An American Suffragist Hero? Really, What Does That Even Mean?

18 Aug

In answer to a Facebook question I recently posed, my close friend Bella told me one of her heroes was Alice Paul.  Alice Paul?  Who is this woman I asked myself &  today I decided to do some research!  So to my very big surprise, this VERY date, August 18, 2010 marks 90 years since Alice Paul forever assisted in changing the U.S. Constitution.

Alice Stokes Paul was an American suffragist leader. (For those of you like me the definition of suffrage is the right to vote, esp. in a political election)  Along with her close friend Lucy Burns and others, she led a successful campaign for women’s suffrage that resulted in the passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1920.

Needless to say, the efforts of Ms. Paul to see that all women have the right to vote did not come easily.  While she picketed for women’s suffrage  she & several others were arrested on the trumped up charge of “obstructing traffic,” and were jailed when they refused to pay the imposed fine.   At one point prison officials removed Paul to a sanitarium in hopes of getting her declared insane.  When news of the prison conditions and hunger strikes became known, the press, some politicians, and the public began demanding the women’s release; sympathy for the prisoners brought many to support the cause of women’s suffrage. 

It was upon her release from prison that Alice Paul rode the surge of goodwill from those who came to her side during her prison stay into victory. 

Bella thank you for sharing your hero with me!  I love Ms. Alice Paul for standing by her conviction that all people are equal! 

To learn more about Ms. Paul’s journey go to

"I never doubted that equal rights was the right direction. Most reforms, most problems are complicated. But to me there is nothing complicated about ordinary equality." -Alice Stokes Paul

2 Responses to “An American Suffragist Hero? Really, What Does That Even Mean?”

  1. Shauna Hiatt August 20, 2010 at 11:03 am #

    This reminds me of how much I take for granted all the things I have because of people like her who research and sift through all the politics to find the truth and fight for what’s right. Equality, special education, health care, and more. I am grateful to these people who care enough to sacrifice their own comfort for someone else’s. Thanks Scott for introducing me to this fabulous hero!

  2. Bella August 20, 2010 at 2:41 pm #

    Thank you for writing this beautiful tribute to one of my favorite women of all time. Even though it’s been 90 years since she was in the news, her relevancy will never be forgotten.

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