January 1, 1910 : American suffragist Alice Paul has now recovered sufficiently from her hunger strike and force-feedings in London's Holloway Jail that she was able to talk about her plans for the future today. She has served three terms in prison here for her suffrage activities, the latest of which was a 30-day sentence for a disturbance she made at the Lord Mayor's banquet at the Guildhall on November 9th. She and another woman got in early, by disguising themselves as charwomen, and when Prime Minister Asquith paused during a speech, she called out "How about votes for women ?" She was quickly tried and sentenced, and immediately began a hunger strike. On November 11th the twice-a-day force-feedings began.
On December 9th she was released, and has been recovering since then. But today her doctor said she was well enough to go out, and to give interviews. She is still an enthusiastic supporter of woman suffrage, as well as the militant tactics employed by the Pankhursts and the Women's Social and Political Union, and feels that these actions will eventually result in British women being able to vote.
She said today that she plans to go back to the U.S. next week, and continue her studies. But Americans will not be absent from the ranks of the British militants. Lucy Burns, a Vassar graduate, whom she met at a police station after both were arrested, is still quite active here, and is not yet planning a return to the U.S.
Though Alice Paul says she is not planning to become active in the American suffrage movement at present, it's unlikely that anyone with her sense of purpose and commitment will be able to stay away from the action for too long. And though the U.S. suffrage movement is considerably less militant than the one here, it has become much bolder in the past few years. Open-air, street corner meetings, begun in New York just two years and one day ago, have now become accepted, and the idea of women talking to crowds of men on the street no longer seems shocking. Even suffrage parades and marches, unheard of until the first small one two years ago, seem destined to become a part of the revitalized struggle.
New organizations, such as Harriot Stanton Blatch's Equality League of Self-Supporting Women (which caused a controversy when it invited Emmeline Pankhurst to speak at Carnegie Hall on October 25th), and Carrie Chapman Catt's Woman Suffrage Party of Greater New York, an overtly political group launched four days later, show that there are definite signs the suffrage movement is evolving. Hopefully, after Alice Paul completes her studies upon returning home, she will become a prominent part of that evolutionary process.
January 1, 1919 : In keeping with their insistence on deeds, not words, from political leaders, National Woman's Party members today lit a "Watch Fire of Freedom" in an urn in front of the White House fence, using copies of speeches made by President Wilson on his current European tour as fuel.
Though Wilson finally endorsed the Susan B. Anthony (nationwide woman suffrage) Amendment last January 9th, and made a speech on September 30th asking the Senate to approve it, those mere words have not enfranchised any women. His choice to go off to Europe to promote democracy in other nations while his own Democratic Party still blocks approval of the Anthony Amendment in the Senate is why the National Woman's Party staged today's protest. They will continue these demonstrations until Wilson's words of support for democracy are matched by the deed of getting two Senate Democrats to change their votes, finish the process of Congressional approval (it was passed by the House on January 10th) and send the Anthony Amendment to the States for ratification.
Today's protest ceremony began when a bell at nearby National Woman's Party headquarters tolled, while Dora Lewis and Edith Ainge consigned the first speech to the flames. As they did so, a large banner was unfurled, questioning President Wilson's commitment to the cause of democracy.
Next to the banner was an N.W.P. tricolor of purple, white and gold, held by several party members. A small piece of wood from a tree standing in Independence Square in Philadelphia, and symbolizing America's historic quest for liberty, gave additional nourishment to the flames. The crowd became increasingly large and hostile, until finally a group of soldiers and sailors rushed forward and overturned the urn. But torches carried by N.W.P. members were quickly lighted from the embers and held aloft.
Later, in Lafayette Square, an even larger urn was alighted and police then rushed over to arrest Alice Paul, Julia Emory, Rose Conlan and Edith Ainge. They were taken to the police station, then released without bail. After release, they went to the sidewalk in front of the White House, where Alice Paul and the others spent the rest of the evening tending the Watch Fire and giving speeches to those who gathered in the sometimes-drenching rain.
January 2, 1892 : Controversy rages today over co-education at the American Medical College in St. Louis, Missouri, the only medical school in the area that admits women. An attempt by the male students to oust the 17 female students has had quite the opposite effect from what was intended. A petition was drawn up a few weeks ago and signed by virtually every male student asking the Dean to rid the school of the female students, considered by the boys to be a handicap to the profession. The Dean pocketed the petition and made no further mention of it.
After becoming impatient with Dean Younkin's lack of action, a committee was then appointed by the boys to demand a response to their petition. They got it. The Dean said that he would in no way consider granting their request, however he would give the petition signers the courtesy of allowing those who chose to withdraw their names from it to remain in college. All but sixteen took him up on his offer, and those sixteen who refused have been expelled. Dean Younkin is being supported by only one other faculty member, while the rest are siding with the boys, but the Dean is fully determined to stand fast. The college was founded in 1873, and the first woman to graduate from there did so four years ago in 1888.
January 2, 1910 : A huge, enthusiastic and colorful rally was held tonight in Carnegie Hall to support the women striking against New York City's shirtwaist manufacturers. Though 251 employers have now come to terms with their union since the citywide walkout began six weeks ago, six thousand of the city's 30,000 shirtwaist workers are still on strike until their employers agree to recognize their union and its demand for decent wages, improved working conditions and a 52-hour week.
The principal difficulty the pickets encounter was graphically illustrated as 350 women crowded on stage, each with a wide strip of paper pinned to their clothing that said "Arrested." There were many more in the audience similarly labeled. In the front rank of those on stage were about 20 who carried placards that said "Workhouse," indicating that they had served time there for "the cause."
Those at the meeting adopted a resolution declaring that : "A large number of police officers and several Magistrates have dealt with the strikers in a spirit of revolting partisanship, unfairness and cruelty. The police on many occasions have utterly failed to protect the legal rights of the strikers or to interfere in their behalf when they have been insulted or even assaulted ; they have refused to arrest the offenders when strikers have been maltreated in their presence, and in many cases have arrested and assaulted victims instead.
"Before the Magistrates' courts the strikers and their pickets have in many instances been convicted upon insufficient evidence, and even against the preponderance of evidence ; upon conviction harsh sentences have in some cases, notably those coming before Messrs. Cornell and Barlow, been imposed upon them ; these sentences have been accompanied by injudicial denunciation, exhibiting a prejudiced and vindictive mind .... The office of Magistrate has thus been perverted into an instrument of persecution and oppression."
The resolution concluded by saying that : "We bring thus openly and publicly these abuses to the attention of all constituted authorities, demanding that the lawful rights of the strikers be as efficiently protected as the rights of the employers and strike breakers."
Morris Hillquit was typical of those who praised the courage and dedication of the strikers :
"Often the prison pen to which martyrs in a great cause are sent does not turn out to be a place of disgrace, but rather a place of glory. So tonight we honor these sisters over there for what they have done for the cause. These girls were the most ill-paid of all unskilled workers in the city. The shops were, for the most part, filthy and depressing. The employers treated the girls rudely, and often cruelly. The conditions finally became so unbearable that a long-suffering sex, the daughters of a long-suffering race, rose up together and adopted for their defense the only weapon they saw at hand. It has been one of the most wonderful demonstrations that I know of in recent industrial history. Be of good cheer, sisters. You are not alone in your fight. Your victory will be glorious."
