If you are a woman and are reading this I certainly hope you have gone to the polls today and voted. The women's right to vote was late in coming, not only in this country but in many others. Of course women still do not have this right in many, many countries today. Women not only marched and spoke out in support of this right that was being withheld from them, they were also jailed, beaten and abused for their stance and their words. If you had been thinking it was all petticoats and pretty words, read the passage below. Then get up and, if you haven't already, go to the polls and exercise the right that these brave women bought for you with their own blood and good names.
Feminist Sonia Pressman Fuentes documents this history in her article on Alice Paul. She includes this re-telling of the story of Occoquan Workhouse's "Night of Terror," November 15, 1917:
Under orders from W. H. Whittaker, superintendent of the Occoquan Workhouse, as many as forty guards with clubs went on a rampage, brutalizing thirty-three jailed suffragists. They beat Lucy Burns, chained her hands to the cell bars above her head, and left her there for the night. They hurled Dora Lewis into a dark cell, smashed her head against an iron bed, and knocked her out cold. Her cellmate Alice Cosu, who believed Mrs. Lewis to be dead, suffered a heart attack. According to affidavits, other women were grabbed, dragged, beaten, choked, slammed, pinched, twisted, and kicked. (source: Barbara Leaming, Katherine Hepburn (New York: Crown Publishers, 1995), 182.)