The Erie Canal is the world’s most successful canal, with canal boat decks crowded with cargo and people. But less understood is the canal’s role as the information highway of its day. This program explores how the Erie transported ideas of social change across the state, the nation, and even the Atlantic Ocean. These ideas, especially those around woman’s suffrage, helped shape America’s vision as a nation where all men–and women–are created equal with equal rights. WCNY produced the half-hour program for the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor.
This program will examines the role of New York’s canals on various social movements and its continuing legacy today, with an emphasis on women’s rights, suffrage, and the quest for social justice.
The film threads together movements to end slavery and secure women’s right to vote and how the presence of the Erie Canal served as a connecting thread. Themes discussed include: the influence of the Haudenosaunee on suffragists like Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Matilda Joslyn Gage; racial inequality within the suffrage movement and the women who faced voting discrimination.
-Janine Waller, Chief of Interpretation & Education, Women’s Rights National Historical Park.
-Dr. Tracey Ritchie, Vice President of Education and Engagement at the National Park Foundation
-Andy Kitzmann, Assistant Director, Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor
-Jennifer Gabriel, Executive Director, National Women’s Hall of Fame
-Michelle Schenandoah, Oneida Nation (Wolf Clan)
-Debbie Stack, Director of Special Projects, PBS WCNY
-Paul Stewart, Co-founder, Underground Railroad Education Center
-Judith Wellman, PhD, Principal Investigator, Historical NY Research Associates