This was just the kind of evening the strikers needed to boost their spirits as the worst of the shirtwaist companies continue to dig in their heels and refuse to negotiate, while police, Magistrates, and the employers' hired thugs make the lives of the women on the picket line as miserable as possible.
But this unprecedented uprising of New York's women workers has already unionized most of the city's shirtwaist companies, generated a good deal of publicity about the plight of working women, solidified the bond between labor and the suffrage movement, and brought out many of the city's most powerful citizens in support of its least powerful. Though total victory has not yet been achieved in even this single industry in just one city, the events of the past six weeks certainly show how much can be done to advance the rights of women - and all workers - if they are willing to fight for them.
January 3, 1918 : Two major pro-suffrage efforts today, both of which are greatly needed, because support for the Susan B. Anthony (nationwide woman suffrage) Amendment is still short of having enough votes to pass either House of Congress by the 2/3 majority required.
Long-time suffrage advocate and former President Theodore Roosevelt wrote and sent a letter today to William R. Wilcox, head of the Republican National Committee, urging him and all fellow Republicans to do everything they can to help the Anthony Amendment :
"I earnestly hope that the Republican Party as such will do everything possible to get all its Representatives in Congress to vote in favor of the constitutional amendment giving women suffrage. This is no longer an academic question. The addition of New York to the suffrage column, I think, entitles us to say that as a matter of both justice and common sense the nation should no longer delay to give women suffrage. Will you also let me urge as strongly as possible that there be an immediate addition to the Republican National Committee of one woman member from every suffrage State ? I do hope this action can be taken." (Note : There are presently 12 States in which women vote on exactly the same basis as men, and several more in which they can vote for President, or in the Party Primaries, or have some other form of partial suffrage.)
Southern Democrats - particularly those in the Senate - are solidly opposed to the suffrage amendment due to the fact that it's race-neutral, and what they see as a usurpation of "States' Rights" (though this latter consideration does not seem to trouble them in regard to supporting the Prohibition Amendment.) Therefore, gaining support from a high enough majority of Republicans to overcome the deficit of support among Democrats is critical. So the many efforts Col. Roosevelt has made on behalf of suffrage over the years are greatly appreciated, and this latest one will certainly help with what is certain to be a close vote in the House exactly a week from now.
Meanwhile, suffragists descended upon Congress itself today and used the first of three days of hearings on the Anthony Amendment to refute charges that "Votes for Women" advocates are not totally behind America's war effort.
Rev. Dr. Anna Howard Shaw, who was president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association from 1904 until 1915, addressed the latest campaign strategy of the "antis." They're now claiming that if the vote were suddenly extended to a huge number of inexperienced voters who had a sympathy for human suffering, it might cause a weakening of our war effort, a less than total victory for the forces of democracy, and therefore another war at some time in the future. But according to Dr. Shaw :
"It is undoubtedly true that the majority of women are endowed by nature with great sympathy with human suffering, but it is also true that they are endowed with intelligence and more or less knowledge which combine to show them that in the present war, which is the only one in which we need be concerned, greater suffering would result from an ill-advised peace than from such a termination of hostilities as would make it forever impossible that like suffering should visit the world again. And, therefore on the basis of human sympathy, they would be opposed to an ill-advised peace."
She then reminded those present that the first organization of women to come up with a plan for war service was the National American Woman Suffrage Association, and it did so even before the U.S. entered the war last April. She pointed to Canada as a country in which the principal issue in the recent election was conscription, and noted that it was women's votes that sustained the Government and its policy of drafting citizens for military service.
Another witness, Rosalie Whitney, produced election returns from New York's Statewide election in November to prove that it was not, as the opponents of suffrage charge, pacifists, Socialists and pro-Germans who were responsible for rolling up the large majority for the suffrage referendum in New York City, which easily overcame the 1,510 vote loss in the rest of the State. In New York City, Socialists got only 145,000 votes, while the suffrage referendum got 351,000, and passed by a margin of about 100,000. An analysis of the soldier vote showed that they voted almost two to one for suffrage, and she asked if the "antis" questioned the patriotism of our men in uniform.
Whitney noted that : "Suffrage polled 38,000 more affirmative civilian votes than did the successful Mayoralty candidate. No candidate was in a class with suffrage, though all were for suffrage. No political party, no class, no 'isms' can lay exclusive claim to the suffrage victory. It was the people's victory."
The triumph in New York State on November 6th has been a major boost for the suffrage movement, but whether it has provided enough additional momentum and political clout to finally get 2/3 of both Houses of Congress to vote for the Anthony Amendment remains to be seen. Tomorrow the National Woman's Party is scheduled to testify in favor, with opponents getting their turn as well. The final day of hearings will have testimony from both sides again, but it appears that opponents will get the "last word" prior to the vote, and no one knows what fanciful and misleading arguments they may come up with in their increasingly desperate attempts to prevent democracy from coming to the women of America.
January 3, 1939 : Optimism abounds today among Equal Rights Amendment supporters as three separate House Joint Resolutions on it were introduced minutes after the opening gavel, on the 146th anniversary of pioneer feminist Lucretia Mott's birth. For the past several years the amendment was introduced only by Rep. Ludlow (D-Indiana), but this year it has also been introduced by Rep. Guyer (R-Kansas) and Rep. Kennedy (D-Maryland). Among those at the Capitol to see it introduced were Linda P. Littlejohn, of Sydney, Australia, president of Equal Rights International and Bersa Shepard of the National Woman's Party.
It will be introduced in the Senate tomorrow by Sen. Townsend (R-Delaware) and Sen. Burke (D-Nebraska). When the amendment was first introduced to Congress in 1923 it was endorsed only by the National Woman's Party, but today 16 national and more than 150 State and local groups support it as well. The amendment reads : "Men and women shall have equal rights throughout the United States and every place subject to its jurisdiction." As part of an ongoing series of activities in support of the E.R.A., the National Woman's Party will light fires in urns at their headquarters tomorrow which will burn until both houses of Congress pass the amendment and send it to the States for ratification.
January 4, 1931 : Today was a day of celebration for the National Woman's Party, as its new national headquarters was officially dedicated. The Party actually moved into what was then known as Sewall House 15 months ago. It has now been renamed Alva Belmont House after the woman who purchased it, then donated it to the Party.
The ceremony, which included speeches, music and poetry, was broadcast nationwide over the NBC Radio Network. NBC has always been quite supportive, and on October 9, 1929, began broadcasting a weekly series of 15-minute programs hosted by the Party, all dealing with issues of equality for women.
