Sunday, April 28, 2013

I found my feminist DNA link!

Well, well, well!! Who would have thought it possible? Not my Dad for sure! My Mom was very very happy about it! But who would have thought it!

You see, my family of birth, has a history and a present of staunch right wing conservatism which sometimes makes Rush look like a tree hugging hippie! And that is on both sides, but my Dad's side really just swims in that pool of DNA! The pool that says, "white is right", "homos will burn in hell", "get the hell out of MY country if you aren't white and american"and "women should know their place; in the kitchen barefoot and pregnant and waiting on the man!" Yep...that's the DNA from which I hail!

So imagine the surprise when I was growing up and growing into my hippie tree hugging radical feminist rebellious self! Imagine the surprise when I didn't grow out of it! Imagine when I was approaching 60 and I announced not only was I this hippie chick who was a feminist but now a pagan witch! Yep....if I didn't look so much like both sides of this family one would conjecture I was adopted from some gypsies who forgot to take me with them in their weed induced trippy exit so they wouldn't be put in jail or burned at the stake.

Well, well, well! Imagine all of our surprise during our search of my paternal grandmother's line that Dad and I came upon Margaret Elizabeth "Lizzie" Crozier French (May 7, 1851-May 14, 1926)!
Lizzie French was an American educator, women's suffragist and social reform activist. She was one of the primary leaders in the push for women's rights in Tennessee in the early 1900's and helped the state become the 36th state to certify the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution, giving women the right to vote, in 1920. She also founded the Ossoli Circle, the oldest federated women's club in the South, and led efforts to bring coeducation to the University of Tennessee.

This was the missing piece I cried out!

"Oh dear God, she got it from MY side of the family," Dad declared.

"Oh thank God, she didn't get it on MY side of the family!" my Mom stated with joy!

I am thrilled! And this women is my great, great, great aunt on my Paternal Grandmother's side; the Grandmother who carried Cherokee blood although this woman was not of that blood!

I devoured all I could find out about her on the internet which is a lot!

In the early 1900s, the women's magazine, The Delineator, conducted a survey and analysis of states' laws regarding the rights of women, and ranked Tennessee in a tie with Louisiana for last place. French described the position of married women in the state as "nothing more or less than that of a slave," pointing out that they had no right to their own property or earnings. In a 1912 speech to the Tennessee Bar Association, she blasted the state's legal bias toward men. She urged them to "not simply alter one law concerning women here and there, but to take the whole bunch and burn it up."

In 1914, Knoxville's city commission enacted an ordinance that essentially allowed prostitutes in parts of the city to operate without fear of arrest. French assailed the commission over this ordinance, and engaged in a back-and-forth with Mayor Samuel G. Heiskell over the city's refusal to arrest men who hire prostitutes. During this period, French began publishing a magazine, The People, the purpose of which was to expose the corrupt "ring leaders" running the city. She pointed out that the journal was not a guide for "society ladies," stating, "you will not learn from these columns how to butter your bread or hold your fork."

How very exciting to know that in fact I have DNA of this Lizzie Crozier French!

So my Dad will have to grieve that he brought that feminist, outspoken, radical DNA and gifted it to me and my Mom can rejoice that in fact she was not the culprit and thus can stop being embarrassed by me in her prime and proper circles and the family!

I can't wait to learn all I can about this amazing woman who made such an impact of the rights of women! Hail Lizzie Crozier French! Thank you for this amazing DNA!

Blessed be!


  1. M feeling so Proud .. even for the tiniest fact of knowing u so little.. i can just wonder how wud u be feeling for having a part of a greater past within u Sister ... :)

  2. Bravo to Lizzie French! How did you go about finding your lineage to this woman? I guess you did a geneology research? Anxious to talk to you about this unless you can sum up in writing. Isn't it grand to know and be able to say that you came by it honestly from your father's DNA..and isn't the DNA an amazing thing? To think that it wasn't even known until a decade or so ago. Now when you "act out" you have someone to blame! LOL...