August 26, 2013 marks the 93rd anniversary of the 19th amendment that “gave” women the right to vote. The word “gave” is so set off because for 72 years, from 1848 until 1920, women fought relentlessly to make this happen. So it was not a “gift” in any sense of the word.
It certainly wasn’t a gift to the many women who spent long winter days standing on the picket lines in front of the White House, or who were jailed and lived through the November 15, 1917 “Night of Terror” at the Occoquan workhouse, where Alice Paul was brutally force-fed (just the first) and others stood with their arms handcuffed above their heads in their cells.
It wasn’t a gift to Susan B. Anthony, Carrie Chapman Catt, or many others who dedicated the bulk of their lives to the cause, or to Inez Millholland, who collapsed while giving a speech about women’s rights in Los Angeles in 1916 and died just days later. Her last public words were, “Mr. President, how long must women wait for liberty?”
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