Anne Kelton Wiley opened the festivities by reading a message of appreciation and encouragement from Alva Belmont, who could not attend because she is in Paris today. In regard to the new headquarters, Belmont wrote : "May it stand for years and years to come, telling of the work that the women of the United States have accomplished; the example we have given foreign nations; and our determination that they shall be - as ourselves - free citizens, recognized as the equals of men." In the conclusion of her message, Belmont announced a new $ 10,000 donation to the Party's campaign for the Equal Rights Amendment. Written by Alice Paul, the E.R.A. was introduced into Congress on December 10, 1923, and has been the subject of hearings since February, 1924.
Senator James E. Watson, Republican of Indiana, noted that none of the disasters predicted by woman suffrage opponents prior to passage of the 19th Amendment have occurred : "On the contrary, women have shown remarkable energy, adaptability, leadership and that spirit of cooperation which alone makes leadership effective."
Senator Thaddeus H. Caraway, Democrat of Arkansas, then praised those who got the suffrage struggle through its most trying times by first recalling the landmark D.C. suffrage pageant of March 3, 1913, when marchers overcame riotous conditions, then saluted the N.W.P. members who endured imprisonment, brutality and force-feedings for picketing outside the White House during the Wilson Administration. He said that the fight for total equality would go on until women everywhere were "born free to inherit the Earth on equal terms with men."
Doris Stevens paid another well-earned tribute to Alva Belmont for her many years of work for women's equality and unprecedented generosity in the struggle for women's rights. The ceremonies closed with a processional in which women carried the party's purple, white and gold banners to a location where a tablet was unveiled dedicating the house, and a poem specially written for the occasion was read by Leonora Speyer, Pulitzer Prize winner and vice president of the Poetry Society of America.
January 4, 1944 : The numbers are in, and women who pilot military aircraft have now proven themselves to have a better safety record in the air than the men. According to a report issued by the War Department today, the fatality rate for Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) is .05 per 1,000 flying hours, compared with .07 for Army Air Forces pilots flying in the continental U.S.
The 900 WASPs are now flying almost 5 million miles a month, and have flown a total of over 30 million miles. Originally a very small group, limited to ferrying light planes from the factory to air fields, they are now flying every type of plane used in the U.S. and Canada, including the biggest bombers. In addition, they do risky target-towing duty, as well as act as couriers, and do tracking, testing and experimental work on our newest, fastest, and most sophisticated aircraft.
The WASPs were formed on August 5th of last year, from the Women's Flying Training Detachment (WFTD) and the Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron (WAFS). The idea originated even before the U.S. entered the war. Jacqueline Cochran sent a letter to First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt the day after the Germans captured Warsaw suggesting a corps of women flyers, and Nancy Harkness Love wrote the Ferry Division of the Army Air Forces with a similar proposal in May, 1940. General "Hap" Arnold, commander of the Army Air Forces, failed to see the need for such a unit while we were still at peace, so Cochran went to England to fly for the Air Transport Auxiliary, where she got the chance to ferry top-of-the-line British military aircraft. Though not able to engage in combat missions, doing any flying in England in a military aircraft after the outbreak of the war would have to be considered flying under potential "combat conditions."
After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the idea of a corps of women pilots that General Arnold once thought unnecessary got his enthusiastic approval, and the Women's Auxiliary Ferry Squadron was created in September, 1942, headed by Nancy Harkness Love. A few days later, the Women's Flying Training Detachment was launched with Jacqueline Cochran in charge. In July of 1943, Arnold ordered the two programs to be merged, with Cochran as director of the new group, to be called Women Airforce Service Pilots starting on August 5th.
Despite the military work they perform, WASPs are considered civil service employees, and not a part of the Army Air Forces. But a bill to give them full military status and benefits was introduced into the House of Representatives on September 30th. At present, they are denied military insurance coverage, hospitalization benefits, and when their lives are lost in the line of duty, their friends and family must come up with private funds to ship their caskets home, and pay for all funeral costs. These women are doing every job they are legally allowed to do to help the country's war effort, and many have already made the ultimate sacrifice in the course of doing their duty. The very least the country can do in return is recognize the military nature of their work by granting them full military status and benefits as soon as possible.
January 5, 1931 : National Woman's Party members Anita Pollitzer, Anna Kelton Wiley and Maude Williams called on President Hoover today in an attempt to gain his support for the Party's battle against the growing practice of firing - or refusing to hire - married women as a means of supposedly easing the current unemployment crisis.
The President said he supported the Party's efforts to end the arbitrary displacement of wives in education, industry and government to make places for men. But with the unemployment rate already high and skyrocketing, he also said he was considering a proposal which would limit positions in the Federal Government to one per couple. The choice of whether the husband or wife would be on the payroll would be up to the couple themselves.
Though a "one government job per couple" proposal does not seem overtly discriminatory against women, it could have that effect. Men have more job categories open to them, tend to get promoted faster and higher, and therefore generally earn more than women. If a couple were to have to live on only one salary, it would almost always be the lesser-paid wife who would resign to protect her husband's higher-paying job, so this proposal could cause trouble in the future if actually enacted into law by Congress.
The National Woman's Party delegation also took time to lobby for their top priority : the Equal Rights Amendment. Written by Alice Paul, and introduced into Congress on December 10, 1923, it's seen as a logical companion to the 19th Amendment. The President listened carefully to the arguments of Pollitzer and Wiley as well as those of Maude Williams, a newspaper proofreader in New York. She told of the harm that so-called "protective" legislation was doing to women by restricting their ability to compete with men in a shrinking job market. The President was told that only a Constitutional Amendment would be able to eliminate the many laws that still discriminate against women, but he indicated that he was not yet ready to take an official position on the E.R.A.
Coincidentally, Mary Anderson, Director of the Women's Bureau since 1919, also expressed her opposition today to dismissals of married women. In an essay published in many newspapers around the country, she challenged the assumption that all married women have husbands capable of supporting them and their children on a single paycheck. Additionally, many married women have husbands doing part-time or temporary work, or unemployed husbands with no income at all, leaving the wife as the sole support of the family.
She noted that the change from single woman to wife, then usually to mother, is not an easy economic transition, especially in these times. As she put it : "Marriage does not necessarily spell a release for women from the bread-winning activities, but frequently it means greater economic responsibilities."
Though there are certainly tough times ahead, it's good to know that the Women's Bureau and the National Woman's Party will be working hard to make sure that women do not suffer disproportionately during the current business depression.
January 5, 1944 : This looks like a great year for the Equal Rights Amendment ! There were already a number of reasons for optimism, but an announcement today greatly increased the chances of a vote by both Houses of Congress. Representative Pat Cannon, Democrat of Florida, said that he intends to get enough signatures on a discharge petition (218 House members out of 435) to get the Amendment out of the House Judiciary Committee and force a vote in the full House. It has already been approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee, and there are no remaining obstacles to a vote by the entire Senate.
