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The Battle for the Ballot | STACY GARROP • COMPOSER

The Battle for the Ballot

Stacy Garrop and Cristian Măcelaru introduce The Battle for the Ballot
Virtual orchestra world premiere • August 9, 2020
Cabrillo Festival Orchestra • Cristian Măcelaru, conductor • Julie James, narrator
Produced, mixed, and edited by Svet Stoyanov
The Cabrillo Festival has performance rights through the world premiere.

INSTRUMENTATION
3333 4331 harp, piano, timpani, 3 perc, strings

YEAR COMPOSED
2020

COMMISSIONER
Commissioned by the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, Music Director & Conductor Cristian Măcelaru, with generous support from JoAnn Close and Michael Good. The Battle for the Ballot commemorates the centenary of the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1920 granting women the right to vote.

TEXTS BY
American suffragists (in alphabetical order): Jane Addams, Susan B. Anthony, Carrie Chapman Catt, Carrie W. Clifford, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, Adella Hunt Logan, Mary Church Terrell.

PROGRAM NOTES
Democracy in the United States has always been a messy process that is in a constant state of flux. When the nation’s Constitution was penned, the framers of the document didn’t differentiate voting rights between men and women. This led to various interpretations in the thirteen original colonies. For instance, while most of the colonies passed state laws that stipulated only a male adult who possessed property worth fifty pounds to vote, New Jersey’s laws allowed women to vote between 1776 and 1807, after which they were excluded. Women weren’t the only disenfranchised party in these states – slaves, men of particular religions, and men too poor to own the requisite amount of land were excluded as well. As the country progressed, wording was added to many states’ voting laws to ensure that white men (and a slim grouping at that) were the sole possessors of the vote.

Women’s inability to vote carried significant consequences. They paid taxes with no legal voice in crafting the laws of the land (i.e. taxation without representation). They were barred from becoming politicians, formulating laws, and serving on juries. If a woman got married, she immediately lost custody of her wages, children, possessions, and property. Women grew progressively frustrated by these circumstances and began to organize. The first women’s rights convention was held in 1848 in Seneca Falls, New York, and officially launched the beginning of the women’s Suffrage movement. While additional conventions were held over the next several years, forward progress was halted during the Civil War (1861-1865), after which the cause was taken up again. Starting in the late 1860s, various Suffrage organizations formed, fell apart, and re-formed in pursuit of rallying women and men to the cause. Black Suffragists were not treated well by many of their white counterparts; as a result, they created organizations and clubs of their own. Even when the Nineteenth Amendment was passed in 1919 and ratified in 1920, many states immediately passed laws that blocked Black women from voting by one means or another; this situation wasn’t rectified until Congress passed the 1965 Voting Rights Act which federally protected all citizen’s right to vote and put an end to discriminatory practices throughout the country. Nonetheless, we still witness today how various parts of our nation try new methods to disenfranchise Black women and men from voting. For instance, in June 2013 the U.S. Supreme Court removed a significant section of the 1965 Voting Rights Act which enabled especially southern states to once again seek to disenfranchise primarily Black voters because they are no longer required to get the approval of the Justice Department when revising voting laws in their states. Not only is democracy a messy process, but it is something we must be vigilant in safekeeping for all of our citizens.

The Battle for the Ballot features the voices of seven Suffragists, four of whom are Black (Carrie W. Clifford, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, Adella Hunt Logan, and Mary Church Terrell) and three of whom are white (Jane Addams, Susan B. Anthony, and Carrie Chapman Catt). I excerpted lines from their speeches and writings, then interwove these lines together to form a single narrative that follows their reasoning for fighting so hard for the right to vote.

Commissioned by the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, Music Director & Conductor Cristian Măcelaru, with generous support from JoAnn Close and Michael Good, 
The Battle for the Ballot commemorates the centenary of the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1920 granting women the right to vote.
-S.G.

