After hours in libraries and archives, it became clear the Story
of The Five was too big for one telling. So the focus was put
on the "Captain" of the Famous Five, Emily Murphy.
For Ruth, the important thing was to start from the stories themselves.
"I was amazed," she says, "that Emily Murphy, one person, could
do so much and could be steadfastly interested in the welfare
of the world". Ruth saw Emily Murphy as a community builder and
a woman who constantly stuck her nose into things in order to
As an Irish immigrant to Simcoe County, Teresa was curious about
the fact that Emily Murphy had grown up just a few miles away
from where she herself landed. Teresa was impressed by this woman
who broke through many of the absurd barriers women faced in her
"But," says Teresa, "the more I dug into the story, the more
I knew we had to name the racism that was part of first wave feminism
and Canadian history more generally. I also began to wonder what
we could learn from Emily Murphy in all her contradictions. What
will people say of our movements for social justice 75 years from
now? What blinders are we wearing that we don't care to take off?"
At midnight October 18, 1929 Defence Council Rowley told Emily
that she, and all Canadian women, were Persons under the Law.
Neither of them stopped to consider the "women of Canada" did
not include Aboriginal women, nor women who were immigrants from
Asia or Eastern Europe.
In their words and music, Ruth and Teresa paint a compelling
picture of the early days of the women's movement in Canada. Theirs
is part of a longer story of an ongoing rebellion.
It is in that spirit that they leave the last word to Emily who
said, "It is not enough to be a Person. We must get involved.
We must dip down and drink."