Today is the 90th anniversary of the Certification of the 19th amendment. My friend Libby Dorsey shared an email this morning with a reminder of this important anniversary, asking that we remember the day and remember the efforts of those brave women who fought for our voice.
We have had the right the right to
vote for a relatively short time. Many women still do not vote in this country.
So this is just a little reminder of how grateful we should be to those
who went before us...
Remember, it was not until 1920 that women were granted the right to go to the polls and vote. In the years that led up to passing the 19th amendment suffragists demonstrated and protested, even to the point of staging White House protests. In 1917 a group of suffragists were arrested in Washington DC and jailed for carrying signs and banners asking for the vote.
The warden at the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia was incensed because they dared to picket Woodrow Wilson's White House. He ordered his guards to teach a lesson to the imprisoned suffragists.
By the end of the Night of Terror (Nov 15, 1917)
many of the suffragists 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.
For weeks, the women's only water came from an open pail. Their food--all of it colorless slop--was infested with worms.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.
HBO's movie 'Iron Jawed Angels (2004) is a graphic depiction of the battle these women waged so that we can could pull the curtain at the polling booth and have our say.
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. We need to get out and vote. Especially these days. We need to exercise this right that was fought so hard for by these very courageous women. Whether you vote democratic, republican or independent party - remember to vote.