Today's announcement comes at a particularly opportune time, because momentum for passage of the E.R.A. is increasing, and this should give it a further boost. In the beginning of the struggle, the sole supporter of the E.R.A. was the National Woman's Party. They called for "absolute equality" at their first national convention following the winning of the vote, and in July, 1923, used the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the first women's rights convention in Seneca Falls to announce the text of the E.R.A., and that they would have it introduced into Congress later that year. The wording at that time was : "Men and women shall have equal rights throughout the United States and every place subject to its jurisdiction." The wording was changed last year, and now reads : "Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. Congress and the several States shall have power, within their respective jurisdictions, to enforce this article by appropriate legislation. This amendment shall take effect five years after the date of ratification."
In the past 21 years, many organizations have endorsed the E.R.A. The Republican Party called for "an Amendment to the Constitution providing for equal rights for men and women" in its 1940 Platform, and a drive will be made again this summer to get the Democrats to follow suit in their 1944 Platform. Twenty four national organizations now officially favor the Equal Rights Amendment, the most prestigious of which is the National Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs. All two dozen groups have banded together into the Women's Joint Legislative Committee for Equal Rights in order to coordinate their efforts.
Opposition remains, of course. The reason the Democrats didn't endorse four years ago was because of Eleanor Roosevelt's concerns that the E.R.A. would invalidate so-called "protective" laws that apply only to women workers, and that women hadn't joined unions in large enough numbers to protect themselves. The strongest opposition is still from unions, even some which are predominantly female, such as the National Women's Trade Union League, and the Congress of Women Auxiliaries of the C.I.O. But according to Alice Paul, author of the E.R.A., opposition is lessening because of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the fact that women are now joining unions in unprecedented numbers.
One attempt to get unions to switch sides is being made by Vivien Kellems, representing the Connecticut Committee for the Equal Rights Amendment. Today she wrote to labor leaders William Green, Philip Murray and John L. Lewis, asking for their views. She said that not a single union or labor leader has as yet declared their support for the E.R.A., and felt that this was probably "due to the fact that much misunderstanding and prejudice surround the subject and many well-meaning but misguided people have feared it was directed at so-called protective legislation for women."
Little by little, the National Woman's Party is showing that "protective" laws are really "restrictive" laws that simply make it harder for women to compete with men for jobs. Once this is proven to a sufficient number of people, the way should be clear for E.R.A.'s adoption. If the Equal Rights Amendment is successfully extracted from committee and put to a vote in the full House as well as the Senate, proponents in both Houses should be able to make the case during the floor debate that laws which truly "protect" should apply to both sexes, and those that "restrict" should apply to neither, and a favorable vote could be obtained. If it were approved by 2/3 of both Houses of Congress and sent to the States this year for ratification by 3/4, there's a good chance the E.R.A. could be in the Constitution by July 19, 1948, which would be the perfect way to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the women's rights movement !
January 6, 1916 : Fugitive birth control advocate Margaret Sanger has returned to the U.S., and today announced she was prepared to face the Federal charges pending against her. She was indicted in 1914 on multiple counts of "mailing improper material," specifically, copies of her magazine, "The Woman Rebel," which contained an article on birth control. The dissemination of information on this subject by any means is illegal in New York State, and becomes a Federal crime if done through the mails under the provisions of the Comstock Act of 1873.
William Sanger, her husband, was convicted four months ago of violating New York's Criminal Code after being tricked into giving one of his wife's pamphlets on birth control to a man who was an agent of Anthony Comstock. In that case, a Mr. Bamberger came to Mr. Sanger on Dec. 19, 1914, pretending to be "Mr. Haller," an advocate of birth control, and a friend of Margaret Sanger, who was then in Europe. He repeatedly pleaded for a copy of "Family Limitation." Sanger looked through his wife's effects, finally found a copy, and gave it to Bamberger - refusing any compensation for the material. William Sanger was later arrested, tried and convicted for this "offense."
During his trial in New York's Court of Special Sessions, the three-judge panel read the pamphlet in question, then Justice McInerney called it "both immoral and indecent," branded Sanger a "menace to society," and then noted - in his personal opinion - that "If some of the women who are going around and advocating equal suffrage would go around and advocate women having children they would do a greater service."
Though Justice McInerney favored imposing a prison sentence, he was apparently overruled by the other two judges, and upon conviction Mr. Sanger was given a $ 150 fine or 30 days in City Jail. But when Sanger refused to pay the fine Justice McInerney got his wish and sent the prisoner off to jail amid a storm of protest from Sanger's courtroom supporters. Meanwhile, a petition in support of Margaret Sanger and her work has been sent to President Wilson signed by a number of prominent individuals, among them H. G. Wells. As a result of this petition an investigation of her case has been started in Washington. In addition, it was announced today that there will be a rally at Cooper Union some time prior to Margaret Sanger's trial in support of her and the legalization of birth control.
January 6, 1920 : Suffrage forces are now two-thirds of the way to victory in the final stage of the battle for "Votes for Women !" Today Rhode Island and Kentucky ratified the Susan B. Anthony (nationwide woman suffrage) Amendment, becoming the 23rd and 24th States to do so, which means that just 12 more are needed to put it into the Constitution. At the offices of the National American Woman Suffrage Association there was unrestrained optimism, as they said their goal now was to obtain the approval of those 12 States by April, so that women every State can vote in the Presidential Primaries as well as the General Election in November.
The celebration at National Woman's Party headquarters was delayed a bit, due to a fire, but was equally enthusiastic when it finally occurred. The fire began in the furnace room just about the time word was received of the double ratification. The Party has somewhat of a reputation for using fire as part of their demonstrations, so the crowd gathered in Lafayette Park when the smoke first appeared thought it was some sort of celebration. But the blaze wasn't intentional or celebratory, and spread from the furnace room to the ballroom to the living quarters, doing about $ 1,000 damage. Fortunately, the Fire Department arrived quickly, as did the police, who helped the women carry out the most valuable items to be saved in case the fire couldn't be extinguished. The 22-star "ratification flag" was among the crucial items quickly brought outside. It was unharmed, so Alice Paul can sew on two more stars.
The margins of victory for the ratifications achieved today show just how powerful the momentum for suffrage has become. In Rhode Island the vote was 89 to 3 in the House and unanimous in the Senate. Mary B. Anthony said on behalf of the Rhode Island Equal Suffrage Association : "It is with a feeling of profound satisfaction that I realize that Rhode Island has ratified. 'Little Rhody' is a fine State and here's the proof."
In Kentucky, the vote was 72 to 25 in the House and 30 to 8 in the Senate, and the issue was of sufficient priority that it was dealt with on the first day of the legislative session. Before ratifying, the Senate rejected by 23 to 15 a proposal to submit the Amendment to a Statewide referendum.
The Anthony Amendment was passed by Congress and sent to the States seven months and two days ago. It is nine months and twenty-seven days until the General Election, so two-thirds of the job has been done in less than half the time between those two events. But the States that remain are going to be much harder to ratify - and many are in the "Solid South," so the pace may now slow considerably.
