Sylvia Ramos Cruz
Sylvia Ramos Cruz shares the heroic story of how New Mexican women joined together and through great determination overcame tremendous obstacles to win the right to vote.
Funding for COLORES was provided in part by:
Frederick Hammersley Foundation
This project is supported in part by an award from
New Mexico arts, a division of the Department of
Cultural Affairs, and by the National Endowment for the Arts.
...and Viewers Like You
THIS TIME, ON COLORES!
SYLVIA RAMOS CRUZ SHARES THE HEROIC STORY OF HOW
NEW MEXICAN WOMEN JOINED TOGETHER AND THROUGH GREAT
DETERMINATION OVERCAME TREMENDOUS OBSTACLES TO
WIN THE RIGHT TO VOTE.
FROM JOHNNY CASH TO SURVIVING THE TITANIC
YOUNG CHATAQUANS BRING HISTORICAL FIGURES TO LIFE.
WIDE OPEN WALLS BRINGS ART TO EVERYONE AS NEW DESIGNS
AND IDEAS ARE BEING ENGAGED BY INCREDIBLE STREET ART.
LARRY PATCHETT AND KEN HENDRICKS TRAVEL BACK IN
TIME THROUGH THEIR FORCED PERSPECTIVE PHOTOGRAPHY.
IT'S ALL AHEAD ON COLORES!
A WINNING DETERMINATION.
>>Megan Kamerick: Sylvia Ramos Cruz, thank you for joining us.
>>Sylvia Ramos Cruz: Thank you so much for inviting me.
>>Kamerick: What were women up against in
gaining an equal vote?
>>Cruz: Oh, it was a long struggle, it took 72 years
from start to finish in 1920.
And really it was one, that they didn't have the
organizations way at the beginning.
Two, I think suffrage took off when they joined the
women's clubs movement because they had the
membership in all the states.
And, they then had to overcome ridicule at the
beginning, you know, how could women be interested in voting?
Are they smart enough to do so?
Why do they want to do something that's a dirty
job, like politics?
They were sometimes incarcerated, especially
when they started picketing in Washington
D.C. They were dragged off to jail, sometimes beaten there.
They also had to convince the employers that they
would be good employees, even though they wanted to vote.
And of course there were husbands that decided that
women that wanted to vote and be independent would
not be good mothers, so sometimes they lost their
children, through divorce.
>>Kamerick: How did the state constitution and
also our culture, our religion work against
getting women the vote here?
>>Cruz: The state constitution from 1910 is
very interesting, in those days a lot of Hispanic men
were powerful leaders in government, such as
Solomon Luna and also Octavian Larazolo, who
later on became governor.
And they wanted to make sure that the Spanish
speaking New Mexicans, New Mexicans of Hispanic
origins, would be able to keep the vote and to have
a part in politics, so they made the constitution
very hard to amend.
So to add an amendment that was a voting right,
that was solely men's right would have taken a
long time to do if at all.
Which is why Cary Chapman Catt became discouraged
and sort of decided that they were going to bypass
New Mexico because there was no way you could
change the constitution here.
Which of course then led to Alice Paul thinking of
it as this federal amendment thinking that we
could still do it because the people there, if the
women work to change the vote of their members in
congress, then that will get us the federal amendment.
So there was two different kinds of strategies.
>>Kamerick: Even though the women's clubs became
active here they tended to be mostly Anglo women.
>>Cruz: That is true.
I think about that time, maybe 1910, 56 percent of
the women in New Mexico were Hispana's and maybe
36 percent Anglos and yet the women's in the club
the women in the women's club movement were
primarily white women, Anglo women.
They were usually well-to-do, well-connected
to political and business families and have the time
to spend looking at these issues, however is not
that Hispana's were not were not active in communities.
They were not maybe part of these women's clubs in
general they belong to community organizations,
especially those through the church that allowed
them to do public work also.
>>Kamerick: What did women have to do to accomplish
>>Cruz: One, to convince the LED the members of the
Congress in the Washington DC and then also the
members of the legislature here because they were
trying to make sure that when the amendment passed
in Congress then it would be able to be ratified in
the state also and to do that they had to write
letters so they had like avalanches of letters
going to you know to legislators.
And a woman, Ada McPherson Morley, an early
suffragists wrote probably even hundreds of letters
and then they had to go and go and speak directly
with a with the Senators.
For example when in 1915 there was a deputation of
about a hundred and fifty suffrages that went to
speak to Senator Catron, who was then in the Senate
but he was here in New Mexico and women went and
four of them spoke at his home.
One of them being Aurora Lucero, who was actually a
niece of Solomon Luna and cousin of Nina Terra Warren and
daughter of the first Secretary of State of New Mexico.
