Stories and songs celebrating courage, tenacity and dreams. Stories
and songs questioning policies and practices. Stories and songs
demonstrating the energy and persistence of a person who changed
the country we live in today.
Originally performed at the Library and Archives of Canada for
the International Woman's Day celebration 'She Pushed From Behind'
tells the story of Emily Murphy in word and song. This is a story
of her life, and the changes she wrought on the Canadian social
and legal scene. Emily Murphy had a dramatic effect on life in Canada
today. She was an author, a prohibitionist, the first female magistrate
in the British Empire, and a reformer of hospitals, institutions
and prisons. She was a most determined woman.
Emily's first foray into the political world was to protect women's
property rights. She successfully championed the Dower’s Act 1911
and the Married Woman’s Act 1911. In 1929, Emily and a group of
her friends (The Famous Five) were successful in having women recognized
as 'persons under the law' in Canada. The Person’s Case Decision,
October 18, 1929 changed laws throughout the British empire.
Both Ruth Stewart-Verger, a seasoned teller, and Teresa Healy,
a singer-songwriter, researched Emily's writings and legacy. They
weave together the various threads of Emily Murphy in story, music,
and original songs telling her life story, its challenges, achievements
CUPE National Researchers (June 9)
Yarker Tea Room (June 27)
Winchester United Church (July 8)
Library and Archives Canada (August 22)
Trent University (September)
Algonquin College (November 1)
Ottawa Storytelling Festival (November)
Library and Archives of Canada (October 18)
After the performance of this show at the Library and Archives of
Canada on Monday October 18, 2004...
Frances Wright, founder of the Famous Five Foundation,
invited Ruth and Teresa to be her guests at the 25th Anniversary
Governor General's Awards in Commermoration of the Person Case.
After the ceremony, Frances presented a copy of their CD to Adrienne
Clarkson, the Governor-General, and the six other women who,
with Frances, received the Persons Award on October 21 at Rideau
In the words
of the Governor-General, "That our society took so long to
formally recognize the full humanity of women is sad and ridiculous;
that the full participation and emancipation of all women, of
all backgrounds, has yet to be achieved is a great national challenge."
This year's Governor
Generals' Persons Awards recipients are: Allison Brewer,
Iqualuit; Lea Cousineau, Montreal; Huberte Gautreau,
New Brunswick; Bonnie Sherr Klein, British Columbia; Chi
Nguyen, Ontario; Rosemary Speirs, Ontario; Frances