New Jersey Gives Women the Vote

Lead: In its 1776 constitution, almost by accident, the state of New Jersey gave women the right to vote.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The New Jersey Constitution was a hastily assembled affair, put together under the pressure of wartime. Its only requirement for suffrage was a property requirement. The franchise was extended to all inhabitants who were worth £50 or more. This included women and, for that matter, free blacks who were able to muster the financial assets. This did not mean that women voted in large numbers at first. Few married women owned property independently from their husbands. That left prosperous single women and widows who were not in abundance.

 

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Molly Corbin, Revolutionary Soldier

Lead: During the Battle of Fort Washington in November, 1776 Molly Corbin fought the British as hard as any man.

Intro.: "A Moment in Time" with Dan Roberts.

Content: Margaret Corbin was a camp follower. At that time women were not allowed to join military units as combatants but most armies allowed a large number of women to accompany units on military campaigns. They performed tasks such as cleaning and cooking and due to their proximity to battle often got caught up in actual fighting. Mrs. Washington was a highly ranked camp follower. She often accompanied the General on his campaigns and was at his side during the dark winter of 1777 at Valley Forge. Many of these women were married, some were not and occasionally performing those rather dubious social duties associated with a large number of men alone far from home.

 

Eleanor Gwyn II

Lead:  In the aftermath of the puritan ascendency, in the 1660s England re-opened its theaters. There on the stage of King’s Theater on Drury Lane, acclaimed comedienne Eleanor “Nell” Gwyn auditioned for her greatest role.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: After nearly two decades of Puritan rule, the revival of English theater gave opportunity to actresses such as Nell Gwyn. By the age of 15, she had extracted herself from a dead job serving drinks at her mother's brothel and become England's most acclaimed comedienne. She captured the hearts of audiences and, eventually, that of the kingdom's most renowned theater lover, Charles Stuart, King of England.

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Eleanor Gwyn I

Lead: After nearly two decades of religious experimentation under the puritans, gradually, fitfully after 1660 the English began to loosen up. One giant step was that entertainment-deprived England reopened its theaters. This gave the big break to Eleanor Gwyn.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Cultural revival was the order of the day in the years following the restoration of King Charles II in 1660. Banished were the puritans and their attempt to rigidly enforce social behavior. Games could be played again on the Sabbath and the English could once again indulge in their love of the theater. Closed for twenty-three years, the theaters reopened with a splash -- elaborate costumes, intricate sets and for the first time, female performers. On April 8, 1663 the lights went up in Drury Lane at the King's Theatre. It would soon witness the emergence of one of England's favorites, Nelly Gywn.

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Mary Walker

Lead: Brilliant, stubborn, and independent, Mary Walker led the way in more ways than simple fashion.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: “Why don’t you wear proper clothing? That toggery is neither one thing nor the other!” General William Tecumseh Sherman to Mary Walker, who was the first woman to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. In her long life Mary Charles Walker rarely bent to society’s demands. She became one of the first women physicians in the U.S., served as an army combat surgeon, and was a life-long participant in the fight for women’s rights. Women need two things, she thought, the right to vote and the right to wear any clothes they desire. She was almost always wore trousers.

Rosie the Riveter

Lead: During World War II, women entered the work place in unprecedented numbers. Magazines, newspapers, radio and movies gave them a symbol: Rosie the Riveter.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: For generations American women had been told their place was in the home. If a man’s wife or daughter brought home a paycheck it was thought the man was somehow a failure. That had to change if the allies were going to meet the threat of Japan and Germany. World War II more than any before it was a battle of production. The Axis powers had a ten-year head start on producing weaponry and had increased their advantage with allied losses at Dunkirk and Pearl Harbor. Victory would go to the side which produced the most airplanes, battleships, guns and ammunition.

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Battle of the Sexes (Tennis) II

Lead: Drawn by rich prize money and the taunts of Bobby Riggs, Billie Jean King, the best woman’s tennis player at the time, agreed to a match, the so-called Battle of the Sexes.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: There was a record crowd, for tennis at least, in the Houston Astrodome on September 20, 1973. The television audience was said to exceed 48,000,000. His recent victory over tennis star, Margaret Court, and his arrogant confidence that he would emerge the victor over King, led Riggs and others who believed in him to place bets on the outcome. In part, King believed she could provoke a shift in attitudes toward women athletes if she were able to win. The event took on aspects of a publicity spectacle. King was carried to the court on a golden litter by four muscle-bound men. Riggs followed in a rickshaw pulled by Bobby’s Bosom Buddies, six amply endowed women in a grotesque display of misogyny.

Battle of the Sexes (Tennis) I

Lead: The 1973 tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs may have contributed significantly to the progress of women in sports and other parts of society.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: The 1960s and 1970s were decades of gains for women. The founding of the National Organization for Women, the steadily increasing influx of women into business and the professions, and the passage of Title VII in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX in 1972, demonstrated the incremental progress of women in the workforce, domestic life, and sports. Despite this evolution old sentiments die hard. These attitudes were especially strong in the arena of women’s sports. Many felt that women were inferior athletes, unable to compete at the level of their male counterparts.