Complicating things further is the fact that the "antis" managed to postpone the Anthony Amendment's passage by Congress so long that some State Legislatures had already adjourned their regular sessions, and are not scheduled to reconvene until next year, so getting governors to call special sessions to vote on ratification will be a high priority for all suffrage groups. There are also States in which the legislature is of a different party than the governor, so they may not want to give the governor a political victory if a special session is called. And, of course, in all States there are local, personal and partisan rivalries that complicate any vote.
There is no time limit on ratification of the Anthony Amendment, so failure to ratify this year would not doom it. But if it is not ratified in time for women in non-suffrage States to register to vote for the November 6th election it would deprive millions of women of their right to choose the next President, their House members, as well as any of their Senators who will be elected this year, inaugurated in 1921, and remain in office until March 4, 1927. The country deserves a President and Congress elected by both male and female voters, and suffragists will be doing everything possible to assure it.
January 7, 1914 : She's done it again ! For the third time in 13 months, "General" Rosalie Jones has successfully led a band of suffrage pilgrims to their destination. Her first-ever "suffrage hike" left New York City on December 16, 1912, and arrived in Albany on December 28th to deliver a message from prominent New York suffragists to Governor-elect William "Just Plain Bill" Sulzer and then get him to officially support suffrage. They succeeded on both counts. The massive and favorable publicity generated by that adventure led to a far more ambitious trek from Newark, New Jersey to Washington, D.C. from February 12th to 28th, 1913, to promote the cause, and be a part of the landmark suffrage parade and pageant held there on March 3rd.
The hike that ended at 2:35 this afternoon began on New Year's Day, and obviously went at a much faster pace than their first march to Albany. The goal of about 25 miles a day from the 1st through the 6th was achieved despite the roads being in even worse condition this year than in 1912, according to General Jones. Three of the eleven who arrived today hiked the entire 166 miles : "General" Rosalie Gardiner Jones, "Colonel" Ida Craft, and "Corporal" Martha Klatchken, all veterans of both previous hikes. Though their goal was the same as thirteen months ago - to deliver a message and gain the Governor's endorsement of a Statewide suffrage referendum coming up on next year's ballot - there was a new Governor to lobby, as Sulzer was impeached and removed from office on October 17th, nine and a half months after being sworn in on January 1st, 1913.
This year's hike was beset with all the familiar problems, from muddy roads to high winds, bitter cold and snowstorms. General Jones often had to take breaks, as well as use a cane. But as always, the hikers just kept marching on, and today reached the State Capitol. They were met at the edge of town by 200 cheering supporters, and were escorted on the final few miles of their journey by the Albany Political Equality Association and a fife and drum corps.
After some speeches to the crowd on the street, the hikers went into the Assembly Chamber, where they individually urged their representatives to vote for a current bill that would allow women to act as poll-watchers, a wise precaution to insure an honest election when woman suffrage goes on the New York State ballot on November 2, 1915. The reception was friendly, and Gen. Jones even got a chance for some well-earned and much-needed rest in one of the chamber's many comfortable leather chairs.
Following their meeting with the legislators, the pilgrims went to see Governor Martin G. Glynn. When she met with him, Jones was carrying a lighted lantern, and when questioned about it she said that in the tradition of Diogenes, she was "looking for an honest statesman." The Governor assured her : "You will find plenty of them here." After some initial resistance, both Glynn and his secretary, Frank Tierney, accepted "Votes for Women" buttons, then praised the hikers for their zeal, but did not make any official endorsement of the referendum, or a commitment to the cause.
Though she said that she didn't want to make another hike, Jones also said : "We shall march next year, however, and every year thereafter until women are granted suffrage." So, the struggle - and presumably the hikes, marches and pageants - will go on !
January 7, 1918 : Today was a doubly good day for suffragists : A new survey of House members bodes well for the future of the Susan B. Anthony (nationwide woman suffrage) Amendment, and a final analysis of votes from last November's suffrage referendum in New York shows overwhelming support for "Votes for Women" from our soldiers, now bearing the hardest responsibilities of citizenship in battles overseas.
This was the last day of hearings in the House on the suffrage amendment, and a canvass by pro-suffrage House members of their colleagues shows that support is growing, though there is still stubborn resistance among Southern Democrats. The House suffrage supporters have now divided the country into five zones, with a committee assigned to each to make sure that pro-suffrage House members are all present to vote when the time comes, and to keep lobbying anti-suffrage members to vote "yes." The vote is expected to be close, so just a few "converts" could give the amendment the 2/3 vote it needs in both House and Senate to be passed and sent to the 48 States, 36 of whom must ratify to put woman suffrage in the Constitution.
In the final day of testimony, Senator Bailey of Texas argued against the amendment, stating that since women were incapable of performing three principal duties of citizenship (military service, Sheriff service, and jury service) they should not be able to enact laws that would apply only to the men doing those duties. He also passed along a warning given by Henry Wise Wood, a former supporter of suffrage, who said that if women ever got the vote they would then insist on holding Government offices, and even invade Congress, the Supreme Court and the White House, "unmanning" the Government and impeding the country's military efforts.
The hearings concluded after testimony from the National American Woman Suffrage Association in favor of suffrage, and from the National Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage to the contrary. In a development that shows how widespread and mainstream support for suffrage has now become, the absentee votes of New York's soldiers in the November 6, 1917 referendum have today been shown to have been nearly two to one in favor. Statewide, 26,664 voted in favor of suffrage, 15,760 against. in New York City, it was 17,428 for and 8,323 against, actually better than two to one.
January 8, 1868 : "The Revolution" has begun ! Edited by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Parker Pillsbury, owned and managed by Susan B. Anthony, the first weekly issue was published this morning out of a little office in Room 17 of 37 Park Row in Manhattan.
"The Revolution" is dedicated to "Principle, Not Policy - Individual Rights and Responsibilities" and demands "Justice, Not Favors" for women. Among the many things it will advocate :
(1) IN POLITICS : "Educated suffrage, Irrespective of Sex or Color ; Equal Pay to Women for Equal Work ; Eight Hours Labor ; Abolition of Standing Armies and Party Despotisms. Down with politicians - Up with the People !"
(2) IN RELIGION : "Deeper thought ; Broader Idea ; Science not Superstition ; Personal Purity ; Love to Man as well as God."
(3) IN SOCIAL LIFE : "Morality and Reform ; Practical Education, not Theoretical ; Facts not Fiction ; Virtue not Vice ; Cold water not Alcoholic Drinks or Medicines. It will indulge in no gross personalities and insert no Quack or Immoral Advertisements, so common even in Religious Newspapers."
This new national publication is housed directly across from New York's City Hall, on "Newspaper Row" alongside the city's largest and most established papers, and is in the same building as the New York World. The venture is initially capitalized by $ 600 in starting funds from entrepreneur George Francis Train. Though other publications have taken up the issue of woman suffrage, this new one will not only strongly champion that cause, but that of the workers, the poor and unjustly convicted, as well as promote other long-overdue social reforms.
