A Crusading Suffragist Is Restored to Church Membership
To her many admirers, Elizabeth Bartlett Grannis was a humanitarian, social reformer and pioneering suffragist. To the First Church Disciples of Christ, which Grannis had attended faithfully for five decades, she was a “disturber of the peace.”
Translation: she didn’t think the pastor — a popular and successful rainmaker for the congregation — ought to be making unwanted advances on women. Or men. And Grannis further believed that a young girl whom she had informally adopted ought to be welcomed at Sunday worship. Unfortunately, the year was 1906. And the child was not only squirmy: she was black.
For these offenses, the congregation dismissed Grannis from its rolls after a trial conducted by church elders. Grannis scorned the inquiry as a “high-handed, star-chamber proceeding, illegal in every respect.” Until her death in 1926, however, she never stopped attending services, even though she was not formally a member of the church. (Public relations may have been in its infancy, but church leaders understood that physically barring an old woman from taking her place in a pew on Sundays would not create the best impression.)...
comments powered by Disqus
- Historians suggest ways California can integrate gay history into the school curriculum
- Now it’s Andrew Bacevich’s turn to do a MOOC
- Historian enlists Plato in campaign to win converts to an exciting way to teach history
- Teachers walkout in Colorado over AP history controversy and pay
- The Hong Kong events in historical perspective: An interview with Jeffrey Wasserstrom