Patty Cook didn’t know the speech well before she agreed to perform it.
In fact, “I’d never heard of it,” she said.
That’s part of why she’s excited to share it Tuesday as part of a new event put on by The Richland Players — to bring it to the attention of a modern audience.
“It opens your eyes to understand where women were (at the time), how they felt,” Cook said. “It’s an important speech.”
Called The Solitude of Self, it was given by women’s suffrage leader Elizabeth Cady Stanton in 1892.
It’s been called a “rhetorical masterpiece” — an eloquent missive on women’s rights. Stanton delivered it at age 76, as she retired from the National American Woman Suffrage Association.
Cook will perform it at 2 p.m. July 4 as part of the Players’ first-ever Patriotic Speeches in The Parkway.
The event is free, with donations accepted. It’ll be held outside the Players’ theater, 608 The Parkway.
Along with Cook’s performance, actor Bill McMahon will give Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address and Ted Miller will sing Yankee Doodle Dandy.
Christina Humann, a member of the Players board, said the theater group hopes to make the event an annual affair.
It won’t last too long — about 45 minutes, she said. A shade tent and chairs will be set up and water will be offered.
“Come out and have a good time,” Humann said. “Take a quick break in the day to learn a little bit of history.”
Cook, president of the Players board, will perform Stanton’s speech in costume. She’s even preparing a period-appropriate hairstyle.
She hopes Tri-Citians embrace the event.
“It’s something other than fireworks and barbecues that people can go to and say, ‘I didn’t know that. I hadn’t heard that before,’” Cook said.
Along with Patriotic Speeches in The Parkway, several other Fourth of July activities are planned around the Mid-Columbia.
Pasco and Kennewick both have full-day celebrations and festivities also are planned in Benton City and Prosser. Read more here: tinyurl.com/tcheraldfourth.