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PHR Department Announces New Sojourner Truth Suffrage Academy

Created by the Departments of Politics and Human Rights and International Studies with interdisciplinary collaboration, The Sojourner Truth Suffrage Academy is designed to give students the opportunity to explore the history of enfranchisement in the United States and beyond. Courses are offered in departments across the College, including the arts, business, communications, history, and the social sciences; each will critically engage suffrage in its own way.

2020 marked the centennial of the ratification of the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Sojourner Truth Suffrage Academy (STSA) of Marymount Manhattan College is an interdisciplinary curriculum sponsored by the Departments of Politics and Human Rights and International Studies in honor of the women whose work led to the amendment’s ratification and those who continue the struggle for its decolonization. In recognition of the contested history of suffrage, the academy is dedicated to Sojourner Truth (1797-1883), an abolitionist and women’s rights activist, who embodied both that passionate dedication to the cause and that critical spirit to make it more just.

“The Academy engages the contested histories and ongoing issues of women’s suffrage at the centennial of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution,” shares Erin O’Connor, Ph.D., Chair of the Politics and Human Rights program and STSA creator. “We frame these debates within settler colonialism, recognizing the genocide of Native Americans, while also recognizing that early twentieth century white settler colonial women drew inspiration for women’s rights and suffrage from the women of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) confederacy. Lastly, we join the ongoing struggle, modeled by abolitionist and women’s rights activist, Sojourner Truth (1797-1883), to decolonize ‘rights’ at the intersection of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and nation toward a more just union. The Suffrage Academy attests to MMC’s critical commitment to social justice and I’m both thankful and proud to be a part of such a community.”

A major component of the Suffrage Academy is a robust speaker and event series, which includes talks, films, video art, open dance workshops, and cross-college collaborations. Programs such as Business, Communication and Media Arts, Dance, Environmental Studies, as well as student organizations​ Social Science Assembly and Bedford Hills Club, have worked to host an impressive array of educational events and conversations. Visit the official Sojourner Truth Suffrage Academy page to learn more and RSVP.

Published: February 10, 2021


Erin O’Connor
Associate Professor of Sociology
Chair, Department of Politics and Human Rights