DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!
Nov 2 2015

The Know-It-All Gets Schooled

by Hope L

KIAI’m sure you’re wondering: What can DCPL’s Know-It-All library card do for someone like me, a dyed-in-the-wool Know-It-All if there ever was one?  Through the end of the year, DCPL is running its Proud Card-Carrying Know-It-All campaign to encourage DeKalb residents to get a library card.

Now, I ask you, why do I need a library card? After all, I’ve already claimed to know it all. What else could I possibly learn?

Plenty, I have discovered. There is still SO much to know, to learn, and to enjoy. Or to rant about!

Why, I just discovered Marlene Targ Brill’s book Let Women Vote! at DCPL and learned about Carrie Chapman Catt, a leader of this country’s suffragist movement.  (Note the insistent exclamation point at the end of that book’s title!)womenvote

Catt marshaled the forces in Tennessee in July 1920 in the final fight in the struggle for women’s suffrage–the right to vote.

Thirty-five states had already approved the amendment, which said: The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged (limited) by the United States or by any state on account of sex.

“Catt packed a small overnight bag at once. She expected to stay in Nashville only a few days, long enough to prove that the women worried needlessly. After she arrived, however, Catt changed her mind. Men and women who opposed the vote had flooded into Nashville. The size and strength of groups against woman suffrage shocked her. Catt quickly sent home for more clothes. For the next six weeks she fought one of the toughest battles in the seventy-two-year-long suffrage war.”

And just consider what I heard on NPR and researched online at DCPL recently: Suffrajitsu and Mrs. Pankhurst’s Amazons!

Suffrajitsu came about when the powers that be in the British women’s suffrage movement got tired of violent threats, being spat on, and frankly, being beaten up by those who were against their cause. (Or, like the famous line from that classic media/journalism movie Network: “I’m mad as he** and I’m NOT going to take this anymore!” Yessiree, Ms. Know-It-All remembers Peter Finch got an Oscar for that role.)

HippolytaAnd then there’s this from the juvenile fiction book by Jane Yolen and Robert J. Harris, Hippolyta and the Curse of the Amazons, available at DCPL:

“Hippolyta is a true Amazon princess:  Her heart beats for the thrill of the hunt, the rush of her daily battle training, and the abiding community of her fellow female warriors. She would do anything to protect the secure, empowering life the Amazons have built. But when her entire world is threatened, will this thirteen-year-old warrior be able to save it?

“Battling against time, fighting against incredible odds and even the gods themselves, Hippolyta will have to do the unthinkable to save the legendary race of female warriors:  accept the help and love of a boy. And as she journeys to her nation’s mythical homeland of Arimaspa in search of salvation, Hippolyta finally learns what it really means to be an Amazon: finding the courage to face your fears and overcome them in order to change the world.”

Well, Hippolyta may have needed to accept the help and love of a boy, but the Suffrajitsu Amazons did not. Okay, the suffragettes did have husbands and other enlightened men assisting in their battle to be able to vote. But, there were many more men who were dead set against it! Now, they could’ve called a few he-men in to do the job, but no, this called for the Suffrajitsu and the Amazons–sturdy women who would protect the suffragettes in their travels, protests and skirmishes. (Ms. Know-It-All wonders if she could have made the cut as a sturdy Suffragette?! But alas, we shall never know that.)

suffWhy, I even learned that Britain’s Mrs. Emmeline Pankhurst, a suffragette, was named by Time Magazine in 1999 as “One of the 100 Most Important People of the 20th Century.”

(Meryl Streep, Ms. Know-It-All’s favorite actress, plays Mrs. Pankhurst in the female-produced, directed and written film Suffragette, starring Carey Mulligan, which just opened at the end of October.)

Protests, marches, imprisonment and hunger strikes were some of Mrs. Pankhurst’s tactics. But, when she began getting roughed up, she began evading police by using disguises. Eventually the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU, started in 1903 by Pankhurst and her colleagues) established a jujitsu-trained female bodyguard squad to physically protect her.

Now that I’m a card-carrying Know-It-All because of my free, official DCPL library card in my wallet, I’m like the Suffrajitsu, except I’m ready to fight back with the facts instead of fists! You can bet that I won’t leave home without it!

And, by the way… What’s in YOUR wallet?

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