And she was a very skilled orator so, these women
came and they made their case before the senator
and his answer was one that he was not in favor
of women's suffrage that man had always been the hardy one.
Women have been the weaker ones that men have always
been the workers and providers and women have
been the ones to be the child bearers.
And so that he thought it would not work very well for women
to get the vote because they had different roles.
>>Kamerick: you mentioned Nina Otero Warren, she
played a key role in bringing Hispana women
into this movement.
>>Cruz: Yes, that is right she was in the Mexican
woman already in her mid-30s when Alice Paul
through the congressional Union recruited her to
work for suffrage in the state.
Alice Paul recognized and many other suffragettes,
I'm sure, that you needed to involve the
Spanish-speaking women the Spanish-speaking
population actually they not only wanted the women
they wanted to really make sure that men came over
and voted for suffrage.
Amina became very, very influential and she led
the congressional union for a while here.
She was also a member of the Women's Club in Santa
Fe, and she was also a member of a separate
suffrage organization, so she had different roles
but all of them geared towards getting women to vote here.
>>Kamerick: Why is it important to look at this history now?
>>Cruz: Well history is important because it
teaches us what happened in the past and it
sometimes gives us the tools to work towards the future.
Not only the tools that we can use, but also the
tools that we shouldn't use.
One thing we should not do which was really a very
apparent in the past is how some women were
excluded from the suffrage movement not only is it
Spanish but also Native Americans, African
Americans, Asian Americans, all of these
groups got the vote in 1920 because that's what
the Constitution says, but the facto they were not
able to exercise that right to vote.
So had they been pulled into the movement, I think
that would have brought about a more diverse and egalitarian
kind of an environment for women in which to vote.
But in the Roswell Daily Record, the paper, it was
really interesting because at the end it focuses on
five questions that they were asking women who
already had had the vote in many of their
And in New Mexico, women had the vote in terms of
getting a school board selected right.
So one of the question was, have women used the
vote in the best way possible?
And the second question was, are women better off
working within party organizations or WIC
working you know Democratic or Republican
or working on their own as a you know a community of
women to get the policies would like enacted in place.
And both of those you know, questions are so
I tend to think you know, we have not used our boast
our boat wisely.
In some cases, we have been voting for the same
kind of candidates for a hundred years, mostly men.
And they have not many times look to the issues
that we would like addressed.
So maybe we should have been doing something different there.
And then in terms of working in partisan ways
maybe we should start thinking beyond those
boundaries because still there are so many issues
that women care about still you know equal pay
for equal work, pregnancy accommodations in the
workplace, all of those things that women care
about that are not being addressed and I'm sure
that women on the conservative and
progressive sides want to do something about it.
So, working across borders in a way is, I think a
better way to do it.
>>Kamerick: Clearly, We knowing this history would
inform a lot of what we need to think about now.
>>Cruz: Oh, yes I am learning a lot about that now.
Yes, it does actually because most things in the
world aren't new, you know we just tend to recognize
them over and over again.
LEARNING HISTORY THROUGH PERFORMANCE.
Now that I'm president, let me tell you a little
about how I got here.
In my childhood, nobody would've thought that I
would become president.
Young Chautauqua comes from the
Chautauqua experience where one takes a historical character and
researches that figure and performs in character, in
costume, reenacting the life and experiences of
that historical character.
Hello, I'm Johnny Cash.
I hear the train a comin' It's rollin'
'round the bend
The wonderful thing about this program is that any kid can
be a Young Chautauqua scholar.
They just have to have the will and the desire to do
it and it's available to everyone.
I was traveling in Africa in early 1912.
Madame will be in a very grave accident.
I love acting and I love studying history, and I
heard about Chautauqua through a friend and once
we learned more about it, I knew that it was
something I wanted to try.
And I have been doing it for three years now and it
is a very, very fun experience.
They are performing at venues
around the region including the Washoe
County Library System, at various library locations,
and the scholars also perform at their schools
and in their community groups, in church groups,
to really hone their craft.
One of the things that our scholars enjoy the most is
sort of finding the right costume, the period
appropriate outfits, the eyeglasses, maybe a little
bit of talcum powder in the hair if they're
portraying an older character.
And they might work on a certain accent or a
certain pose or comportment to really
embody the character they're portraying.
I've just returned from my very first space mission.
I am indeed the first American woman into space.
This year I researched Edith Rosenbaum, she
survived the sinking of the RMS Titanic.
And she was also a fashion designer and she had a
very, very interesting life.
One of the great things about Chautauqua
that happens for the kids is that they do all this
research and then they also get to speak as a
scholar at the end of their performance.
So they give this monologue in character,
then they break character and the audience has an
opportunity to both ask the character questions and
then ask the scholar questions about their own research.
