A Troublemaker With a GavelBreaking News
tags: Congress, womens history, Nancy Pelosi
A few dozen people gathered one early March evening at the National Museum of American History to celebrate the opening of a new exhibition marking the centennial of women’s suffrage.
Collected in the glass cases are the artifacts of a long, arduous road to political empowerment:
A red silk shawl worn by Susan B. Anthony as she plied the hallways of the Capitol arguing for the right to vote.
A palm-sized campaign card from the 1916 campaign of Montana’s Jeannette Rankin, who became the first woman elected to Congress.
The brown felt hat that Bella Abzug wore at the 1977 National Women’s Conference in Houston, where some 2,000 delegates declared: “We demand as a human right a full voice and role for women in determining the destiny of our world, our national, our families and our individual lives."
Another item on display: the gavel used to call the U.S. House to order on Jan. 4, 2007.
The speaker who wielded that gavel on that day was, for the first time, a woman. Though Nancy Pelosi does not lack for self-confidence, she rarely indulges in public self-reflection. On that night at the Smithsonian, however, she gave a nod to those who had paved the way for her.