Saturday, September 6, 2008

I received an email this morning that brought me to tears, overcome with the emotion of generations of women who have been foring the trail of eqity. I had already heard the story and even watched the movie mntioned in the story below. But I was reminded of their great sacrfice, and moved to sharethis with a wider audience.

I don't know who wrote the original email and put the photos in as visual reminders. I am greatful to her, whoever she is. Below is my edited version.

WHY WOMEN SHOULD VOTE

This is the story of our Grandmothers and Great-grandmothers; they 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.


(Lucy Burns)

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.




(Dora Lewis)



They hurled Dora Lewis into a dark cell, smashed her head against an iron bed and knocked her out cold. Her cell mate, 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 worms.

(Alice Paul)

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.

Much of this is depicted in HBO's movie 'Iron Jawed Angels,' which is now on video and DVD. In the movie, Woodrow Wilson and his cronies try to persuade a psychiatrist to declare Alice Paul insane so that she could be permanently institutionalized. The doctor refused, saying, 'Courage in women is often mistaken for insanity.'

1 comment:

Virginia Harris said...

Read this for your daughters!

Senator Clinton and Governor Palin are proof that women can and do diverge on important issues.

Even on the question of whether women should vote!

Most people are totally in the dark about HOW the suffragettes won votes for women, and what life was REALLY like for women before they did.

Suffragettes were opposed by many women who were what was known as 'anti.'

The most influential 'anti' lived in the White House. First Lady Edith Wilson was a wealthy Washington widow who married President Wilson in 1915.

Her role in Wilson's decision to jail and torture Alice Paul and hundreds of other suffragettes will never be fully known, but she was outraged that these women picketed her husband's White House.

I'd like to share a women's history learning opportunity...

"The Privilege of Voting" is a new free e-mail series that follows eight great women from 1912 - 1920 to reveal ALL that happened to set the stage for women to win the vote.

It's a real-life soap opera! And it's ALL true!

Poerful suffragettes Alice Paul and Emmeline Pankhurst are featured, along with TWO gorgeous presidential mistresses, First Lady Edith Wilson, Edith Wharton, Isadora Duncan and Alice Roosevelt.

There are tons of heartache on the rocky road to the ballot box, but in the end, women WIN!

Thanks to the suffragettes, women have voices and choices!

Exciting, sequential episodes are great to read on coffeebreaks, or anytime.

Subscribe free at

www.CoffeebreakReaders.com/subscribe.html