Most importantly, "The Revolution" will fearlessly take up ANY issue of importance to women, and provide a nationwide forum for women to share their concerns and views on topics that are either neglected or taboo in traditional newspapers. This unique weekly certainly seems well worth the cost of a two-dollar annual subscription, and will clearly help speed the day when full equality for women will be achieved.
January 8, 1917 : Ethel Byrne was found guilty today of violating New York State's anti-birth-control law while working at her sister Margaret Sanger's birth control clinic when it was raided on October 25th. She did not contest the accusation that she broke the law, since all three of those arrested that day want to challenge the law itself, Section 1142 of the New York State Penal Code. The law was passed in late 1873, deals with "indecent articles," and makes it a crime for anyone to furnish or have in their possession any article for the prevention of conception, to advise anyone to use such items, or even to tell someone where such prohibited items can be obtained. The State law followed passage of the Comstock Act by Congress in March, 1873, which similarly classes contraceptive information and devices with banned and indecent items.
As a kind of "afterthought," the Legislature enacted another section of the law, Section 1145, in 1881, which in a somewhat obscure way appears to exempt licensed physicians from the ban, but only if they are prescribing for "the prevention or cure of disease." Clearly, the burden of proof would be on the physician to show that there was some special and compelling reason, involving their patient's health, why they should be able to make an exception in a particular case. Because Section 1142 is so explicit in banning contraceptives and birth control information - and violations can bring jail sentences - and Section 1145 fails to give physicians a general permission to prescribe contraceptives to their married, adult patients, Section 1142's ban prevails.
There were around 100 women in the courtroom today in support of Byrne, and at one point they made their presence and feelings known by bursting into enthusiastic applause when Jonah Goldstein, Byrne's attorney, was making his argument against the statute itself. Also present and testifying was Rose Halpern of Brooklyn, representing the patients who were being denied contraceptive information and devices by the law. She has six children between the age of 16 months and ten years, and must support them - and any more that may be born - on her husband's $17 a week salary.
Justice Garvin ruled solely on whether the law had been broken, however, and not on its merits, leaving its constitutionality to higher courts who will rule now that the conviction has been appealed. The judge postponed sentencing until the 22nd. Margaret Sanger and Fania Mindell's trials are scheduled to begin on the 29th, and they will be charged with the same offense as Byrne. There have been numerous arrests of those who have attempted to distribute information about birth control, including William Sanger, Margaret Sanger's husband. In December, 1914, he was tricked into giving a "Family Limitation" pamphlet to someone who posed as a friend of his wife's and a supporter of birth control, but who was in reality an agent of the self-styled anti-vice crusader, Anthony Comstock. Upon conviction on September 10, 1915, Sanger chose to serve time in prison rather than pay the fine imposed.
The opening of the country's first birth control clinic on October 16th was a much more overt defiance of the law than the occasional and usually quiet distribution of birth control information, so the sentences for the three who were arrested may be severe, but all are determined to keep fighting against the unjust laws that ban birth control devices and information.
January 9, 1917 : The Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage has finally lost its patience with President Wilson, and a new and more militant phase of the suffrage campaign began this evening at a hastily-called "indignation meeting" at their headquarters. Despite the fact that it's a high-risk strategy, what Harriot Stanton Blatch calls "silent sentinels of liberty, sentinels of self-government" will begin picketing along the White House fence at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow, and continue to do so until President Wilson endorses the Susan B. Anthony (nationwide woman suffrage) Amendment, then begins using his considerable influence to help get it through Congress.
The day actually began in a friendly, though somber manner. A delegation of 300 suffragists from around the country, led by Sara Bard Field, had been invited to the White House to present memorials to the President in honor of Inez Milholland Boissevain. She became a martyr to the cause of suffrage when she drove herself to the point of collapse and death on a recent Congressional Union speaking tour of the West.
But since audiences with the President are rare, and his endorsement of the Anthony Amendment is crucial to getting his fellow Democrats - the party in power - to give the suffrage amendment the votes it needs to be approved by Congress, he was asked once again to endorse natoinwide woman suffrage. He seemed surprised at the request, and refused to change his previously stated position that though he personally supported suffrage on a State-by-State basis, he would not endorse a Federal suffrage amendment.
Sara Bard Field began the exchange by saying : "Mr. President, one of our most beautiful and beloved comrades, Inez Milholland, has paid the price of her life for a cause .... In the light of Inez Milholland's death, as we look over the long backward trail through which we have sought our political liberty, we are asking, how long, how long, must this struggle go on ?" The President replied :
"I had not been apprised that you were coming here to make any representations that would issue an appeal to me. I had been told that you were coming to present memorial resolutions with regard to the very remarkable woman whom your cause has lost. I therefore am not prepared to say anything further than I have said on previous occasions of this sort. I do not need to tell you where my own convictions and my own personal purpose lie, and I need not tell you by what circumstances I am bound as the leader of a party.
"As the leader of a party, my commands come from the party and not from personal private convictions. My personal action as a citizen, of course, comes from no source but my own conviction, and therefore my position has been so frequently defined and I hope so candidly defined, and it is so impossible for me, until the orders of my party are changed, to do anything other that what I am doing, as a party leader, that I think nothing more is necessary to be said.
"I do not want to say this. I do not see how anybody can fail to observe from the utterances of the last campaign that the Democratic Party is more inclined than the opposition party to assist in this great cause, and it has been a matter of surprise to me, and a matter of great regret, that so many of those who were heart and soul for this cause seemed so greatly to misunderstand and misinterpret the attitude of parties. Because in this country, as in every other self-governing country, it is only through the instrumentality of parties that things can be accomplished. They are not accomplished by the individual voice, but by concerted action, and that action must come only so fast as you can concert it. I have done my best and shall continue to do my best to concert it in the interest of the cause in which I personally believe."
His visitors were not impressed by mere words of general support for suffrage, and were understandably skeptical of Wilson's claim that he is more of a servant of his party than its leader, and therefore can do nothing for the Anthony Amendment until the Democratic Party "commands" him to support it. So, his visitors went back to Congressional Union headquarters, determined to come up with something to get Wilson to work for the cause.
Harriot Stanton Blatch, daughter of the late Elizabeth Cady Stanton, presided at the aptly titled "indignation meeting." She suggested that they employ an idea she had used in Albany, New York, in 1912. In an attempt to prod the Judiciary Committees of the New York State Legislature into taking action on suffrage, she stationed two "silent sentinels" outside the Judiciary Room whenever the committee of either House was in session to remind them that women were still waiting for their right to vote.
This time, however, there will be many more than two sentinels, they will be holding up large, colorful banners with messages on them, and instead of being occasionally stationed outside an obscure committee room in Albany, they will be picketing daily next to the entrances of the White House, so that President Wilson cannot enter or leave his residence without seeing their words. According to Blatch :
"We must go to him every day, we must have a continuous delegation to the President of the United States, if he is to realize the never-ceasing, insistent demand of women that he take action where he is responsible. We may not be admitted within the doors, but we can at least stand at the gates. We may not be allowed to raise our voices and speak to the President, but we can address him just the same, because our message to him will be inscribed upon the banners which we will carry in our hands. Let us post our silent sentinels at the gates of the White House."
