Category Archives: White House Picketing

Watch a suffrage story on video and share your suffrage story

Did you know about the picketing of the White House by suffragists? This is a story we can’t tell often enough. The headquarters of the National Woman’s Party in Washington, DC (aka the Sewall-Belmont House & Museum) has prepared this video using some archival images many people have not seen.

These wonderful and energetic folks at the Sewall-Bemont House & Museum have launched a virtual campaign called “Share Your Story. Save HerStory.” It’s precisely the kind of campaign that builds leadership through stories of the suffrage movement, which is the mission of Suffrage Wagon News Channel.

Contact Elisabeth Crum at 202-546-1210 ext, 17, or send her an email with your answers to the following questions: “Why is woman suffrage important to you? Why will you vote this year? Who are the women (past and present) who inspire you to vote? What do you think women should know about the WNP and how will that move them to vote in 2012?” Stories will be collected as blog posts, video, Facebook, and Twitterview. For more information.

I’ll be participating in the story campaign. What about you? Stay up to date with news and stories of the suffrage movement: suffragewagon.org

Alice Paul: the most overlooked civil rights leader of the 20th century!

Alice Paul is finally getting the recognition she deserves. Yet, during her lifetime she wasn’t interested in glory. She kept her eye on the prize: women’s rights and the vote. This video fills in a great deal. And keep in mind that author Mary Walton never heard of Alice Paul before a newspaper editor brought Paul to her attention. Meanwhile, this interview highlights where Walton calls Paul “the most overlooked civil rights leader of the 20th century.”

Congressional Gold Medal for suffragist Alice Paul?

Alice Paul, suffragist.

This week U.S. Congressman Joe Baca (D-Rialto) re-introduced legislation in the House of Representatives to award the Congressional Gold Medal to suffragist Alice Paul.  The Alice Paul Women’s Suffrage Congressional Gold Medal Act officially recognizes Paul’s role in the women’s suffrage movement and in advancing equal rights for women. Make sure your congressional representatives are aware of this legislation, that they support it, and move it forward to passage.

Rep. Baca first introduced legislation to award Alice Paul the Congressional Gold Medal in 2005.  His legislation garnered near unanimous, bipartisan support in the 110th Congress with 406 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives.  This is the most co-sponsor support in history for any Congressional Gold Medal act.  Unfortunately, the legislation was not brought up for a vote in the U.S. Senate.  Since then, Rep. Baca has reintroduced the legislation in both the 111th Congress and the current 112th Congress.

Alice Paul spearheaded the effort to pass the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, granting all American women the right to vote. Her courage inspired thousands of women to join the women’s suffrage movement. She was among the first group to ever picket the White House and later embarked on a three-week hunger strike with her fellow suffragists when they were arrested for their cause. Alice Paul drafted the Equal Rights Amendment in 1923 and fought tirelessly for its passage until her death in 1977.

Rep. Jon Runyan (R-NJ), who represents Paul’s home state of New Jersey in the U.S. Congress, is the lead Republican sponsor of the legislation.

Suffragists Invented Modern Tactics?

Mary Walton’s recent book, A Woman’s Crusade: Alice Paul and the Battle for the Ballot, has been introducing many people to the woman’s suffrage movement. In the mid-1990s, Walton had never heard of Alice Paul when her editor at the Philadelphia Inquirer suggested that she write a book on Paul and her contribution to American history. In the conclusion to her book, Walton noted: “The legal precedents set by the Woman’s Party protected later generations who took their protests for civil rights, an end to the Vietnam  War, and other causes to the streets, sidewalks and parks around the White House and the Capitol. But more than that, Paul and her party virtually invented the modern tactics of nonviolent civil disobedience that those later protestors would use.”

It might be exaggerating the point to say that the suffragists “invented” modern tactics, but they certainly stretched the boundaries of actions commonly associated with civil disobedience.

Put on a Pair of Kickstarting Boots and Pledge!

I need you to pledge to fund the completion of the film project I started last year. There’s a goal of $5,000 for polishing the editing, adding some more material, and getting the news out into the world. No money changes hands until we’ve reached the goal in early June. A lot of work has gone into this so far. And BTW, the Kickstarter boots are in your size!

Sticks and Stones Didn’t Break Their Bones

The advocates of Votes for Women were criticized, called all sorts of names, attacked by onlookers when they marched in parades. They persisted, even when some of their friends suggested that picketing the White House and Congress might be ill advised. Although my grandmother Edna didn’t go to jail (she would have, if not for her fragile health), she supported those who went to jail, stood their ground and suffered the consequences because they believed that they couldn’t count on President Woodrow Wilson to rally the necessary political support for a constitutional amendment. At times they were down to requiring only one or two votes to move the amendment to the next stage of passage. Mary Nolan was the oldest picket at the White House who at age 75, hailed from Florida. She said during her trial: “I am guilty if there is any guilt in the demand for freedom.”

Important Dates to Celebrate This Month:

February 4, 1913 – Birth day for Rosa Parks, the “Mother of the Civil Rights Movement”
February 12, 1912 – Juliette Gordon Low established the American Girl Guides, forerunner of the Girl Scouts of America
February 15, 1820 – Susan B. Anthony’s birthday
February 27, 1922 – The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which guaranteed women the right to vote

Is Anyone Paying Attention?

In the past, not all feedback about the idea of women voting was negative. Many prominent people put themselves on the line, including Walter Clark, chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court. He wrote to suffrage leader Alice Paul toward the end of the national suffrage campaign to pass the 19th amendment: “Your place in History is assured. There were politicians, and a large degree of public sentiment, which could be won only by the methods you adopted.” Justice Clark was referring to the direct action taken by Alice Paul and the National Woman’s Party, which at the time was extremely controversial. Nowadays we take the civil rights movement to expand the franchise for granted. At the time it polarized people, as well as brought them together.