Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Rejoices over U.S. Government Investment in Preservation of Quaker Suffragist’s Memory

Peace & Social Concerns

Sewall-Belmont House Officially Becomes Part of the United States National Park System, Honoring Memory of Quaker Suffragist Alice Paul

Philadelphia, PA, April 1, 2016 — President Obama has announced the Sewall-Belmont House in Washington, DC will become a National Monument and officially be a unit of the United States National Park system. The Sewall-Belmont house holds the only fully intact collection of artifacts and materials from the women’s suffrage movement. This special place and its artifacts tell the story of the National Woman’s Party, led by Quaker suffragist Alice Paul, which worked to secure women the right to vote through the 19th amendment to the Constitution. Making Sewell-Belmont House a unit of the National Park system will ensure the public has access to tour the facility, view the artifacts from that era, and use its library in perpetuity.

General Secretary of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Christie Duncan-Tessmer highlighted the spiritual significance of the Sewall-Belmont house: “The Quaker tradition nurtures active, inquiring minds, and calls us to listen to the still small voice of the Divine within us. We can do this spiritual work of listening at our meeting houses, in the natural world, and through special places that hold our collective memory, such as the Sewall-Belmont house.”

Among the hundreds of National Park sites, fewer than a dozen have the contributions of women as their main focal point. This new addition to the National Park system will not only add much-needed diversity to our nation’s parks, but will also help fulfill part of Alice Paul’s dream for full legal, social, and economic parity for women in every part of society.

“It is foundational to our Quaker tradition to stand up to injustice,” added Christie Duncan-Tessmer. “By preserving Alice Paul’s legacy of organizing to end legal, social, and economic discrimination against women, we equip current and future generations of organizers for justice with her invaluable wisdom and inspiration.”

Philadelphia Yearly Meeting is a community of over 100 Quaker meetings and thousands of Friends in a four-state region who live our faith each day.