Friday, December 4, 2009

In History: Silent Sentinels

This is the third post in a new weekly feature here at Spare Candy, called "In History." Some posts might be little more than a photo, others full on features. If you have any suggestions for a person or event that should be featured, or would like to submit a guest post or cross post, e-mail me at rosiered23 (at)

Silent Sentinels of Maryland picket the White House for suffrage in early 1917. Suffragettes are shown during the "Maryland Day" picket. A woman on roller skates is in the foreground. A man in a bowler hat is walking in the background. 1917. (source)

If you aren't familiar with Alice Paul, the Silent Sentinels and Lucy Burns, get to reading, because the three could never really be covered in one blog post. (Or get to watching "Iron Jawed Angels.") The three are a huge part of women's suffrage and played a big role (the role?) in getting the Nineteenth Amendment passed.

Paul and Burns established the National Woman's Party. They both were part of the Silent Sentinels, a group of more than 1,000 women who picketed outside the White House for women's right to vote. They were out there every day (except Sundays) from January 1917 to June 1919. Both were arrested and spent time in jail (as did a number of other women), where both went on hunger strikes and were force-fed. Paul authored the first version of the Equal Rights Amendment in 1923 -- which still hasn't been ratified. And this is just the condensed bare-bones version of their work and what they went through. Enough can't be said about what they did and the courage and conviction they exhibited.

Lucy Burns in Occoquan Workhouse, Washington; November 1917 (source)

Alice Paul (source)

Women suffragists picketing in front of the White house. The first picket line - College day in the picket line line, 1917 (source)

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