Leaders of the organization presented a petition asking Congress to end the war and arrange for the withdrawal of U.S. troops. This march and Congressional lobbying effort was named the Jeannette Rankin Brigade, and Rankin lead the demonstration to the Capitol in January of 1968. This lesson plan introduces students to the Jeannette Rankin Brigade and provides an example of how women came together in the late 1960s to influence politics and foreign policy. Rankin is in the center, wearing glasses. But we lost it. Continuing her pacifist traditions, Rankin helped form the “Jeannette Rankin Brigade,” a collection of some five thousand feminists, pacifists, students and others opposed to the Vietnam War. Georgetown University holds true to traditions of academic excellence, religious customs and…clock tower mischief? Anti-War. For I think one good guiding speech at the crisis point which illustrated the real causes underlying the massive discontent and impotence felt in that room then, would have been worth ten dummies and three months of careful and elaborate planning. She died in 1973, at age 92. So that we came as a group not of appeal to Congress, but to appeal to women not to appeal to congress. On the day of the march, about 5,000 women gathered at Union Station and marched silently to the outside plaza. Rankin died in 1973 of natural causes. And now you must resist approaching Congress playing these same roles that are synonymous with powerlessness. But Ramparts just chuckled patted the little women on the cheeks published a few (out of context) and went on its more important radical business. The Brigade intended to march from Union Station along Louisiana Ave. to the Capitol, where they would demand Congress withdraw troops from Vietnam, make reparations to the Vietnamese, and “refuse the insatiable demands of the military industrial complex.” Their non-violent demonstration was inspired by the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi, which Rankin studied on her many trips to India. But some marchers were unhappy with the Brigade’s image of mourning wives and mothers. You have refused to hanky-wave boys off to war with admonitions to save the American Mom and Apple Pie. All Rights Hanging from the bier were such disposable items as S & H Green Stamps, curlers, garters, and hairspray. It is also an example of differences among women, especially differences of generational approaches to politics in this era. Despite all this discouragement and the small returns on all our labors, the Washington experience was not entirely wasted. Leaders of the organization presented a petition asking Congress to end the war and arrange for the withdrawal of U.S. troops. Now, the Jeannette Rankin Brigade was taking the first step into one of the most tumultuous years in American history. A blog about local history in Washington, D.C., suburban Maryland and northern Virginia. The Brigade was named for Jeanette Rankin, the first woman to be elected to Congress. The records include correspondence, minutes of the steering committee, press releases, petitions to Congress, and reports of the political and legal action workshops. Subject. And although the Brigade was the largest women’s march in Washington since 1913, the generation gaps between former suffragettes and young feminists were apparent. We found out where women, even the so called "women radicals" were really at. Shulamith Firestone analyzed the Brigade from a radical feminist point of view. After she lost a bid for a Senate seat in 1918, Rankin dedicated herself to activism. Not sure where to start reading? Today, a statue of Jeannette Rankin stands in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall, representing Montana. Reserved. From the founding of Vietnam Veterans against the War to the March on the Pentagon which drew 100,000 people, anti-Vietnam … The plaintiffs in this action are Jeannette Rankin Brigade, a coalition of women against the war in Vietnam, and 58 individual women. Although the Brigade leaders were willing to face arrest, they said it was more important to “attract women for whom it was a large enough step just to declare their feelings in public.”. She used many of the tactics she learned from Gandhi's work in a protest march of the Vietnam War in 1968, later called the Jeannette Rankin Brigade. A national protest in Rankin’s name was of no little significance even if many Americans didn’t remember her. A coalition of pacifists and feminists began fundraising and publicity efforts. This article is a radical feminist critique of that well intentioned, but ultimately frustrating effort. By the same token general coverage of such a large march was slight or nonexistent, handled by minor reporters who had to work or wring some human interest value or slight sexual titillation from the fact that a few younger women could be spotted at this dull and hennish hotel teaparty. This march was named after the first woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Today the Jeannette Rankin Peace Center in Missoula works to continue Rankin's efforts toward peace. Rankin continued to be a leader in the peace movement after retiring from politics, and in 1968, at the age of 87, led 5,000 women in the “Jeannette Rankin Brigade” at a Vietnam War demonstration in Washington, D.C. She died on May 18, 1973, at the age of 92. They alleged that King and Wilson had been coerced into giving peaceful speeches to appeal to “church women” in the march.. They slated the march for January 15, 1968, the first day of the new session of Congress. On January 15, 1968, at the age of 87, she led 5,000 women, calling themselves the “Jeannette Rankin Brigade,” to the foot of Capitol Hill to demonstrate opposition to the hostilities in Indochina. Her father was a rancher and businessman, and her mother was a school teacher. Rankin herself deemed the march a success because it “scared the military enough to make them tell Johnson not to run again.” As for Rankin’s run for Congress, her health kept her from pursuing a third term. There were several related pamphlets, including one written by Kathie Amatniek which elaborated on the following Progression: Finally, by way of a black-bordered invitation we "joyfully" invited many of the 5,000 women there to attend a burial that evening at Arlington "by torchlight" of Traditional Womanhood, "who passed with a sigh to her Great Reward this year of the Lord, 1968, after 3,000 years of bolstering the egos of Warmakers and aiding the cause of war...". Jeannette Rankin Brigade. The brigade was a coalition of women's groups united for a specific purpose: to confront Congress on its opening day, Jan. 15, 1968, with a strong show of female opposition to the Vietnam War. But where minor reporters failed, Ramparts succeeded. The aftereffects of the Rankin Brigade’s march, like many anti-Vietnam protests, were difficult to calculate. Jeannette Rankin's tireless fight for suffrage and peace was game-changing for women everywhere, and for all Americans. At age 87, pioneering suffragist Jeannette Rankin leads the march of approximately 5,000 women. She was one of seven children. The Jeannette Rankin Brigade (named in honor of the first woman to be elected to Congress) was a coalition of women's groups that demonstrated in Washington, D.C. on January 15, 1968 against the war in Vietnam. Rankin voted against US entrance into both WWI and WWII and was a well known feminist and peace activist. Fifty years ago, on January 15, 1968, the Jeannette Rankin Brigade, a coalition of women’s peace groups, organized an anti-war march in Washington, D.C. that would become the largest march by women since the Woman Suffrage Parade of 1913. Top image credit: Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. Streamers floated off it and we also carried large banners, such as "DON'T CRY: RESIST " Kathy Barrett of the Pageant Players, a New York street theater group, worked with others on simple but effective costumes for the funeral entourage. The protesters had a point: The Washington Post deemed the Brigade “peaceful and ladylike.” The petition’s dual emphasis on withdrawing from Vietnam and healing a “sick society at home” couched the Brigade’s demands in domestic language. During the Vietnam War, the Jeannette Rankin Brigade totaled 5,000 protesters in a march on Washington in January 1968. The years after her second term in Congress were full of learning the peace principles of Mohandas K. Gandhi. In addition to a speech written and delivered to the main body of the convention on Jan. 15, and reprinted below, we staged an actual funeral procession with a larger-than-life dummy on a transported bier, complete with feminine getup, blank face, blonde curls, and candle.
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