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Leaguers celebrate "Warriors for Democracy" women's history

Ann Patton | Published on 5/11/2022


Our Warriors for Democracy book was center stage at the new Winter Park Library May 7, in an LWVOC Mother’s Day forum and book signing celebrating women’s history.


The event was headlined “Stirring Stories of Strong Women, A Mother's Day Salute to Our Foremothers and the Future.”


Speakers were Linda Chapin, Martha O. Haynie, “Susan B. Anthony” (Joan Erwin), and “Sojourner Truth” (Mary Graham-Lawrence).


Linda Chapin, who was Orange County’s first mayor, spoke in commemoration of Mother’s Day and the LWVOC’s upcoming 83rd birthday on May 15. She recounted “stirring stories … of our mothers and our foremothers, …women who battled across generations to win and protect our precious right to vote…


“Change can happen, it has happened, and we just need to keep our eyes on the prize,” Chapin said.


Joan Erwin, History Committee co-chair, presented in the character of Susan B. Anthony.  “Your history books often refer to the notion that in 1920 women were ‘granted’ the right to vote,” she said.  “Let me tell you, that expression overlooks the reality that thousands of women fought, suffered and devoted their lives to this cause for almost a hundred years before the Constitution was amended to give women -- and even then, it was SOME women -- the vote.”


Dr. Mary Graham Lawrence, an educator, was in character speaking as Sojourner Truth. “I was born into slavery (and) nine years old when I was sold away from my family for $10 -- and that price included a flock of sheep,” she said. She and her little daughter escaped and successfully won back her enslaved little son. “I got involved in the righteous causes that I worked on for the rest of my life…fighting AGAINST slavery and FOR the rights of women.”


Marty Haynie, retired Orange County comptroller, said we tend to think that once we have a right, it will be there forever.  “But today, an important health care choice that has been guaranteed to women in this country for 50 years is about to be effectively stripped away by the Supreme Court. Every facet of our lives is affected by decisions made by our government.” 


Haynie stressed the urgency of voting. “Please do not think that your vote doesn’t matter. Who you vote for in every election at every level matters, and there are too many instances to recount when a handful of votes has changed history. You may not think you have to pay attention to politics, but politics is paying attention to you!”


Chapin, who wrote the afterword for the book, and author Ann Patton signed copies of Warriors for Democracy after the presentation.


LWVOC’s Sue Foreman video-transmitted the program on the LWVOC’s Facebook page. A recorded video is available on


Writer’s Block Bookstores co-sponsored the event and has established special displays of our book. Writer’s Block is selling copies. A portion of the proceeds benefits the LWVOC.


You can pick up copies of Warriors for Democracy at two stores:

Writer’s Block Bookstores

316 N. Park Ave., Winter Park


32 W. Plant St., Winter Garden


For more information about Warriors for Democracy, see or contact Joan Erwin, History Committee co-chair,