This is the story of our Mothers and Grandmothers who lived only 90 years ago.
Remember, it was not until 1920 that women were granted the right to go to the polls and vote.
The women were innocent and defenseless, but they were jailed nonetheless for picketing the White House, carrying signs asking for the vote.
And by the end of the night, they were barely alive. Forty prison guards wielding clubs and their warden’s blessing went on a rampage against the 33 women wrongly convicted of
‘obstructing sidewalk traffic’.
They beat Lucy Burns, chained her hands to the cell bars above her head and left her hanging for the night, bleeding and gasping for air.
They hurled Dora Lewis into a dark cell, smashed her head against an iron bed and knocked her out cold. Her cellmate, Alice Cosu, thought Lewis was dead and suffered a heart attack. Additional
affidavits describe the guards grabbing, dragging,
beating, choking, slamming, pinching, twisting and kicking the women.
Thus unfolded the ‘Night of Terror’ on Nov. 15, 1917, when the warden at the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia ordered his guards to teach a lesson to the suffragists imprisoned there because they dared to picket Woodrow Wilson’s White House for the right to vote. For weeks, the
women’s only water came from an open pail.
Their food–all of it colorless slop–was infested with terrible vermin.
When one of the leaders, Alice Paul, embarked on a hunger strike, they tied her to a chair, forced a tube down her throat and poured liquid into her until she vomited. She was tortured like this for weeks until word was smuggled out to the press.
So, refresh my memory. Some women won’t vote this year because — -why, exactly? We have carpool duties? We have to get to work? Our
vote doesn’t matter? It’s raining?
(Mrs. Pauline Adams in the prison garb she wore while serving a sixty-day sentence.)
Last week, a friend of mine went to a sparsely attended screening of HBO’s new movie ‘Iron Jawed Angels.’ It is a graphic depiction of the battle these women waged so that I could pull the curtain at the polling booth and have my say. I am ashamed to say I needed the reminder.
(Miss Edith Ainge, of Jamestown, New York)
kept coming back to my friend as she watched that movie,’ she said. ‘What would those women think of the way I use, or don’t use, my right to vote? All of us take it for granted now, not just younger women,
but those of us who did seek to learn.’ The right to vote, she said, had become valuable to her ‘all over again.’
HBO released the movie on video and DVD . I wish all history, social studies and government teachers would include the movie in their curriculum. I want it shown on Bunco night, too, and anywhere else
women gather. I realize this isn’t our usual idea of
socializing, but we are not voting in the numbers that we should be, and I think a little shock therapy is in order.
(Conferring over ratification [of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution] at [National Woman’s Party]
headquarters, Jackson Pl[ace] [Washington, D.C.]. L-R Mrs. Lawrence Lewis, Mrs. Abby Scott Baker, Anita Pollitzer, Alice Paul, Florence Boeckel, Mabel Vernon (standing, right))
It is jarring to watch Woodrow Wilson and his cronies try to persuade a psychiatrist to declare Alice Paul insane so that she could be permanently
institutionalized. And it is inspiring to watch the doctor refuse. Alice Paul was strong, he said, and brave. That didn’t make her crazy. The doctor admonished the men: ‘Courage in women is often mistaken for insanity.’
Please, if you are so inclined, pass this on to all
the women you know. We need to get out and vote and use this right that was fought so hard for by these very courageous women. Whether you vote democratic, republican or independent party – remember to vote.
(Helena Hill Weed, Norwalk, Conn. Serving 3 day sentence in D.C. prison for carrying banner, ‘Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed.’)
- How to Grow Business with Local Paid Advertising – Online - January 2, 2018
- Wow! Just Wow. - September 15, 2017
- Dear America - November 10, 2016
Rachel Henke says
Great post. Wow you put a ton of work into that. I appreciate it and will share with pleasure.
Long live women’s independence!
Is there any way to post this to Facebook. Really excellent article and reminder..
Jennifer Cohen says
What a great site this is and what wonderful pictures you have posted. Thank you for sharing Women’s Voting Rights with all women young and mature. Sisters in strength and love.
Mary Jane Hurley Brant says
How proud to see women of guts who paved the way for we who have followed. It’s a great blessing that we as women not only have earned, we’ve always deserved. I love to vote and I take it seriously and never for granted. I also think our courage and strength can grow with each lever we pull; with each battle we win.
Thank you for this inspiring post.
The original author of this piece is a women named CONNIE Schultz. She is a syndicated columnist. So many women have been touched by this story. I am so glad I was finally able to share with you, the original author.
marion mayfield says
I’ve sent this on to a lot of my women friends, in hopes they will make the effort to vote in the next election. We must never forget the sacrifices made by these women who insisted we have the same rights as the men!
Richard Swinney says
Thank God, women have came a long way, but there’s more road to travel.
Pauline Adams was my great great grandmother!
Terri Stuhltrager says
I’ve shared this amazing post on my Facebook page with ALL my friends Male and Female!
Remember”The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world” Women we need to Rock the vote.
Brenda Willis Scholin says
Thank you again for this reminder of the VALUE of each VOTE. Our precious Nita McLennan Hornbeck (dual member of Austin and Georgetown, TX branches for many years) made viewing the movie “Iron Jawed Angels” available in her home. Seventeen of us were able to gather and be reawakened to the struggles and trials our foremothers endured in order to gain the vote for females in these United States of America — only 93 years ago. It is more important than ever that women exercise their right (and obligation) to vote in every election.~Brenda