Storytelling Archive: Patrick Charles

Women Leading the Way



Patrick Charles

Patrick Charles

Lycée Français de New York | New York, NY

To research the lives of suffrage campaigners coming from different horizons, to wonder about the values that they express, that was the work it entailed for my Fifth grade students. In addition to exploring the radical activism of the suffragettes, learning how to treat and appropriate the research material conducted in class or at the sumptuous New York Public Library, a writing project was set up with the question: “Who is the woman in your family or in your life that you would like to pay homage to, and why?”

My students solicited, telephoned, and interviewed a grandmother, a mother, a great-aunt, or a great-grandmother. Many of them lived far away in the Middle East, in Africa or Europe. What a pleasure to read all these diverse and varied testimonials, to discover the different cultural backgrounds, and forge a stronger bond with my students through their stories.

ANNA | 5th Grade

 BELVA ANN LOCKWOOD  /  AUNT TANJA

In Croatia, after the war, women earned the right to vote. But it didn’t mean anything because now it was a communist country. So there was only one candidate. VIEW PDF +

PAUL | 5th Grade

 ADELA PANKHURST  /  MARIE-JOSEPH

At that time the 28th president of the United States was Woodrow Wilson. He was elected in 1913. In 1923, my great-grandmother voted for her first time. VIEW PDF +

CAROLINE | 5th Grade

 TERESA BILLINGTON-GREIG  /  AMELIA

Amelia’s mother never voted, but she thought that women needed the same rights as men. Like her mother, Amelia thought that it was really important that women should have the right to vote. VIEW PDF +

VALENTINE | 5th Grade

 MARY ELIZABETH WINDEYER  /  MAMILI

She was never told not to vote; on the contrary, her parents always encouraged her by showing her that it was a civic duty. VIEW PDF +

JACOB | 5th Grade

 HENRIETTA DUGDALE  /  ILEEN

My grandmother Ileen remembers that her Mom always said every time she voted that she felt strong because she believed that voting, not only for women but for everyone, is a privilege. VIEW PDF +

JOSEPHINE | 5th Grade

 HARRIET TUBMAN  /  HUNTER

She often stayed home while her brother was playing in the woods. Back then, people said girls were more fragile than boys, so they said they should stay home. VIEW PDF +

ANGELICA | 5th Grade

 ALICE HENRY  /  MAMIE

When her mother, my great grandmother, was small, there was a war in Armenia, so she left her house and walked all the way to Lyon, in France, as many other Armenians had to do. VIEW PDF +

ALEXANDER | 5th Grade

 JESSIE BOUCHERETT  /  EUDORA

Her mother would buy feminine toys for the girls such as dolls, tea services and painting kits; for the boy, there were masculine toys such as cars, baseball mitts and toy pistols. VIEW PDF +

VIOLETTE | 5th Grade

 LILIAN LENTON  /  SIMONE

She voted for the first time in 1947 when she was 21 years old because it was her civic duty. Her parents told her that she had to vote. She did it without enthusiasm; in fact she thought at that time that it was interesting only for men. VIEW PDF +

THEOPHILE | 5th Grade

 EMILY STOWE  /  PIERRETTE

As far as my grandmother Pierrette is concerned, the first time she voted was in 1962. She says that it was the General de Gaulle who made her want to vote. VIEW PDF +

LEONARD | 5th Grade

 HEDWIG DOHM  /  AMANI

I had just given birth to my first son (uncle Steph). I asked to be allowed to go and vote. I left my bed, someone accompanied me by car to the voting office and I returned to my baby afterwards.… VIEW PDF +

MANUELLA | 5th Grade

 VIDA GOLDSTEIN  /  MAMITA

At 17 years of age, she lost her mom and dad, and she had to take care of her brothers and sisters with the little money that her mom gave her. VIEW PDF +

AXELLE | 5th Grade

 MARIA DESRAISMES  /  CHRISTINE

She grew up thinking that voting is a very important act for the country’s future and that women play an important role in politics and the voting process. VIEW PDF +

MAEL-SANH | 5th Grade

 ANNA SHABANOVA  /  HAI THI

She was born in 1934, in Hue, the old imperial capital of Vietnam that I have never visited. She was the granddaughter of a powerful mandarin and the oldest in a big family. VIEW PDF +

RACHEL | 5th Grade

 ALEXANDRA KOLLONTAÏ  /  ARLETTE

The general Charles De Gaulle was the president. In that period, there was a revolt in Algeria that became a war. My grandmother fought like a suffragette to stop this war. VIEW PDF +

JULES-HENRI | 5th Grade

 CAROLINE CHISHOLM  /  LOUISE-MARIE

My grandmother voted for the first time in 1962, at the age of 21. She thought that the right to vote for women allows women to express themselves and to show that women exist. VIEW PDF +

SOFIA | 5th Grade

 CATHERINE HELEN SPENCE  /  PILAR

She wasn’t very interested in politics, probably because of her young age. It was a referendum where they asked people their opinion about the restoration of a monarchy in Spain. VIEW PDF +

MARWAN | 5th Grade

 ELEANOR RATHBONE  /  A DETERMINED WOMAN

Her older brother went to study in the United States, but unfortunately my grandmother did not go to the university because the tradition was not to allow higher education for girls. VIEW PDF +

IGA | 5th Grade

 LOUISA LAWSON  /  MARIA

After the Second World War, Poland was forced to accept the communist regime. Luckily, the political situation did change, in 1980, with the election of the first independent and democratic president, Lech Walesa. VIEW PDF +

DIEGO | 5th Grade

 EMILY GREENE BALCH  /  MY GREAT-GRANDMOTHER

When in Mexico, my great grandmother was really angry when she was informed that in Mexico, there weren’t any rights to vote. So she had to fight twice to be able to have the voting rights, once in Mexico and the second time in Spain. VIEW PDF +

VANCE | 5th Grade

 EVA PERON  /  MARIA

Her dad even encouraged her to vote and told her it was an honor to vote in a real election. It turns out that, once, her friend did not want to vote but the police forced her to vote because you had to vote in Poland then. VIEW PDF +