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Friday, January 11, 2008

Happy Birthday, Alice Paul

Born this day in 1885, Alice Paul was one of the driving forces for American women to gain the right to vote. Ms. Paul was a true suffragette: (a woman who actively campaigns for women to have the right to vote; especially one who takes part in militant protests)
Not many Americans know the full story of women gaining the right to vote in the USA.
We assume Susan B. Anthony gave many speeches and it just magically happened. The history books are very fuzzy on exactly what did happened...
Alice Paul and Lucy Burn is what happened. These young women pushed the envelope.
Forming a separate organization- the National Women's Party. See, Ms. Paul felt that politely writing letters and attending endless meeting was not help the cause of suffrage for women and she was right!
Parades, lobbying Congress, and then staging protests in front of the White house; the NWP truly raised awareness.
Whenever there is change, there is fear and anger. And President Wilson growing weary of the protests that had been going on for about 8 months; decided that having the protesters arrested for obstructing traffic they could "nickle and dimed" out of this idea of protesting- but they refused to pay. Not what the White house expected and the judge had them jailed. IN prison women were striped of their clothing, beaten, denied their rights to a lawyer...the list goes on.
It took time for the public to find out what was happening to these mothers, school teachers, sisters, daughters.
When the story finally got out- there was an out cry. Alice Paul went on a hunger strike.
These are the actions that lead to the passing of the 19th amendment in 1921.
I encourage everyone to read more about Alice Paul. One of America's great women.