And the program is really transformative for kids.
We have kids come into our program that are
incredibly shy, so an important part of the
program is to learn how to speak publicly and to
deliver a monologue performance.
And so, the kids have to actually conquer their
fears, get on stage, and present their character to the public.
And it's a really transformative experience for them.
So it has this kind of twin purpose.
The research, cultivating a love of history, and a
sense of empathy for people who have lived
before them and who have done important things in our world.
Just finding somebody interesting who lived on
this Earth and being able to become them in a way is
a very interesting experience.
I learned that his life wasn't perfect at all, and
there were a lot of misfortunes and a lot of
hardships that he went through that kinda made
him who he was, and that kinda reflects on me to
make me think about what I want to do and what
choices I'm gonna make.
Researching with kids who share your same
interest is definitely a big thing that makes Young
Chautauqua a fun experience.
It's a learning opportunity for everybody.
Not only the kids who go through the program, but
also the audience members who get to see the
performances that the children do.
And it's also fun.
TRANSFORMING COMMUNITY INTO A VIBRANT ARTS HUB.
>>David Sobon: Most people, I think if you
take a look at the general population, they don't
normally go into museums.
They're not normally going in galleries, but we are
able to make art available for everybody to see in
any kind of setting.
The purpose of Wide Open Walls was not to only give
attention to the history of the murals in
Sacramento, but to make it really exciting and bring
in an international cast with, um, local artists.
We invited 12 international artists that
we knew from their styles of the art, the type of
painting that they did, that we would have a great balance.
And then it was a matter of mixing muralists that
have been creating for many years already in the
Sacramento market, and then we did something a
little bit sort of unique, we gave an opportunity to
artists that have never created a mural before.
And I think that might have been my favorite part
is seeing the sense of pride from some of our
local, um, and regional artists that had not
created on such a large scale.
We made a pretty big impact with 44 walls this
year, um, being the largest mural festival on
the West Coast.
But I think they have as much impact we don't
necessarily need to do as many.
There's always room for improvement of what the
future of the festival looks like.
But if you take a look at the impact of what we are
able to accomplish in, in a short 10 day period, um,
the amount of attention that it received, both
local and internationally, it was pretty spectacular.
We not only had a volunteer list.
We had a couple of volunteer coordinators.
Um, there was literally a hundred bodies running to
support the artists, to bring them food, to bring
them water, to make sure that they had all their supplies.
The support that it takes to do something like this
takes an army of volunteers.
We produced a 40 page guide.
We had maps both, um, online and in an app form,
so people were able to follow along and learn
something about the murals as they were touring.
I think one of the greatest success stories
of those tours is what the alley, the improv alley,
looks like on Sacramento right now.
It was probably known as one of the worst alleys.
We were able to get the alley paid and we created
seven brand new murals.
All the garbage cans were painted in the alley.
Um, even the grease trap, um, bins were painted and
there is now a, a 300 foot plus humanity mural with
just some incredible messaging, a gorgeous piece
of art, um, and six surrounding pieces of art, six other
murals, um, and it's now become a tourist destination.
>>Bike riders: Oh my God.
This is one of my favorites.
>>Sobon: Adding new landmarks, gathering
places, economic development, also, I mean
we put walls in areas that weren't necessarily the
best parts of town.
And our goal there was not just to make it more
beautiful, but to drive people into that area to
go look at the beautiful art whether they're
walking, riding their bikes, jumping off the
cars, they need to go have a place to take a break
and eat a meal and grab a cup of coffee.
Why the name Wide Open Walls?
I think it brings a lot of different ideas to a lot
of different people.
First off, it makes things a lot more beautiful and
that same concept of art for all is giving people
an opportunity for everybody to see it.
Whether you're driving down the road and all of a
sudden you're seeing something that's, uh, 18
stories tall that used to be a blank wall and be
able to identify specific areas of town and specific buildings.
There is new, modern, more contemporary artists that
are coming up with new designs and new ideas and
that's being enforced by incredible street art.
So I think the duplication factor of it happening,
um, whether it's Wide Open Walls in other cities or
just additional cities participating in these
types of events, I think the future looks really bright.
Art has the capacity to change things.
It changes people's attitude.
It changes their outlook.
It gives them hope.
It inspires them.
All of those things can come from art that's in a
public place that anybody can be exposed to.
You can have the worst day of your life and you can
walk by a piece of art that you've never seen
before and put on a big smile and go home happy.
How cool is that?
The gathering places, the economic development
aspect of it, of being able to put on art that makes
a difference to the community and brings people up.
How cool is that?
I mean it's just all about art for all.
Let's put, let's put art out there for everybody to enjoy.
PROPING UP TIME.
