The Magic Sash, Episode 4: "Locked Up"
Lotty finds herself locked in jail with a grown-up Florence and Susan B. Anthony. Isaiah stages a rescue, and the adventure continues with a visit to 1888 and a face-to-face meeting with Frederick Douglass!
[Location: 1872, Rochester, New York. Jail.]
- Credit / Author:
- PRX, WSCC, NPS, Gen-Z Media
- Date created:
[We hear the clanging of prison bars and the hubbub of disgruntled female voices. Then…]
Lotty (being pushed): Ow - ouch - careful!
[We hear ladies pushing and shoving, etc.]
Deputy U.S. Marshal: Quiet down, ladies! Miss Anthony, control your group.
Susan B. Anthony: We shall not be quieted, Lieutenant! Nor controlled.
Florence: That’s right, Susan!
SBA: Fear not, my fellow suffragists. We stand together under indictment for the alleged crime of having voted at the last Presidential election, without having a lawful right to vote.
DUSM: You can belly ache all ya want, but it ain’t gonna change the fact that you’re all jailbirds now.
[We hear an uproar from the women (”You can’t do this to us!” “Wait ‘til my husband gets his hands on you!” Etc.)]
DUSM: We’re holding you all here ‘til we figure out what to do with you.
L (quiet, to herself): Isaiah, where are you? What have I done? I’m locked in a prison with Susan B. Anthony, my great-great-great-great-great grandmother and I lost you...
F (having overheard): Lotty?
L (surprised): Flo! I ... uh ... I was just talking to myself.
F: Mm-hm. You know, you didn’t have to come after me. I’m a grown woman; I can take care of myself.
L: I know. I just ... I didn’t want you to get hurt because ...
F: Because I’m your great-great-great-great-great grandmother?
L: Is it worth it, Flo?
F: Is what worth it?
L: All of this? Getting arrested, messing up your whole life. I mean, it’s just voting, right?
F: Just voting? Lotty, voting is about having a voice and having a say in the future of this country. And it’s about saying that our rights matter just as much as men’s. You must believe that.
L: Well, sure, yeah, but I just figured...
DUSM (interrupting - calling out): Susan B. Anthony - your lawyer is here to bail you out.
SBA (haughtily): I refuse to accept bail, Officer.
DUSM: Yeah, yeah, how noble. Tell that to the judge. You’re outta here.
[We hear the sound of a jail cell opening.]
SBA: Ladies, I’ll be back for the rest of you. Don’t you worry.
[We hear the LADIES call “Goodbye, Susan.” “We’re with you, Susan.” “You show them, Susan.” Etc.]
L: Goodbye, Miss Anthony. Don’t stop doing what you’re doing. I have a feeling, it’s gonna really pay off.
SBA: Thank you, child. I appreciate your support.
[We hear the KEY unlock the cell, the OPENING of the door.]
DUSM: Right this way, Miss Anthony.
[We hear the SLAM of the cell door and then ...]
Isaiah (whispered): Lotty!
L: Isaiah! You’re here! How did you ...
I: I snuck in behind the officer. Sometimes being small for my age has its benefits.
F: Nice work.
L: I’m so glad to see you! I thought…
I: I know what you thought. Now stand here so I can take the sash off!
L: But what about Flo?!
F: Don’t you think twice about me. My husband, Thomas, will soon be down here to bail me out. He’s used to this sort of thing. It’s the price of being married to Florence Whitaker.
I: Well, it’s been real, Flo. Lotty - this sash is coming off ...
L: Wait, I
[WHIZ - BAM - BANG - WHOOSH!]
[Place: Lotty’s basement. We hear them land with a THUD. Then - “Ow.” “Oooo.” “This isn’t gonna get any easier, is it?” Etc.]
I: (groans) Are we back in the basement?
L: (groans) Yeah, we’re back in the basement.
I: Oh, thank you, time-travel. 2020 never looked so good.
L: Yeah, that was a little intense.
I: A little?! When those officers carted you off in that wagon, my whole life flashed before my eyes.
L: It was a mistake to run off like that. Leave you alone. I’m sorry.
I: Yeah, well - you should be.
L: Thanks for coming after me. Sneaking into jail. You could have gotten into all kinds of trouble. You’re much ... cooler than I thought you were.
I: Thanks, I think.
L: Listen, I think maybe we’re done.
I: What do you mean?
L: The past...it’s too risky for you. Maybe for both of us.
I: Yeah...It’s tough enough dealing with racism here in the present. In the past, well, I know what I’ve read.
