BY ERIN COONEY
2019 marks 99 years since the establishment of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote in the United States.
On March 21, Dr. Lisa Tetrault presented Sacred Heart’s annual history lecture: To Fight by Remembering: Women’s Suffrage in the Post-Civil War World.
Dr. Tetrault received her Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Department of History and currently specializes in the history of U.S. women and gender.
The woman suffrage movement began in 1848, when a women’s rights convention occurred in Seneca Falls, New York. The Myth of Seneca Falls: Memory and the Women’s Suffrage Movement, 1848–1898 unveils the possible truths of what may have actually happened at Seneca Falls, when compared to the story known today.
Dr. Tetrault is currently writing a book on post–Civil War women’s rights activism, directly correlating to her speech given at the university.
“History is always living,” said Tetrault multiple times through out the duration of her speech.
Dr. Tetrault explained that events that happened in the past can technically end but they never go away. Being aware of the issues that have previously occurred will help to prevent similar future events.
The speech given stated facts and stories about the movement, and the efforts taken to overcome discrimination. Dr. Tetrault referred back to her book to address accounts and stories about women’s suffrage.
“I have always heard the saying; those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it, but never thought much into it until today. If we as people become more educated on what has happened in the past, we will be prepared to properly deal with situations in the future,” said junior Josh Sokol.
Dr. Tetrault shared that history had always been of interest to her but it became a passion when she decided to stick with it. As she began her career and passion in history, a common theme that she could not escape was that history never dies. No matter how the times change, history will never.
“I met with her after the speech for dinner with several professors and students. She was inspirational and brilliant,” said senior Brooke McCarthy. “She has a love for history that shows when she speaks.”
Dr. Tetrault is an Associate Professor of History at Carnegie Mellon University as well as a published author. Dr. Tetrault’s first book, The Myth of Seneca Falls: Memory and the Women’s Suffrage Movement, 1848–1898, won the Organization of American Historians’ Inaugural Mary Jurich Nickliss Women’s History Book Prize and the OAH Mary Jurich Nickliss Book Prize.
Dr. Tetrault received a number of awards throughout her professional career, such as long-term fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Massachusetts
Historical Society, the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History at Harvard University, the Newberry Library, and the Smithsonian Institution.
She also was awarded the 2007 J. Franklin Jameson Fellowship, then given for the most promising book by a young historian by The American Historical Association and the Library of Congress.
Dr. Tetrault is also a candidate for hiring in the history department here at Sacred Heart University.
“I attend many speeches in the UC to be an involved student as well as citizen, but I truly loved listening to Dr. Tetrault’s speech. She began with an interest and ended with a career,” said Sokol.