Daily Update: Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

07-19 - Seneca Falls Convention and 2016 Republican National Convention

We have no Saints to honor, but on this date in 1848 the two day Women’s Rights Convention opened in Seneca Falls, New York. And the Republican National Convention for 2016 continues in Cleveland, Ohio.

In 1840, at the urging of abolitionist and journalist William Lloyd Garrison and abolitionist Wendell Phillips, Lucretia Coffin Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton traveled with their husbands and a dozen other American male and female abolitionists to London for the first World’s Anti-Slavery Convention, with the expectation that a motion put forward by Phillips to include women’s participation in the convention would be controversial but would eventually be agreed to. In London, the proposal was rebuffed after a full day of debate; the women were allowed to listen from the gallery but not allowed to speak or vote. Mott and Stanton became friends in London and on the return voyage together planned to organize their own convention to further the cause of women’s rights, separate from abolition concerns. Mott was a Philadelphia Quaker famous for her speaking ability, a skill rarely cultivated by American women at the time, and Stanton, living in Seneca Falls, was a skeptical non-Quaker who followed logic more than religion. The local women, primarily members of a radical Quaker group, organized the 1848 Convention in Seneca Falls; the meeting spanned two days and six sessions, and included a lecture on law, a humorous presentation, and multiple discussions about the role of women in society. (Despite reports that women’s trousers, later dubbed “bloomers”, made their debut at the Convention, bloomers did not in fact appear until the next year.) Stanton and the Quaker women presented two prepared documents, the Declaration of Sentiments and an accompanying list of resolutions, to be debated and modified before being put forward for signatures. A vigorous discussion sprang up regarding women’s right to vote, with many including Mott urging the removal of this concept, but Frederick Douglass argued eloquently for its inclusion, and the suffrage resolution was retained. Exactly 100 of approximately 300 attendees signed the document, mostly women. During and after the Convention, newspaper coverage was mixed between admiration and scorn; and while no ministers of local congregations spoke out while at the Convention, even after being invited to speak, many who had attended, and more who had not, attacked the Convention, the Declaration of Sentiments, and the resolutions from their pulpits on the next Sunday, July 23rd. Women in the congregations reported these developments to Stanton, who saw the actions of the ministers as cowardly; in their congregations, no one would be allowed to reply. The convention was seen by some of its contemporaries, including featured speaker Mott, as but a single step in the continuing effort by women to gain for themselves a greater proportion of social, civil and moral rights, but it was viewed by others as a revolutionary beginning to the struggle by women for complete equality with men. By 1851, when another convention was organized, called the National Women’s Rights Convention, in Worcester, Massachusetts, the issue of women’s right to vote had become a central tenet of the United States women’s rights movement. These conventions became annual events until the outbreak of the American Civil War in 1861. Stanton published the History of Woman Suffrage between 1881 and 1922 which identified the Seneca Falls Convention as the start of the push for women’s suffrage in the United States. Of the 68 women who signed the Declaration of Sentiments, only Charlotte Woodward was still alive in 1920 when the Nineteenth Amendment passed, giving women the right to vote; she was ill on Election Day, 1920, and died the next year at the age of 91, never having voted. And the Republican National Convention for 2016 continues at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Today’s session opens at 5:30 pm, with the Role Call of States, where the names of presumptive candidates are officially placed into nomination.

I did my Book Devotional Reading, and drove myself to work about ten minutes ahead of Richard. Once at the casino, I did my Internet Devotional Reading, and signed the Early Out list. Once we clocked in, Richard was the Relief Dealer for a Blackjack table, Mini Baccarat, and Pai Gow, and I was the Relief Dealer for Mississippi Stud, Three Card Poker, and Let It Ride. I got out at 6:00 am, and on my way home I stopped at Valero and gassed up my car. I got home at 7:00 am and started my laundry; I tried to take a nap, but I could not get to sleep, so I got up and finished my laundry and ironed my Casino pants, apron, and shirts. I then sent a text to Michelle letting her know that I had gotten out early, and that she could come by to pick up the car. At 11:30 am I ate my lunch salad and read the morning paper; Richard came home, and started mowing the lawn.

