge’s Department of Public Works, Cambridge Arts, and the Cambridge Public Library uses the city’s regular infrastructure maintenance efforts to put poetry out into the world, in every neighborhood of our community. An average of 150 poems are submitted from people ages 3 to 95 each year and five winners are selected and stamped throughout city. (The 2020 review committee is presently examining this year’s poems.) Winning poems have spoken about hibernating mice and voles, a spring thaw, scullers on the river, the songs of birds, memories stirred by passing an old lover’s address.  This is just a little example of the cultural richness we love in Cambridge. Find all our city’s sidewalk poetry on this interactive map.

CPL’s Archivist Alyssa Pacy was recently invited by artist and activist Lori Lander to discuss race in Cambridge during Lander’s breakfast gatherings- weekly conversations on pressing local and national issues. Alyssa discusses racial bias in archives in general and the work she is doing at the CPL to remedy it by highlighting recently donated collections from Cambridge’s African American Community. See footage of her discussion with public historian Diana Lempel here!

Celebrated American author James Baldwin would have turned 96 yesterday. In honor of his birthday, we’re posting these amazing photographs of the Cambridge Rindge and Latin (CRLS) Black Student Union meeting Baldwin at Northeaster University’s African American Center in 1986. Baldwin, pictured in the center, died the following year.

These photographs are from the Caroline Hunter Papers. Hunter, a life long activist and retired CRLS math teacher and assistant principal, donated her papers to the Cambridge Public Library in 2019. We are working diligently to make them available to the public.

Former President Barack Obama hugs Congressman John Lewis during a 2015 event to commemorate Bloody Sunday in Selma, Alabama. Photo: Official White House Photo by Pete Souza.

With Civil Rights Activist and Congressman John Lewis on our minds lately, we decided to take a look through the Historic Cambridge Newspaper Collection to research the historic news coverage of Congressman Lewis in the Cambridge Chronicle.  Not only did Congressman Lewis visit Cambridge often, he was foremost in the thoughts of Cambridge’s citizens, as they publicly discussed major world events like the war in Kosovo or the Massachusetts Supreme Court recognition of same sex marriage. 

Here’s a timeline of the coverage.  (Please note:  To access newspaper articles, please register here.):

1995
Congressman John Lewis visits the John F. Kennedy School of Government to participate in a panel, titled “Can the Black-Jewish Coalition Be Effective in the New Congress?”  Congressman Lewis joined Representative Barney Frank, Representative Alcee Hastings, Leonard Zakim, Executive Director of the Anti-Defamation League of New England, and Randall Kennedy Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. 

1998
Congressman John Lewis keynotes the 5th Annual Team Harmony conference in which 12,000 teenagers from across New England (including CRLS students) get together to discuss and combat racism.  This article advertises the 1999 event but mentions Congressman Lewis’ past participation.

To promote his book, Walking with the Wind:  A Memoir of the Movement, Congressman Lewis visits the Kennedy School to give a lecture.  His message to the audience was, “Don’t become bitter.  Don’t become hostile.  Walk with the wind and let the spirit of history be your guide.”

Cambridge’s First Baptist Church partners with Oxfam America and City Year to host a “hunger banquet” to raise social consciousness about economic inequality.  The banquet followed a speech given by Congressman Lewis at City Year’s headquarters in Boston.

Reverend Jeffrey L. Brown, pastor of Cambridge’s Union Baptist Church, and Cambridge author Janice A. Pryor wrote an opinion piece after NATO bombed Kosovo and mistakenly killed civilians.  They asked readers to think about what is worth fighting for and what is worth dying for. They cite John Lewis as an example. 

2003
Congressman Lewis is Lesley University’s Commencement speaker.

2004
Quoted in a political advertisement in support of same sex marriage. Congressman Lewis explains, “Some say let’s choose another route and give gay folks some legal rights but call it something other than marriage. We have been down that road before in this country. Separate is not equal. The rights to liberty and happiness belong to each of us and on the same terms… Our rights as Americans do not depend on the approval of others. Our rights depend on US being Americans.” 

2007
Congressman Lewis receives an honorary degree from Cambridge College.

2015
Cambridge’s Reverend Irene Monroe cites Congressman Lewis in an article about Boston’s LGBTQ+ community’s viewing and discussion of Ava DuVernay’s film, Selma.

2018
Congressman Lewis is Harvard University’s Commencement Speaker.

Join us for a History Café on Monday, August 3, from 6:00-7:00 p.m. for The Pandemic Post: Youth in Cambridge Respond to COVID-19.

Over the last several months, the COVID-19 pandemic has turned all our worlds upside down. But what has this upheaval looked like for young people in Cambridge?

This spring, students at the Cambridge Rindge and Latin School created The Pandemic Post, an online newsletter in which they reflected on their experiences through art, poetry and prose.

During this conversation with CRLS students and faculty we will discuss their work on the project and reflect on their pandemic experiences and the vision they have for a post-COVID Cambridge.

Register here! Free and open to the public.

As you’re surely aware, August 26 is the centennial of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. And it comes during a pivotal election which may well hinge on the women’s vote. Ellen Goodman, Pulitzer-prize winning Boston Globe columnist, and Lynn Sherr, former ABC news correspondent, are co-hosting a new podcast called She Votes! telling the definitive story of the women’s suffrage movement with all its glory and shortcomings. You can listen to it here on Apple Podcasts or anywhere else you listen to podcasts.