Some are willing to die for what they believe in.
Enter Inez Milholland, a Wonder Woman dressing the part years before William Moulton Marston put a crown and cape on Diana Prince.
A raven headed woman, 27 years old with a crown and flowing cape on a white horse — makes way through a crowd of men.
A crowd of protesting men that have just spat, thrown cigar butts, slapped and pulled down to the ground the elegant female marchers from around the world that came to demand the right to vote during the first Women’s Suffrage Procession down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House on March 3, 1913.
The procession was the day before President Woodrow Wilson’s inauguration, it drew 8,000 women from the US, along with women from Finland, New Zealand, and Australia who already had the right to vote. The women marched along with ten bands, twenty parade floats and four mounted brigades in a peaceful march (until that moment) amidst 500,000 people. The first Women’s March. The white horse Inez rode on was named Omen.
This unruly, obstructive, undignified behavior by the protesting men illuminated the cause of suffrage in the press and public, shining a light out to the world about the cause.
Know her name. Make her visible. Uncover our history.
A prominent New York lawyer, speaker, organizer and popular face of the movement, Inez was known as a fierce suffragist speaking with passion, flair, and clarity. Along with the leader of the National Woman’s Party, Alice Paul, they continued to push to get the President’s attention and support after the procession.
Nine states in 30 days, 50 speeches. Objective: encourage women of the West (California, Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah) who had already secured the vote to boycott and get the attention of President Wilson.
At a breakneck pace, Inez was persistent, poised and powerful at the podium. Fevered and weak, she spoke fiercely at every stop. But no one but her family saw the suffering she was going through to ensure the vote for women was secured.
“Mr. President, how long must women wait for liberty?”
During this passionate sentence, Inez passed out plagued with pernicious anemia at the podium at Blanchard Hall in Los Angeles on October 23, 1916.
Inez died three weeks later at the Los Angeles Good Samaritan Hospital at young age of 30, after her last speech in a lightning tour across the United States to fight for the women’s right to vote. This was front page news across the country. Suffrage Leader Dies of Anemia in Los Angeles Hospital Early Sunday.
She was the first woman to have a memorial of her death held at Statuary Hall in the US Capitol. It was one of many memorials attended by thousands.
Inez’s death spurned the movement forward for her and the suffragettes work to continue. Picketers stood and held banners of Inez’s words — “Mr. President, how long must women wait for liberty?” in front of the White House for 17 months; they were arrested, imprisoned. They went on hunger strike (some for weeks) and were then strapped down and force-fed by prison guards, some nearly died. Photos in the press created public outrage.
72 years, yes 72 years. A lifetime.
Of fighting, writing, knocking on neighbors doors, printing pamphlets, imprisonment, marching, speaking, traveling, hunger strikes, force-feedings, planning, training, cajoling and dealing with the opposition from the liquor, railroad and other big industries by thousands of women and men finally gained women the right to vote.
From the first Women’s Convention in 1848 in Seneca Falls, NY where Elizabeth Cady Stanton read the Declaration of Sentiments.
To the right for women to vote being granted on August 26, 1920. 1,370 days after Inez death.
Brooklyn-born on August 6, 1886. Today should be Inez Milholland Day.
Forward, out of error
Leave behind the night
Forward through the darkness
Forward into light!
Some are willing to die for what they believe in.
Someone died for the right to vote.
Vote and when you do remember Inez. And the shoulders of giants we stand on.
How do we celebrate the 100 year anniversary of #19thAmendment — the road to 2020, Aug 26th?
We remember. We say their names. We make them visible.
To learn more about Inez Milholland:
Forward Into The Light, Inez Milholland, a beautiful film by Martha Wheelock. www.wildwestwomen.org
Inez Milholland Centennial - http://inezmilhollandcentennial.com/inez.html
Inez Milholland, a sister site of Wild West Productions — http://inezmilholland.org/inez-sentinel/
A great article with many photos of the day from The Atlantic, Alan Taylor, MAR 1, 2013 — https://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2013/03/100-years-ago-the-1913-womens-suffrage-parade/100465/
With much respect to Zoe Nicholson and Martha Wheelock who have been teaching me about a history that I should already have known.
I am formulating a project for the 100 year anniversary of the 19th amendment in 2020. Let me know if you are interested in being involved. More to come on Sunday August 26, 2018.
Written by Head Maven & CEO, Heather Newman, Creative Maven
Want more Maven Moments? Once a month we share where to find Heather in the world and the most “maven/expert” opinions on marketing, brand, travel, music, and culture that we like from the internet.