(Virtual) Suffrage Song: The Haunted History of Gender, Race and Voting Rights in the U.S.

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Join us for what is going to be a fascinating conversation with author Caitlin Cass on her book Suffrage Song: The Haunted History of Gender, Race and Voting Rights in the U.S. Part graphic novel, part map of the suffrage movement, this book tells the story of the fight for the right to vote by women from the very beginning.


Questions? Contact Kerry: keodonnell@somervillema.gov

RECORDING NOTE: This program will be recorded. All registrants will receive the recording via email within 48 hours of the program.

About the Book:

“She put in her work, but there’s so much left to do.” Begun in the Antebellum era, the song of suffrage was a rallying cry across the nation that would persist over a century. Capturing the spirit of this refrain, New Yorker contributing cartoonist Caitlin Cass pens a sweeping history of women’s suffrage in the U.S. — a kaleidoscopic story akin to a triumphant and mournful protest song that spans decades and echoes into the present.

In Suffrage Song, Cass takes a critical, intersectional approach to the movement’s history — celebrating the pivotal, hard-fought battles for voting rights while also laying bare the racist compromises suffrage leaders made along the way. She explores the multigenerational arc of the movement, humanizing key historical figures from the early days of the suffrage fight (Susan B. Anthony, Frances Watkins Harper), to the dawn of the “New Women” (Alice Paul, Mary Church Terrell), to the Civil Rights era (Fannie Lou Hamer, Ella Baker). Additionally, this book sheds light on less chronicled figures such as Zitkala-Ša and Mabel Ping Hua-Lee, whose stories reveal the complex racial dynamics that haunt this history.

The interiors include 4 foldouts, most notably a 4-page map detailing where women could vote in the US in 1919, leading up to the ratification of the 19th Amendment. Impeccably researched and rendered in an engaging and accessible comics style, Suffrage Song is sure to spark discussion on the vital issue of voting rights that continues to resonate today.

About The Author: 

Caitlin Cass makes comics, cartoons and art installations about failing systems and irrational hope. Story by story she is building her own canon in a doomed effort to understand the dismal state of the world.

For the past 12 years Caitlin has published a bimonthly comic periodical under the moniker The “Great” Moments in Western Civilization Postal Constituent. Her cartoons and comics have appeared in The New Yorker, The Lily and The Nib. Caitlin was a 2018 NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellow in Fiction. Her 2020 solo exhibition Women’s Work was awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. 

Caitlin’s graphic history Suffrage Song will come out with Fantagraphics Books in June 2024. 

Originally from River Forest, IL, Caitlin spent 11 years in Buffalo, NY and recently moved west to teach as Assistant Professor of Studio Art, Illustration and Time-Based Media at the University of Nebraska Omaha.  

This program is presented in partnership with the Ashland Public Library and other MA libraries.

Registration will remain open until the program start time. When you register for this event, you'll receive an email confirmation with the Zoom link sent from the Ashland Public Library. Please make sure to check your spam folder if you don't see it initially. 

Start Time: 
7:00 PM
End Time: 
8:00 PM

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