Saturday, December 31, 2016
I’m a member of a private fan page on Facebook and one of the members has taken it upon himself to make the world know about the story of Ruth Blay, a nineteenth-century woman from New Hampshire who was executed due to hiding the body of her stillborn son. He has personally bought 9 books and ships them to other fans, which in turn then ships them to others. I was so impressed, I bought one (you can find it here) to read and then do the same. He asked that I write about why we are doing this in the book and below is what I wrote on the 248th Anniversary of her execution.
It can be hard grasping how much humanity has changed in such a short time over history. Ten years ago, equality in marriage seemed an impossible dream, 60 years ago segregation ruled the land, 120 years ago Irish need not apply, 160 years ago owning a slave was a Constitutional protected right and 248 years ago a young woman hid the body of her stillborn child because she was afraid of the consequences of having an illegitimate child that had died during childbirth, a fear that was justified – as the body would be found and she would be executed.
Simple put, Ruth Blay was failed by her community and the laws that governed the citizens of her time. And while what happened to Ruth would not be repeated in America today, around the world similar “crimes and punishments” are dealt with daily. Unfortunately, we do live in a world that is still heavily misogynist, that can and does still punish women for being women.
Mark Cancelada started sharing Ruth’s story with a twofold purpose. To remind us of the continuing struggles of women, now and though out history and to inspire Brandi Carlile to write and/or sing about Ruth’s story.
After reading the book, please continue to share Ruth’s story by forwarding it to the next person in line. Don’t forget to write your name and date on the cover, post a picture of it and the book on Facebook and Bramily – and #RememberRuthBlay