Alice Paul, Congressional Union founder, has already enthusiastically endorsed the idea, which gives her and other militant suffragists an outlet for the frustration they feel trying to get President Wilson to help the cause - and this plan has the additional advantage of being something that could win vast amounts of attention for the cause.
A fund to supply all the necessities for the campaign, from umbrellas to be used in bad weather to the big suffrage banners, was quickly begun. Mary Burnham started the ball rolling with $ 1,000. Showing that she had lost none of her zeal, Mrs. Townsend Scott, one of six protesters who smuggled a suffrage banner into the House Gallery and unfurled it over the balcony as President Wilson was addressing Congress, gave $100, then Elizabeth Kent went her one better and pledged $100 a month.
No one knows exactly what will happen tomorrow morning. Though picketing of businesses by labor is nothing new, no group with a political cause has ever picketed the President at the White House before. But Alice Paul's "Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage" is about to single-handedly escalate the fight. Considering the fact that she is a veteran of imprisonment, hunger strikes and force-feedings during her time in England almost a decade ago, there's no doubt that she and her band of militants will never back down, and will keep posting "Silent Sentinels" until Wilson gives in, or the vote is won without his help.
January 9, 1918 : President Wilson has just endorsed the Susan B. Anthony (nationwide woman suffrage) Amendment ! In a momentous and surprise announcement that is sure to help in tomorrow's crucial House vote, the President has ended many years of evasion and neutrality on the issue by coming out strongly in favor of women having a Constitutionally guaranteed, nationwide right to vote.
The announcement came after a meeting with Democratic members of the House Committee on Suffrage, and in the form of a statement given out by its leader : "The committee found that the President had not felt at liberty to volunteer his advice to members of Congress in this important matter, but when we sought his advice he very frankly and earnestly advised us to vote for the amendment as an act of right and justice to the women of the country and the world."
The President's influence has long been considered by many to be the final factor needed to gain the last few Democratic votes necessary to get 2/3 approval in both houses of Congress and send the amendment to the States for ratification by 3/4 of the 48. Speculation over his reasons for endorsement at this time runs high. Practical politics certainly played a major part. With Republicans pledged to give the amendment strong support tomorrow, if Democrats block its passage, women in States where they had already won suffrage might vote strongly Republican in the upcoming Midterm Elections to help the amendment's chances in the next Congress.
In fact, it was a growing feeling of panic among Democratic leaders about a possible backlash from pro-suffrage voters in November which was the reason for tonight's meeting with the nation's highest ranking Democrat in the first place. Reports are that President Wilson went into great detail about why U.S. women should have the vote, and why changed circumstances (such as the War and women's praiseworthy contributions to the war effort) have now made it appropriate for him to end his neutral stance. Suffrage leaders are, of course, elated. Carrie Chapman Catt, President of the National American Woman Suffrage Association said :
"We are thrilled by the President's statement to the delegation of Representatives who waited on him seeking his advice about the Federal suffrage amendment. Most of all we do appreciate his setting forth that the passage of the amendment is an act of right and justice at this time to the women of this country and the world."
Alice Paul, leader of the National Woman's Party said : "It is difficult to express our gratification at the President's stand. For four years we have striven to secure his support for the national amendment, for we knew that it and perhaps it alone would insure our success. It means to us only one thing - victory. Six-sevenths of the Republicans have already pledged their votes. The Democrats will undoubtedly follow their great leader."
The role of the National Woman's Party in pressuring President Wilson into supporting suffrage should not be underestimated. Their picketing of the White House - even when jailed for doing so - to point out the hypocrisy of President Wilson's strong support of democracy worldwide while doing nothing to enfranchise the female half of the U.S. population must certainly have caused great concern to the Administration. And it is perhaps more than coincidence that today's announcement was made exactly one year to the day after a meeting between suffragists and the President in which his unsatisfactory statements on the subject caused such indignation among National Woman's Party members that their picketing of him began the next day.
January 10, 1917 : "Silent Sentinels" have begun picketing President Wilson at the White House ! As shown in this photo from early this morning, twelve members of Alice Paul's "Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage" gathered together in formation outside their headquarters, then with banners held high, marched to the White House gates. There they split into two groups of six, taking up their posts along the fence, next to each of the two entrances. Later in the day they were relieved by twelve more troops.
True to their pledge to be "silent" sentinels, they let their banners speak for them. In response to yesterday's meeting in which President Wilson refused to endorse the Susan B. Anthony (nationwide woman suffrage) Amendment, or pledge to do anything specific to help the cause, he cannot now enter or leave the White House without seeing the question : "Mr. President, what will you do for woman suffrage ?" (This is not the first time the President has seen this message. On December 5th, six women smuggled a banner into the House Gallery and unfurled it over the front while Wilson was delivering a speech to Congress.) The large banner at each gate is surrounded by pickets carrying the unmarked, but more colorful, purple, white and gold standards of the Congressional Union.
The commandant of this well-disciplined army of pickets is Alice Paul, formerly of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. When NAWSA proved too conventional and conservative in its tactics, and more interested in achieving suffrage on a State-by-State basis than with a Constitutional Amendment, she, Lucy Burns, and a few others formed the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage. This way they could promote the Anthony Amendment and engage in more colorful and aggressive - though non-violent - actions. The two organizations have been rivals ever since, and today Carrie Chapman Catt, NAWSA President, said she thought picketing the White House was an error.
The orders to the pickets today were as follows :
GENERAL ORDERS NO. 1.
Officer of the Day, Miss Mabel Vernon. Sergeant of the Guard, Miss Mary Gertrude Fendall.
GUARD MOUNT, Morning detail, East Gate :
Privates - Miss Vivian Pierce, San Francisco ; Miss Bertha Cron, San Francisco ; Miss Mildred Gilbert, San Francisco ; Miss Bessie Papandro, San Francisco ; Miss Elizabeth Gary, Illinois ; Miss Gertrude Crocker, Illinois.
Morning detail, West Gate :
Privates - Mrs. M.C. Dowell, Philadelphia ; Miss Joy Young, District of Columbia ; Miss Maud Jamison, Norfolk ; Miss Elizabeth Smith, New York ; Miss Pauline Floyd, Arkansas ; Miss Frances Pepper, District of Columbia.
BUGLER OF THE DAY - Press Bureau of the Congressional Union.
CHALLENGE - "Mr. President, What Will You Do For Woman Suffrage ?"
UNIFORM - Shoulder sashes.
Miss Alice Paul, Commandant.
Though he gave no reaction, President Wilson has definitely seen the banners, because they were up when he returned to the White House this morning after playing golf. There is also news about his reaction to the 300 suffragists who visited him yesterday and urged him to commit himself to helping the Anthony Amendment. At a luncheon right after the meeting, he apparently told one of the guests : "I certainly have had an ordeal today." (If he thinks that brief and relatively friendly encounter was an "ordeal" one can only imagine what he'll consider this daily picketing of the entrances to the White House !)
