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  • Writer's pictureEighty Bug

"Spirit of 1776" A Suffragette Anthem



The Heritage Museum of Orange County in Santa Ana, CA provided the stage set

for a new music video, “Spirit of 1776,” that the production team calls a “suffragette

anthem” scheduled for release in time to celebrate Women’s Equality Day. Observed on

August 26th each year, the occasion honors American women’s 72-year campaign to win

the vote from 1848 to 1920. The music video is inspired by an actual suffrage campaign

wagon called the “Spirit of 1776” used in New York State as a speakers’ platform and in

suffrage parades prior to 1920. The new music video is available on YouTube:

The U.S. Congress designated August 26th as Women’s Equality Day in 1971

through the work of Rep. Bella Abzug (D-NY) to commemorate the 1920 passage of the

19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that extended the vote to American women.

The “Spirit of 1776” music video has been produced by performer and

songwriter Eighty Bug; directors Edwin Carungay and Lesha Maria Rodriguez; art

director Jon Lagda; and the Suffragist Sisters, featuring Eighty (banjolele and

vocals), her sister Savannah Creech (ukulele and vocals), Ashli Lee Christoval

(ukelele and vocals), Laura Guaico (tub bass), and Lisa Lui (violin), in addition to

Max McVetty (percussion), and Integral JRAT (guitar, mixing and mastering). The

Heritage Museum of Orange County in Santa Ana, California provided the sets and

production support.

The music video is inspired by the “Spirit of 1776” suffrage wagon that’s in the

collection of the New York State Museum. The wagon was exhibited publicly in 2010 at

the state museum and again in 2012 at the Governor’s exhibit held at the New York State

Capitol building in Albany, NY. Both houses of the New York State Legislature passed

resolutions in 2013 honoring the suffrage wagon’s centennial maiden voyage for

women’s rights on July 1, 1913. The “Spirit of 1776” campaign wagon is considered a

prime artifact of the women’s suffrage movement.

“We’re recognizing the efforts of our ancestors by creating an anthem for women

everywhere to learn and sing together,” said Eighty Bug, the performer and songwriter

who composed and arranged the video’s lyrics and music. Her musical career has

included performances in a variety of styles, including pop, hip hop, soul, R&B, rock,

country, electronica, down tempo, and dance music. She continued: “Just as Americans

fought for freedom from tyranny in 1776 and suffrage activists organized for equality

starting in 1848 at Seneca Falls, NY, we must continue to support our sisters today in the

Middle East, India, Africa, Asia, Europe, North and South America, as well as

throughout the world.”

The music video pays tribute to suffragist Edna Kearns who symbolizes the

combined efforts of tens of thousands of activists across the nation who over a 72-year

period participated in the U.S. women’s suffrage movement in both state campaigns as

well as the final push to win ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

in 1920.

In recent years, eight states have celebrated their centennials of women

winning the vote prior to 1920: Wyoming (1890), Colorado (1893), Utah (1896),

Idaho (1896), Washington (1910), California (1911), Arizona (1912), and Oregon

(1912). Montana and Nevada are observing one hundred years of women voting in

2014 with special events, projects and activities. New York’s centennial celebration

is scheduled for 2017, with Michigan, Oklahoma and South Dakota to follow.

The United States will celebrate its national centennial of women voting in

2020. At that time more people than ever will be aware of the context of the

international suffrage movement following the anticipated release in January 2015

of “Suffragette,” the major motion picture from the UK directed by Sarah Gavron,

written by Abi Morgan, and starring Meryl Streep and Carey Mulligan.

The lyrics of the music video refer to how American women set aside their

struggle for the vote during the Civil War in the U.S. and resumed campaigning with an

intensified effort after the turn of the 20th century in communities large and small

throughout the nation. American suffrage movement activists used the theme of the

“Spirit of 1776” in policy proclamations, speeches, writings, leaflets, and performance


The music video makes the link between young people of today and the work of

young activists 100 years ago. There’s a parallel between the persistence and optimism of

both generations, and the musical production stresses the urgent need today to continue

the unfinished social revolution for equality and social justice. “With the ‘Spirit of 1776’

music video, we hope to share the love, strength and enlightenment of the suffrage

movement with the rest of the world. We’ve performed this song with love for all those

who must continue to fight to be free,” Eighty Bug added.

Staff members Jamie Sue Hiber and Adam England at the Heritage Museum of

Orange County in Santa Ana, California coordinated the museum’s resources and staff

with the video’s production team. “Although American women are no longer organizing

for the vote, the video’s underlying message of unfinished work remains as important

today as it was in the past. It is such an honor for us to be involved in this project,” said

Jamie Sue Hiber, the museum’s events coordinator.

“Spirit of 1776,” a Suffragette Anthem

The women united to free every man

But at last with man’s freedom there still was a lack

Each voice should be heard but only could half

To be free to speak to choose and to laugh

So they stood once again, every misses and girl

They filled up the wagon with banners unfurled 

They paved the way bold for each gal to come

To be treated as one, be you daughter or son

It’s the spirit of freedom that we still fight for

And now just like then we’ll still go door to door

Load up the wagon with signs high on sticks

Come along for the Spirit of Seventeen Seventy Six

After houses were cleaned and the children attended

After dinner was served and the torn things were mended

Without wanting or waiver they gathered together

Suffragette-ing in all kinds of weather.


(1.) Eighty Bug, performer and songwriter, is available to provide information about the “Spirit of

1776” music arrangement and video production at ( For more

information about the filmmakers: (

(2.) Jamie Sue Hiber, Events Coordinator for the Heritage Museum in Santa Ana, California, can

comment on the special features of the Kellogg House used as a set for the “Spirit of 1776” music

“Spirit of 1776” music video for August 26th Women’s Equality Day 4 video. The structure was built in 1898 as a wedding gift from Hiram Kellogg to his wife Helen.

The home’s unique features provide part of the educational programming about Victorian

lifestyles for thousands of school children each year. The museum’s staff volunteered as extras

and resources for the music video production. Hiber can be reached at 714-540-0404, extension

223. (

(3.) Marguerite Kearns, granddaughter of suffragist Edna Buckman Kearns and an information

resource for the “Spirit of 1776” campaign wagon, can be reached at 505-753-9760. The

wagon’s history, photos and other facts are available at her mulit-media blog and web site,

Suffrage Wagon News Channel ( Marguerite can also be reached by


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