Campus News

Seeding a Symbol of Suffrage at SMCC; Daffodil Tribute

by Celina Simmons

As a symbol of new beginnings, the daffodil represents one of the biggest new beginnings US history has seen. Maine suffragists adopted this flower as their own symbol over 100 years ago and on November 5th, 1919, the state of Maine became the 19th state to ratify the 19th Amendment.

In homage to this history, the Maine Suffrage Centennial Collaborative (MSCC) reached out to SMCC with a blossoming opportunity. This group, built of diverse organizations, is asking us and many volunteers across the state to plant daffodils this November in commemoration as part of their “Daffodil Tribute.” Members of the Student Senate will be planting the bulbs on Campus within the following weeks. If you would like more information on how to get involved, feel free to reach out to me at celinamsimmons@smccme.edu.

Getting women the right to vote was one of the most successful political moments in history. Across the country, the movement consisted of parades, publicity stunts, and progressively became so drastic to the extent of hunger strikes leading to cruel force-feedings. The lengths to which these activists went created martyrs out of suffragists.

In the state of Maine, suffragists dealt with years of defeat against the all-male legislature at the time. But it wasn’t only men who were against this, women were as well. The anti-suffragists adopted the rose to be the symbol of their fight against this movement. 

In a Portland newspaper in 1915, a poem was published titled “The Jonquil and the Rose” – jonquil being used as another word for a daffodil. This was written by an anti-suffragists essentially talking down to the movement and, in response, a suffragist leader named Florence Brooks Whitehouse sent in her own “The Jonquil and the Rose (A Reply).”

Conveniently enough, Florence Brooks Whitehouse’s granddaughter, Anne Gass plays a major role as part of the MSCC. She is the author of a book called “Voting Down the Rose”, which is a direct quote from her grandmother’s response poem. The book thoroughly encapsulates her grandmother’s efforts in the suffrage movement where she was considered a “radical” for being a part of picketing in front of the White House.

For more information on the MSCC’s Daffodil Tribute, you can visit their website at www.mainesuffragecentennial.org or refer to the PSA posted in this Beacon to see how you can join the tribute!

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Categories: Campus News

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