Thursday, November 15, 2012

November 15: Night of Terror

On this date in History .... 1917:

“The Night of Terror” describes what happened to suffragettes when they,(as it was put by the prison warden at the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia), “dared to picket the Wilson White House” for the right to vote. 40 prison guards were armed with clubs and ordered by their warden to attack the 33 women and “teach them a lesson” for “obstructing sidewalk traffic”.

·         Lucy Burns was beaten and chained by her hands to the upper bars of her prison door all night long, bleeding and gasping for air.

·         Dora Lewis (roughly 55 yrs old) was hurled into a cell where she smashed her head against the steel bed so hard that her cell roommate thought she was dead.

·         When Alice Paul went on a hunger strike, she was tied to a chair, had a tube shoved down her throat and liquid poured down her throat until she vomited.  She endured this for weeks until word was smuggled out of the prison to the press.

For weeks, the only water these women had came from an open pail and their food was filled with worms.   Woodrow Wilson tried to get Alice Paul declared insane but for some reason the doctor refused to go along.  The doctor said she was strong and brave but that didn’t make her crazy.  It is depicted in an HBO movie that the doctor admonished the men by telling them, “Courage in women is often mistaken for insanity.”j
These women braved these kinds of atrocities for the end result of having the 19th amendment passed in 1920, giving women the right to vote.

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