Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day - VOTE!

Text originally written by Anna Belle Pfau and found here, where you can read her entire entry.
Once war was declared, public, physical attacks on the Sentinels began to occur. The women refused to relent against the argument that the nation was at war, and women should wait some more. A series of arrests ensued over the next few months, and each time women chose jail time over paying fines. Alice Paul was arrested in October of 1917, and sentenced to seven months for obstructing sidewalk traffic. Paul and many other Silent Sentinels were sent to Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia. There Paul began the hunger strike that nearly cost her life, but which ultimately helped give us the right to vote.
Alarmed at the state of their health, prison officials began to force feed several Sentinels who were striking. With the women strapped down to restrict their movement, sometimes prison officials used a tube to force liquid into their stomachs, sometimes they forced maggot-infested oatmeal or soup into their mouths, then held them closed. Alice Paul had lived through similar force-feedings in England when she had worked with British Suffragists, and thought this new attack was a turning point, as it had been there. But what happened next makes Blatch’s quote at the top of this diary partially untrue. While it’s not often discussed, blood did indeed spill.
Night of Terror 

On November 15, 1917, the Warden of Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia ordered his guards on what is now known as the Night of Terror.
On that night, forty prison guards, police clubs in hand, went on a rampage against the 33 women convicted of “obstructing sidewalk traffic.” They beat Lucy Burn, chaining her hands to the cell bars above her head and left her hanging for the night, bleeding and gasping for air. They smashed Dora Lewis’ 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.
The details of the Night of Terror were the last straw. Public outrage and opposition had been building as news slowly leaked that there were hunger strikes and forced feedings, but everything boiled to a head after the Night of Terror. Everyone, from ordinary folks to politicians in Washington, began to talk about the women and their plight. Demands issued from many quarters that the women be released, which they finally were, on November 27th and 28th of 1917, many after nearly half a year in prison, most in very poor health.  (Continued at the link shown above.)

Here is a Tumblr link with comments about the movie.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Oh, look Toto - we have visitors!