Leaving the house at 12:30 pm, my first stop in Lafayette was at the RaceTrac on Ambassador Caffrey, where I purchased my Powerball and Louisiana Lotto lottery tickets for Wednesday night’s drawing. I also called Nedra, to wish her a happy belated birthday, but the call went to voice mail. At 2:00 pm I arrived at Barnes and Noble; once I was in one of the comfy chairs, I read the August 2016 issue of Consumer Reports, read the July 18th, 2016 issue of Sports Illustrated, and finished reading the July / August 2016 issue of The Bible Today. The Full Moon arrived at 6:00 pm. I then attended the Third Tuesday Book Club meeting to discuss The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri; we had a good meeting, talking about mothers and sons, and about violence never being the answer to anything. After my Book Club Meeting I went to the Lafayette Public Library – Southside Branch, where I returned The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri. On my way home I got a late dinner via the drive through at McDonald’s in Rayne. I arrived home at 9:30 pm; Michelle’s car was out front, my car was gone (taken by the kids to New Orleans for the concert), and Richard had already gone to bed. And once I finish this Daily Update I will join him in bed.

Tomorrow is the Optional Memorial of Saint Apollinaris, Bishop and Martyr (died c. 79), the anniversary of the 1969 Apollo 11 moon landing, and the Republican National Convention for 2016 continues at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio It is also the birthday of Matthew (married to Sheila, known as Chi-Chi), one of the Assembled (at one point we had three Matthews, including my own son, hanging out in the back part of the garage) (1983). I will do the Weekly Computer Maintenance, and other than that, I do not have much scheduled for tomorrow.

Our Parting Quote this Tuesday evening comes to us from Sylvia Woods, American restaurateur. Born as Sylvia Pressley in 1926 in Hemingway, South Carolina, her father died when she was three days old from complications of injuries he received during combat in World War I. In 1930 Sylvia’s mother took the rest of her family to New York when so she could better provide for her family, leaving her own mother, Sylvia Johnson, to raise three year old Sylvia (her namesake). As a girl she let a pot of rice burn on the stove while she ran out to play; she was punished, not for burning the rice, but for lying about how the rice got burnt. She met Herbert Woods in a bean field when she was 11 and he was 12. After high school graduation in Hemingway in 1944, she left to join her mother in New York; Woods followed her, and they were married. She also worked in a hat factory, and as a waitress at a restaurant called Johnson’s Luncheonette in Harlem from 1954 to 1962 (due to growing up in the Jim Crow South, this was the first restaurant she had ever been in). When the owner wanted to sell, he offered the place to Woods and her husband for $20,000. With help from her mother, who mortgaged the family farm, she bought the restaurant, renamed it Sylvia’s Restaurant, and opened up for business on August 1, 1962, with six booths and 15 stools at Lenox Avenue near 127th Street, offering soul-food staples like ribs, hot cakes, corn bread and fried chicken. In the 1980s Gael Greene, the food critic of New York magazine, wrote a laudatory article on Sylvia’s, sealing the restaurant’s success. The immense popularity of its dishes earned Ms. Woods the sobriquet the Queen of Soul Food over the next several decades. A culinary anchor and the de facto social center of Harlem, Sylvia’s has served the likes of Roberta Flack, Quincy Jones, Diana Ross, Muhammad Ali, Bill Clinton, Jack Kemp, Robert F. Kennedy, and Mayors Edward I. Koch, David N. Dinkins (who was partial to the chicken, candied yams, collard greens and black-eyed peas with rice), and Michael R. Bloomberg, and President Barack Obama. Busloads of tourists from as far away as Japan routinely descended on the place, and Spike Lee used the restaurant as a location for his 1991 film Jungle Fever. During the early 1990s the business expanded to seat up to 450 people, and also went into catering. Organized and started by her son Van Woods in 1992, she came out with her own line of soul food products sold nationally. Woods’ products included many of her special sauces, vegetables, spices, syrup, and cornbread and pancake mixes. Woods produced two cookbooks: Sylvia’s Soul Food Cookbook, published in 1992, and Sylvia’s Family Soul Food Cookbook, published in 1999, both by William Morrow and Company. Her husband died in 2001, and she retired at the age of 80 and would still work behind the cash register from time to time.  Her death came a few hours before she was to receive an award from Mayor Bloomberg at a reception at Gracie Mansion commemorating the 50th anniversary of Sylvia’s Restaurant. There was a moment of silence before the award presentation, and a family friend accepted it on her behalf (died 2012): “I know I had to make it or else my mama was gonna lose her farm. So I gave it all that I had to give.”

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