Remembering and honoring our foremothers, the suffragists, in song

March 4, 2013

Forward into Light, a New Day Has Begun 
The song, “Forward to the Light” was written by singer-songwriter Linda Allen as part of a theater production titled Recipe for Justice by author Susan G Butruille. It was written to celebrate the 2009-2010 centennial of equal suffrage in Washington, the fifth state to grant women the right to vote, a decade before passage of the 19th amendment. ( On the above link, click on “Access this item” to hear the song.) You can also read the lyrics here.

“Forward out of error, Forward to the light” was the motto of the National Woman’s Party which was founded and led by Alice Paul, Lucy Burn, and Inez Milholland in the first part of the 20th century. Linda Allen says she wrote this song as a dialogue between the older women of the suffrage movement, such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony (who didn’t live to see women gain the vote after working for it so long), and the younger women who took up the cause— “the daughters who carried on,” giving voice to Susan B. Anthony’s statement a month before she died: “Failure is impossible.” I thought this link of the day would be an appropriate one for us today, March 4th, as we, older and younger feminists together, “march forth” into the future where there remains so much to be done! For an interesting video about women’s history, you might also enjoy watching this delightful hour-long video in which Lynn Sherr is interviewed about her book, Failure Is Impossible: Susan B. Anthony in Her Own Words. Another note of interest: Linda Allen presented a concert for us at our 2004 EEWC conference in Claremont, CA, and many of us continue to enjoy her DVDs. If you’re not familiar with her and her music —or even if you are—visit her website to keep up with her latest recordings.

Letha Dawson Scanzoni
Letha Dawson Scanzoni (1935-2024) was an independent scholar, writer, and editor, and the author or coauthor of nine books. In 1978, she and Virginia Ramey Mollenkott wrote Is the Homosexual My Neighbor?, one of the earliest books urging evangelical Christians to rethink their views on homosexuality (updated edition, 1994, HarperOne). More recently, Letha coauthored (with social psychologist David G. Myers) What God Has Joined Together: The Christian Case for Gay Marriage (HarperOne, 2005 and 2006). Another of Letha’s most well-known books is All We’re Meant to Be: Biblical Feminism for Today, coauthored with Nancy A. Hardesty (Word Books, 1974; revised edition, Abingdon, 1986; updated and expanded edition, Eerdmans, 1992). Letha served as editor of Christian Feminism Today in both its former print edition (EEWC Update) and its website for 19 years until her retirement in December 2013.


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