1917 November 18

Suffragist Leader Alice Paul, in Hunger Strike, Transferred to Prison Hospital

 

Alice Paul, leader of the militant protests in front of the White House in support of a constitutional amendment granting women the right to vote, was on this day transferred from the prison to the prison hospital. She and several other supporters had begun a hunger strike in the prison, and after 78 days was force-fed on November 8, 1917. Paul had been confined in the psychopathic ward of the prison, and was so weak from the hunger strike that she was transferred to the prison hospital on a stretcher.

Paul managed to smuggle out of the prison a hand-written account of her ordeal. She explained that she had been denied letters, books, visitors, and decent food.

Paul had first organized pickets of the White House in early 1913. as Woodrow Wilson became president. The picketing escalated in 1917, and members of Paul’s group were on several occasions attacked by anti-feminists while the police stood by making no arrests.

Learn about Alice Paul: Jill Zahniser and Amelia Fry, Alice Paul: Claiming Power (2014)

Watch an interview about Alice Paul and President Wilson: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Yn2D1ukQC4

Learn more about Alice Paul: Mary Walton, A Woman’s Crusade: Alice Paul and the Battle for the Ballot (2010)

Read Paul’s Oral History interview: http://content.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/kt6f59n89c/

Watch the film about Alice Paul and her protests: Iron Jawed Angels (2004) (with Hilary Swank as Alice Paul)

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