Alice Paul still resonates in today’s Boston

What the NAACP convention means to Tanisha Sullivan

ON A SPECIAL LIVE EDITION of the Codcast, Jesse Mermell and Jennifer Nassour bridge the gap between women in the early 1900s, who were protesting for the right to vote, and today, when the struggle goes on in a different way.

In the first segment of the podcast, Mermell and Nassour interview Tina Cassidy, the author of a book about Alice Paul, a woman who not only led the first women’s march in US history but who changed stereotypes about feminism by putting an attractive woman on a white horse at the head of a group of protesters seeking the right to vote.

After learning about Paul, Mermell and Nassour sit down with Tanisha Sullivan, president of the Boston branch of the NAACP; Andrea Campbell, president of the Boston City Council; and Keiko Orrall, a former state legislator. They talk about the challenges facing women today in politics, how women sometimes hold women back, and how Republican women are not always welcome at the table.

Meet the Author

Bruce Mohl

Editor, CommonWealth

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

Sullivan reveals that the Boston branch of the NAACP did not pursue her national organization to hold its convention in Boston in 2020.  “We ultimately supported it,” she said.

Sullivan said the reaction to the announcement, which came out on Monday, was interesting. “Most white people are really excited – we’ve made it, racism is over” – while people of color are asking: “Why would they come here?”

The announcement does signal that Boston has come a long way on matters of race, Sullivan said, but she hopes the convention will be an occasion for the city to dig further into its past and look to the future. “What we cannot do is party during the convention,” she said.