>>Ken Hendricks: Lewis Hine said photographs
never lie, but liars can photograph.
Photographs never lie, but ours do (laughter).
We like to think of ourselves as pretty good liars sometimes
>>Larry Patchett: With integrity.
>> Hendricks: With integrity, yes.
>>Patchett: (laughter) >>Hendricks: Forced
perspective photography is basically shooting models
and making them look full size and fooling the eye.
We're taking twenty fourth scale models, bringing
them out into the world, and trying to make them
look as real as possible.
One twenty fourth scale model, what is it a half
inch equals one foot in the real world?
>>Patchett: Yeah, basically, if you're a
foot away from the model, you need to be 24 feet
away from the background.
>>Hendricks: We shoot a wide angle lens, which
gives you greater inherent depth of field and we also
shoot a very small aperture like F25, F29,
which gives you even more depth of field.
So everything is in focus, from a foot in front of
the camera to infinity, which really helps sell the illusion.
A little over two years ago, we started doing the
forced perspective photography.
Larry said, "well, you've got a camera and I've got some models.
Let's do this." And so we went out and tried it and
our first photos came out beautifully.
We've been having so much fun ever since.
>>Patchett: We're making very ephemeral dioramas
that don't last any longer than it takes us to take a
few shots and then it all goes back into the boxes in there.
What really seems to set ours apart is the quality
of Colorado light.
>>Hendricks: We've gotten quite a few comments on
our photos of how beautiful the blue sky is.
>>Patchett: And in a way, the secret to this is the props.
The first one we did was an ice wagon
[Ken Hendricks: Yeah] and I found little bitty blocks
of ice and made a set of ice tongs out of a
paperclip, sack of potatoes, a case of
Coca-Cola in the back of a pickup truck,
>>Patchett: Fake lamps.
Some milk bottles on top of it.
It's that additional touch that makes it time travel
and helps fool your eye.
>>Hendricks: Every once in a while, I'll take a few
models out in the backyard and shoot 'em just to have
a like a catalog of which models we have available to us.
And I thought it would be a good idea to shoot a
behind the scenes shot of this to just kind of show people
how simple it is to get a really good shot of a model car.
So I took a cell phone photo of the setup and put
it up on Flickr and it went gangbusters.
The first weekend it was up, it got maybe eighty
five thousand views.
Now it's up to a hundred and five thousand views right now.
It's our most popular photo.
>>Patchett: Yeah, we spend all the trouble on
beautiful sets and beautiful models, expensive cameras,
and our most popular shot was done with a cell phone.
>>Hendricks: People from all over the world are
seeing our photos and, and, uh, that's really quite an honor.
When I bring my models, I usually dust 'em off at
home, but Larry lets me dust off his models.
So I get out a little makeup brush and, and dust off
all the dust because the dust is actually full scale dust.
It doesn't look like 24 scale dust.
More full scale dust I can get off of, off of the,
the small cars, the, the less Photoshop work I have to do.
>>Patchett: You got it.
You got it.
>>Hendricks: I have spent hours kind of fixing dust on models.
We're time traveling, and we want
people to kind of travel back to that time with us
and remember what it used to be like.
And we're using models from the 30s, 40s, and 50s
and setting up in front of buildings that were around
at that time.
We try to make everything as authentic as possible.
When I was a kid, we had a, a late 40s Studebaker
Champion that we rode around in and then we upgraded
to a 54 Chevy and thought we were living, living large.
>>Patchett: I grew up with Packard's in the garage,
but they were already history by the time I was
old enough to know what I was looking at.
This car is a time machine.
Like it doesn't say DeLorean.
You won't find a flux capacitor anywhere under
the hood or the tail light.
But it's a way to travel through time, which in
short is what we do with the forced perspective.
We're able to go back in time to an era, uh, that
evokes nostalgia in the people looking at the
pictures or just a sense of whimsy.
>>Hendricks: Some of these photos that we take just
bring back memories and the younger people kind of
get to see what, you know, what it was like back in the day.
>>Patchett: This car has four ashtrays and not a
cup holder to be found
>>Ken Hendricks: (laughter)].
So just in subtle little ways like that of the
different way people viewed the world in the
1950s than we see the world now, and our time
travel efforts help let us highlight little bits and
pieces of both worlds.
>>Hendricks: That's, that's hilarious
>>Larry Patchett: (laughter)]. We both love old cars
and we both love photography, and when you can combine
a passion with a creative outlet, that's gold, and
we're just having the most fun that we've ever had.
>>Patchett: I can't improve on that
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"UNTIL NEXT WEEK, THANK YOU FOR WATCHING."
Funding for COLORES was provided in part by:
Frederick Hammersley Foundation
...and Viewers Like You