Different voices tell the story of women’s voting lifestyles


A new museum exhibit and play at the Museum of the American Revolution will focus on some of history’s lesser-known female heroes.

The exhibition, “When Women Lost Their Voices: A Revolutionary Story, 1776-1807,” runs through April 25, examines the little-known story of women and free blacks who lived in New Jersey for more than 30 years after the Revolutionary War have chosen. up to that right, which was removed in 1807.

In addition to tableaus and other exhibitions, there is a theater show with a woman based on the life of Elizabeth “Mumbet” Freeman – a woman who lamented and won for her freedom from enslavement.

Tyler Putman, manager of gallery interpreting at the Museum of the American Revolution, said they captured Freeman’s story as a sort of snapshot of what was going on during that time.

“The exhibition examines the early history of women’s rights in the United States. During this period when women in New Jersey could vote, both black and white, there was no racial qualification. We looked all over the US for stories that were happening in New Jersey at the same time. We also wanted to know what was going on in places like Massachusetts or South Carolina, ”Putman said.

Actress Tiffany Bacon portrays Elizabeth “Mumbet” Freeman in the one-woman play Teresa Miller wrote for the museum. She said she first heard of Freeman’s story while visiting another museum and felt inspired by her.

“I remember thinking to myself: wait. Who is this woman?’ I didn’t even know it was possible to sue for your freedom. And she found out. She said, “Yes, I’m about this life, this freedom life.” I really appreciated that. And I thought, why wasn’t her story taught in school or anywhere? I’ve never heard of her before, ”said Bacon.

The way Freeman achieved her freedom was unique and the actress liked that.

“We have heard so many stories about the struggle for freedom, with a lot of running and running away. We have learned about human freedom in a variety of ways, but suing for freedom just wasn’t one I had ever heard of, ”said Bacon.

Putman said this was one of the reasons the American Revolution Museum decided to include the story of Elizabeth “Mumbet” Freeman.

“Elizabeth Freeman was the rare person who could see where she was in her day and then zoom out and see what was possible that most of us couldn’t. We are kind of trapped in our moment and can only see our own perspective and the barriers of our world, ”he said.

Putman said sharing as many voices and perspectives as possible will help break down those barriers.

“We believe that a more diverse story is a more accurate story. To understand the events of the revolution and to understand where we have ended up as a nation today, one has to think of it from all possible perspectives. What did the revolution look like for George Washington? What did the revolution look like for a Native American in New York state? What did the revolution look like for Elizabeth Freeman? I think reclaiming and re-conquering stories just gives us a colored view of history that makes it more interesting and much more relevant to the people of today. “

Bacon said there are many stories, like Freeman’s, that have yet to be told.

“I often hear debates and conversations that people are fed up with slave stories, and I often say, ‘How can we be tired? ‘We haven’t even scratched the surface of how we dealt with this situation,’ said the actress.

She hopes telling the stories of lesser-known heroes like Freeman will give others a taste of what’s out there and leave them hungry for more.

“I hope it will encourage people to learn more about how different people have reacted and think about how that all correlates now,” said Bacon.