The Battle for the Right to Vote in Ohio – Video Western Reserve PBS

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The Battle for the Right to Vote

  • Aired: 04/18/2017
  • 26:49
  • Nearly a century ago in Northeast Ohio, both women and men fought for women’s right to vote. This half-hour local production explores moments in Akron and Cleveland history that fueled this battle. Examples include Sojourner Truth’s famous “Ain’t I a Woman” speech and Belle Sherwin’s participation in the suffrage movement.

Video from the Newton D. Baker Symposium (April 19, 2015)

Lectures by John Grabowski, Tom Suddes, Marian Morton, Ken Ledsford and Richard Baznik

▶ Newton D. Baker and the Progressive Era  Defining a Man and an Era – John Grabowski – YouTube

▶ Cleveland’s Newton D. Baker and John H. Clarke  Two Gold Democrats – Tom Suddes – YouTube

▶ The Making of a Political Activist  Belle Sherwin and Woman Suffrage – Marion Morton – YouTube

▶ Newton D. Baker and the Zimmerman Telegram  From Neutrality to Intervention – Ken Ledford – YouTube

▶ Newton D. Baker and the Creation of Cleveland College – Richard Baznik – YouTube



Photograph of Newton D. Baker, c. 1910
Sunday, April 19
1:30–5 p.m.
Tinkham Veale University Center
Cost: $45

The community is invited for a day of lectures and discussion with faculty experts to examine and celebrate the life and times
of Newton D. Baker, addressing his impact on the intellectual and political life of Northeast Ohio and beyond.
This event is co-sponsored by The City Club of Cleveland, the Cleveland Council on World Affairs, Teaching Cleveland Digital, and the League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland.






PictureJohn Grabowski

1:30–2:00 p.m.“Newton D. Baker and the Progressive Era: Defining a Man and an Era”

with John Grabowski
An introduction to a formative period in American political and civic life.  Baker’s legacy is intimately connected to this pivotal movement in United States history.Read Dr. Grabowski’s essay about “Cleveland in 1912”

PictureTom Suddes

2–2:45 p.m.“Cleveland’s Newton D. Baker and John H. Clarke: Two ‘Gold Democrats’ and the New Freedom—and New Deal”

with Tom Suddes

In 1896 Baker and Clarke both split from Democrat William Jennings “Cross of Gold” Bryan. Both went on to attain great distinction, first in Northeast Ohio, then under President Wilson’s New Freedom. Baker and Clarke eventually diverged, however, in their assessment of the New Deal. How and why—that is the question.

Read Dr. Suddes essay: “Newton D. Baker: Cleveland’s Greatest Mayor”

PictureMarian Morton

2:45–3:30 p.m.“The Making of a Political Activist:  Belle Sherwin and Woman Suffrage”

with Marian Morton

Newton Baker was a proud supporter of woman suffrage, but for Clevelander Belle Sherwin, the movement was a transforming experience.  Born to privilege and propriety, Sherwin overcame her “natural shrinking from publicity” by joining, and then leading, the campaign for votes for women that changed their lives and American politics forever.

Read Dr. Morton’s essay: “How Cleveland Women Got the Vote – And What They Did With It”

3:30–3:45 p.m.


PictureKen Ledford

3:45–4:30 p.m.“Newton D. Baker and the Zimmermann Telegram: From Neutrality to Interventionism”

with Ken Ledford
The ham-handed efforts by Arthur Zimmermann of the Imperial German Foreign Office to deter U.S. entry into World War I by conspiring with Mexico helped Newton D. Baker navigate a path from his neutrality in the European war while mayor of Cleveland to a commitment to interventionism in January 1917 after he had become Secretary of War.  The impact of the Zimmermann Telegram on Baker and U.S. policy highlight the perils of insulated and insular strategic thinking in an age of modern communications technology and surveillance.Read this wonderful story about Newton D. Baker as Secretary of War: “Recollections of Secretary Newton D. Baker” by FQC Gardner

PictureRichard Baznik

4:30–5:15 p.m.“Newton D. Baker and the Creation of Cleveland College”

with Dick Baznik

As a progressive leader in regional and national affairs, Baker was dedicated to the cause of adult education and seized the opportunity to help launch a remarkable model in Cleveland.

Read the essay written by Rae Wahl Rohfeld about “Newton D. Baker and the Adult Education Movement” from the Ohio Historical Society/Ohio Historical Connection

Learn more about Newton D. Baker here


Teaching Cleveland Digital