The Voice of Liberty

South Dakota State Historical Society. Sept. 2020. 31p. Tr $19.95. ISBN 9781941813249.
Gr 2-4–A group of activist women, led by Katherine “Katie” Devereux Blake, Lillie Devereux Blake, and Matilda Joslyn Gage, protested for suffrage at the unveiling of the Statue of Liberty in 1886. Fotheringham’s full-page illustrations start the narrative on an intriguing note. Lillie, who was president of the New York State Woman Suffrage Association (NYSWSA), wrote to the men in charge of the ceremony, asking to speak on behalf of women. She was denied. Lillie and Gage decided to protest. The three women, along with two hundred others from the NYSWSA, organized to rent a boat to participate in the Statue’s celebration in New York Harbor. The illustrations show the women shouting “Votes for Women!” and “Equal rights now!” as they are both cheered and booed by the spectators on the shore and passengers of other boats. Carpenter and Fotheringham set the stage for dramatic and interactive read-alouds with the repetition of a phrase of resistance (“Well, not everyone”), sourced dialogue, and well-placed illustrations. However, the history of women’s suffrage is too often just a history of privileged white women and excludes or downplays the vital contributions of women of color. This title does not buck that trend. The three main characters are white women; background characters are predominately white, with the exception of one lone African American female activist. Back matter includes profiles of the women, information about the Statue of Liberty, a time line, an author’s note, and sources for selected dialogue.
VERDICT This well-paced read-aloud is informative but presents one moment in the history of women’s suffrage through the lens of white women’s suffrage. An additional purchase for larger collections.

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