A Tribute to Womanhood
Welcome to "I Am Woman"...a tribute to all those women who had the courage and perseverance to stand up and fight for their rights. Thanks to those who came before us we enjoy a freedom unknown to women not too long ago. But, sadly, in many parts of the world, women continue to be repressed. In fact, even in this country there are women living today under the threat of violence...completely controlled by a violent spouse. Some may make it; others won't. Hopefully, one day ALL women will be free. May that day come soon.
President Wilson and the 19th Amendment
"We women of America tell you that America is not a democracy. Twenty million women are denied the right to vote."--Alice Paul
Woodrow Wilson was governor of New Jersey when he won the Presidential election in 1912. During the election year he had been undecided on the issue of Woman's Suffrage and refused to take a stand on it. Suffrage activists staged demonstrations and petition drives to try to win the President's attention.
And so it was that throughout the winter of 1917, Alice Paul and her fellow suffragists picketed the White House. They stood silently outside the gates holding signs that said "Mr. President, how long must women wait for liberty?" They wanted President Wilson to support a Constitutional amendment which would give American women the right to vote. At first, the women were largely ignored, but when the United States entered WWI, the suffragists began taunting the president, accusing him of being a hypocrite. Soon, they became an embarrassment to the president and it was decided that the picketing must end..
...the picketers were assaulted both verbally and physically, and police did nothing to protect them. The Suffragists were arrested and sometimes jailed for considerable lengths of time. Some staged hunger strikes and were force-fed. Alice Paul was arrested and put into a mental ward. The Suffragists made headlines around the world, and their stories began to anger many Americans...thus creating even more support for the suffrage amendment. The President could not hold off any longer.
It was on January 9, 1918, that President Wilson finally announced his support for suffrage. The next day, the Susan B. Anthony amendment which would give suffrage to all women citizens, was narrowly passed. Then, on June 4, 1919, the Senate passed the amendment by one vote. In the summer of 1920, August 26th to be exact, the 19th Amendment was ratified and came to pass. Women had won the right to vote. The headlines for the New York times on November 2, 1920 read as follows: "The Greatest Voting Day in History."