L: Yeah; I don’t want you to get hurt.
I: So you’re going to give up the sash because you’re worried about me?
L: I should probably put it somewhere safe.
I: Yeah. Like...AROUND YOUR BODY!
[Isaiah puts the sash around her.]
L: What? Isaiah, what are you doing? Hey!
[WHIZ - BAM - BANG - WHOOSH!]
[Place: April 3, 1888, Washington D.C., stairs outside the International Council of Women Convention.]
[THEY land with a THUD. THEY GASP (”Ow,” “Ooo,” “Oh no, not again!”)]
L: You did that on purpose.
I: Did I?
L: I thought you were out.
I: I didn’t say that.
L: So you want to be here?
I: We need to see this through, right?
L: Yeah, you’re right. We do. The sash wants to show us all these important moments. I think...I think we’re supposed to be here.
I: Okay. So what is this place? Where are we?
L: Looks like a big meeting is happening inside.
I: Grab that flyer next to you.
[We hear a paper un-crumple.]
I (reading): “April 1, 1888 - International Council of Women Convention -
L: It’s the 40 year anniversary of the Seneca Falls Convention. We were there! (reading the sign) “Working towards the advancement of all women and the advancement of health, peace, equality, and education. Guest speaker: Frederick Douglass.”
I: Frederick Douglass is here?! Again?! I didn’t get to meet him last time. Now’s my chance!
L: Now you’re talking.
Convention Goer (calling out): Frederick Douglass will take the stage for his address in one minute. Ladies and Gentlemen, please take your seats.
L: OK, I learned my lesson. We don’t split up. Ever. Deal?
L: Let’s go.
Aly Raisman: Wow, Frederick Douglas...I’m starting to wish I had a time traveling sash.
Hi again, I’m Olympic gymnast and advocate Aly Raisman. From the time of the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848, the cause of women's rights was closely tied to the cause of abolition, the fight to end slavery.
The African-American suffragist Frances Ellen Watkins Harper said the two causes were "all bound up together."
Famous abolitionists Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman strongly supported voting rights for women. And early suffragists such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton were just as fierce supporters of emancipation.
But black leaders in the cause often felt that their contributions were sidelined and downplayed. And when it came time for the passage of the 19th Amendment, many believed that the movement had - as Coralie Franklin Cook said - "turned its back on women of color."
As white women across America were celebrating having earned the constitutional right to vote, black women across the South still faced all kinds of laws that kept them from being allowed to vote.
Isaiah and Lotty are starting to see that it would be many years before all women were truly able to cast their votes.
[Place: International Council of Women Convention.]
[We hear Isaiah and Lotty shuffle in and take their seats.]
I (whispered): This is amazing. I’m hearing Frederick Douglass speak - twice - in the same day - 40 years apart.
Frederick Douglass (mid-speech): Woman knows and feels her wrongs as man cannot know and feel them, and she also knows as well as he can know, what measures are needed to redress them. I grant all the claims at this point. She is her own best representative. We can neither speak for her, nor vote for her, nor act for her, nor be responsible for her; and the thing for men to do in the premises is just to get out of her way and give her the fullest opportunity to exercise all the powers inherent in her individual personality, and allow her to do it as she herself shall elect to exercise them. Her right to be and to do is as full, complete and perfect as the right of any man on earth. I say of her, as I say of the colored people, “Give her fair play, and hands off.”
[They whisper as Frederick Douglass’ speech continues in the background.]
I: Amen, hallelujah.
[Florence is there, now aged 50.]
F: Jumping Jehosapaht! I thought that was you two!
F: You two certainly have a way of popping up, now don’t you? How long has it been since your last visit?
I: Ten minutes.
F (laughing a bit): Ten minutes?! More like seventeen years, dear child. And yet, here I am, 50 years old, grey in my hair, and you haven’t aged a bit.
L: You look a lot like my grandma. That’s a compliment.
F: That’s kind of you. So, what brings you to the 1888 International Council of Women’s Convention? Other than that magic sash.
L: I don’t know. Maybe you should ask the sash.
I: I think we’re here to see Frederick Douglass.
F: Would you like to meet him, Isaiah?
I: Are you serious right now?! I would definitely like to meet Frederick Douglass.
F: Here, come with me. I’ll take you around to the backstage area. He and I have known each other for years. I’ll be glad to introduce you.
I: Man, I wish there was Instagram in 1888.
F: Instagram? Is that a speedier version of a telegram?
I: What’s a telegram?