TEXTS (in order of use)
Woman suffrage is coming – you know it.  
(Carrie Chapman Catt)   

The ballot! The sign of power, the means by which things are brought to pass, the talisman that makes our dreams come true! 
(Carrie W. Clifford)  

When I am asked to give the reasons why women should have the ballot, the reasons are too many to name. At every turn we are brought up to the desire to have a vote. 
(Jane Addams)  

It is the ballot that opens the schoolhouse and closes the saloon; that keeps the food pure and the cost of living low; that causes a park to grow where a dump-pile grew before. 
(Carrie W. Clifford)  

It is the ballot that regulates capitol and protects labor; that up-roots disease and plants health.  It is by the ballot we hope to develop the wonderful ideal state for which we are all so zealously working.
(Carrie W. Clifford)  

I don’t believe in urging a man to vote against his convictions. I don’t even believe in trying too hard to persuade him… But the women should have votes to represent themselves. 
(Jane Addams)  

How can anyone who is able to use reason, and who believes in dealing out justice to all God’s creatures, think it is right to withhold from one-half the human race rights and privileges freely accorded to the other half? (Mary Church Terrell)

What a reproach it is to a government which owes its very existence to the loved freedom in the human heart that it should deprive any of its citizens of their sacred and cherished rights. 
(Mary Church Terrell)  

Justice is not fulfilled so long as woman is unequal before the law. 
(Frances Ellen Watkins Harper)  

Behold our Uncle Sam floating the banner with one hand, “Taxation without representation is tyranny,” and with the other seizing the billions of dollars paid in taxes by women to whom he refuses “representation.” 
(Carrie Chapman Catt)  

Behold him again, welcoming the boys of twenty-one and the newly made immigrant citizen to “a voice in their own government” while he denies that fundamental right of democracy to thousands of women public school teachers from whom many of these men learn all they know of citizenship and patriotism… 
(Carrie Chapman Catt)  

Is all this tyranny any less humiliating and degrading to women under our government today than it was to men one hundred years ago? 
(Susan B. Anthony)  

Seeking no favors because of our color, nor patronage because of our needs, we knock at the bar of justice, asking an equal chance. 
(Mary Church Terrell)  

Having no vote they need not be feared or heeded. The “right to petition” is good; but it is much better when well voted in. 
(Adella Hunt Logan)  

This much, however, is true now: the colored American believes in equal justice to all, regardless of race, color, creed or sex, …and longs for the day when the United States shall indeed have a government of the people, for the people… and by the people…even including the colored people. (Adella Hunt Logan)  

Seek first the kingdom of the ballot, and all things else shall be given thee. (Susan B. Anthony)  

If we once establish the false principle, that citizenship does not carry with it the right to vote in every state in this Union,…there is no end to the cunning devices that will be resorted to, to exclude one and another class of citizens from the right of suffrage. 
(Susan B. Anthony)  

 The time for woman suffrage is come. The woman’s hour has struck. 
(Carrie Chapman Catt)  

And so, lifting as we climb, onward and upward we go, struggling and striving, and hoping that the buds and blossoms of our desires will burst into glorious fruition ere long. 
(Mary Church Terrell)   

With courage, born of success achieved in the past, with a keen sense of responsibility which we shall continue to assume, we look forward to a future large with promise and hope. 
(Mary Church Terrell)  

We propose to fight our battle for the ballot –all peaceably, but nevertheless persistently through to complete triumph, when all United States citizens shall be recognized as equals before the law. 
(Susan B. Anthony) 

Watch Cabrillo Festival’s OPEN REHEARSALS:
Cabrillo normally opens its daily orchestral rehearsals to the public, so they can watch Maestro Măcelaru, the musicians, and composers shape pieces in preparation for performance. In this spirit, the Festival recorded many of our Zoom sessions as we virtually recorded and pieced together the audio and video. Watch our process here:
https://cabrillomusic.org/2020-season/open-rehearsals/

BLOG POST on the genesis and development of the narration:
Getting Real about Suffragists and Racism in Composing The Battle for the Ballot

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