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 and contradictions.
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)
Famous Five show:
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
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."
The 2004'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 Wright, Alberta.