L: Come on.
[As they shuffle out of their seats we hear ...]
FD: Ever since this Council has been in session, my thoughts have been reverting to the past. I have been thinking more or less, of the scene presented forty years ago in the little Methodist church at Seneca Falls, the manger in which this organized suffrage movement was born. It was a very small thing then. It was not then big enough to be abused, or loud enough to make itself heard outside, and only a few of those who saw it had any notion that the little thing would live.
L: Seneca Falls…
F: Where you rescued me from the tree. 40 years ago. Time certainly does fly.
I: Pfht - you’re tellin’ me.
F: This way, friends.
[The sound of the door creaking open ...]
[Place: Backstage at the International Council of Women Convention. We hear steps, a door creak open, and then in the distance…]
FD: ...and they will be seen in the final triumph of woman’s cause, not only in this country, but throughout the world.
[We hear wild applause and cheers from the crowd and then footsteps.]
F: Mr. Douglass! That was wonderful.
FD: Mrs. Whitaker! How lovely to see you.
F: Oh, the pleasure is all mine. You are such a gifted orator.
FD: Why, thank you. And who are your friends here?
F: Ah, yes. Allow me to introduce Lotty Whitaker Eldridge and Isaiah ...
I: Morgan. Isaiah Morgan, at your service... your highness.
FD (laughing warmly): Young man, I am no more royalty than you. We must all reside on equal ground.
L: We’re big fans, Mr. Douglass. Big, big fans.
FD: Are you dressed for a costume party?
L: Oh. Uh ...
I: There’s a kids’ convention happening down the hall where you can dress up like children of the future.
FD: How innovative. (noticing LOTTY’s sash) And this neck garment - is this from the future as well?
L: Oh, this sash?
I: No! Don’t touch it!
[We hear the sound of a rip and then WHIZ - BAM - BANG - WHOOSH!]
[Place: 1896 – Washington, D.C. – Outside the convention of the National Federation of Afro-American Women]
[We hear a thud as they land.]
I: What happened?
L: You ripped the sash!
I: I didn’t mean to! I was just trying to keep Frederick Douglass from traveling through time.
L: It doesn’t matter if you meant to or not! The sash is ripped and now we’re... uh ... where are we?!
[We hear a bell ring.]
Woman’s voice (calling out): Ladies and Gentlemen! The 1896 Convention of the National Federation of Afro-American Women is about to begin.
[We hear the bell ring again.]
I: 1896?! Lotty, we didn’t go back to the basement. We just leapt forward by eight years!
L: And now the sash is torn! What if ... Isaiah - what if we can never get back?!
[Sounds of people entering the convention.]
[End of Episode 4]
Lesson PlanDeveloped by the National Park Service
Download the lesson plan for this episode of The Magic Sash to dive into the themes of this episode. There are six pages.
Guiding Questions: When should we be able to speak for ourselves? When should others make decisions for us?
Students will identify the Silent Sentinels and summarize their significance in the passage of the 19th Amendment.
Students will consider the consequences women suffragists received for their actions in protesting and picketing for voting rights.
Students will create a political cartoon that supports or opposes an issue with appropriate language and symbols.
Places Associated With This Episode
Susan B. Anthony House
Susan B. Anthony's house in Rochester, New York is open to the public as part of the National Susan B. Anthony Museum and House.
Frederick Douglass NHP
Cedar Hill was the home of Frederick Douglass in Washington, DC.
Albaugh's Opera House
The 1888 International Council of Women Convention was held at Albaugh's Opera House. Demolished 1930. Find out more at Discover DC History.
About the Podcast
Lotty - Katelyn Joseph
Isaiah - David Dotson
Florence - Jennifer Roszell
Susan B. Anthony - Susan Riley Stevens
Frederick Douglass - Postell Pringle
The Magic Sash is a production of the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission, the National Park Service, TRAX from PRX, and Gen-Z Media. The podcast was envisioned by WSCC Executive Director Anna Laymon with support from Kelsey Millay. Executive Producers: Genevieve Sponsler (TRAX from PRX) and Ben Strouse (Gen-Z Media). Creators: Benjamin Strouse, David Kreizman and Chris Tarry. Writers: Sandy Rustin and David Kreizman. Music: Peter Kiesewalter. Additional Music: Chris Tarry and Jennifer Rowekamp. Sound design and music editing: Chris Tarry and Darian Newsome. Production Director: Michelle Tattenbaum.
Original Air Date: August 26, 2020
Last updated: August 26, 2020