Both he and First Lady Edith Wilson went out for a second time today, and though the President remained deliberately expressionless, his wife seemed startled by the pickets as the Presidential car sped away, so it was impossible to tell what she thought. Margaret Wilson, the President's daughter from his first marriage, arrived at the White House just a bit later, and gave a friendly wave to the Sentinels. So, it appears that the Sentinels have at least one ally in the White House, though not - as yet - the one who can push the Anthony Amendment through Congress by putting pressure on some of his fellow Democrats.
The pickets will be here daily from 9:00 a.m. until 5:30 p.m., regardless of weather - or heckling by the public. That has already begun, though there have been shouts of support as well. So far the police have left them alone, since no one can seem to find a law that they've broken, though apparently that's not due to any lack of effort on their part to find one. The army is well provisioned, thanks to $ 3,000 raised yesterday immediately after the plan was proposed and adopted. They're allocating most of the money for current needs, such as banners, umbrellas and raincoats, while keeping the rest in reserve for possible legal expenses in the future if the authorities finally manage to find - or improvise - an offense to charge them with.
Suffragists from all over the country have been sending telegrams to the Congressional Union today asking to either join the picket line or make monetary contributions, so the newspapers must be getting the word out nationwide about yesterday's meeting with the President and the "Silent Sentinel" campaign. Since there are plans for each of the 48 States to have a special day of picketing, recruits from outside the D.C. area are especially needed. After picketers from each State have had their turn, there will be days in which the pickets will all be of a certain profession, or graduates of a specific college, a theme frequently used by delegations in suffrage parades and pageants.
"Commander" Alice Paul is pleased with the results so far and said today : "We shall keep it up until Congress passes our amendment or until the President helps us. Of course, when he helps, it will pass."
January 10, 1918 : The House has passed the Susan B. Anthony (Woman Suffrage) Amendment, with Rep. Jeannette Rankin, Republican of Montana, the first woman to have ever served in Congress, leading the fight ! Following a contentious, five-hour debate, the resolution passed by 274-136, just enough to satisfy the requirement of a 2/3 majority for Constitutional Amendments.
Victory was far from certain at times, with suffrage leaders aware that the margin of victory would be, at best, by as little as a single vote - if they had counted correctly and there were no last-minute defections. The intensity of the feelings on the issue can be shown by the fact that several pro-suffrage House members came to the Capitol despite injuries and illnesses. Rep. Thetus Sims cast his vote despite an untreated broken shoulder he got falling on the ice on his way here. Rep. James Mann left the hospital for the first time in months, and Rep. Henry Barnhart was carried in on a stretcher which was set down near the Speaker's desk. Rep. Frederick Hicks left his wife's deathbed - at her insistence - to be here today to cast his vote.
Opponents tried everything they could to reverse or derail the final result. There was a second vote, and a challenge that one of the pro-suffrage members was not in the chamber for that second vote. That challenge failing, opponents tried to amend the resolution twice : First, to make ratification subject to a referendum of the voters of each State, instead of the Legislature, and to give the amendment a time limit for ratification. Both attempts were rejected.
There was unrestrained joy among suffrage supporters, a thousand of whom rallied on the Capitol steps afterward to celebrate the biggest victory so far in the 70-year struggle. Now the battle moves to the Senate, where proponents have the daunting task of gaining ten votes. But if so many votes can have been changed in the House since it was last voted on in 1915, when the tally was only 204-174, then Senate resistance to suffrage can be chipped away as well by the same persistence.
January 11, 1917 : Alice Paul spent her 32nd birthday in typically active style today, coordinating the efforts of the "Silent Sentinels" picketing President Wilson at the White House. The protest stems from a meeting between Wilson and 300 suffragists day before yesterday, in which he gave them a totally unsatisfactory explanation for refusing to back the Susan B. Anthony (nationwide woman suffrage) Amendment. He alleges that though he favors the principle of woman suffrage in general, he must remain silent on the Anthony Amendment because the Democratic Party has not yet endorsed it, and he is simply a "servant" of his party.
As was the case yesterday, "Silent Sentinels" took up their posts at 9:00 a.m., along the fence next to each of the White House gates, carrying banners which asked : "Mr. President, what will you do for woman suffrage ?" The large banner at each gate was flanked by the purple, white and gold standards of the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage.
The temperature plunged very low today, and strong winds made it feel even colder, but at least the question of whether a full contingent of 12 protesters will report for each of two shifts during Washington D.C.'s worst cold spells has been answered in the affirmative. Even colder weather is expected tomorrow, but the Sentinels have come up with a defense against the winter chill. Some are now standing on hot bricks wrapped in newspapers, and all are served generous amounts of hot chocolate by off-duty pickets.
While the climate outside the White House is getting more hostile each day, it seems to be just the opposite inside. Once again, the Chief Executive encountered the pickets as he was driven back home through a White House gate after his morning golf game. Today, however, instead of an expressionless, rigidly straight-forward-looking entry, he definitely gave a smile to the pickets as he passed by.
But the Presidential smile was only the beginning. Later on, he sent a message inviting the Sentinels to warm up inside the White House. His surprising offer was discussed, but unanimously rejected. The pickets kept at their frigid posts, intent on getting just two things from Woodrow Wilson : endorsement of the Anthony Amendment, followed by proof that he is using his full influence to actively lobby Congress to pass it by the 2/3 majority of House and Senate that's required to send it to the 48 States for ratification by the 36 needed.
January 12, 1913 : Alice Paul announced today that the purpose of the huge suffrage pageant she and Lucy Burns are planning for D.C. on March 3rd, the day before President Wilson's Inauguration, will be to push for a Constitutional Amendment enfranchising women. Judging by plans already in place, it's shaping up to be a truly landmark event.
Among those who have pledged to participate are "General" Rosalie Jones and her army of suffrage pilgrims. They will march to D.C. all the way from New York over 18 days, collecting names on a national suffrage petition as they go. Not only will the veterans of her march to Albany last month be making the trek, but there are already many new enlistees in General Jones' command, and she expects to pick up quite a few more recruits on the road.
Other groups which will take part in the pageant are a "women voters" section, composed of women who have actually voted in equal suffrage States. Women clergy will be led by Rev. Caroline Bartlett Crane. The largest section will be composed of government clerks, while artists, singers, and those in the acting profession, and numerous other walks of life will each have their own contingents. Inez Milholland will be one of 60 equestrians who will ride with the marchers down Pennsylvania Avenue from the Capitol to the White House.
January 12, 1917 : A very good - though quite frigid - day for the "Silent Sentinels" of Alice Paul's "Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage." They are standing next to the White House gates with suffrage banners and their tricolor standards from 9:00 until 5:30 each day until President Wilson endorses the Susan B. Anthony (nationwide woman suffrage) Amendment, then uses his considerable influence to get it approved by a Congress controlled by his fellow Democrats.
Though the idea of picketing was only suggested three days ago and implemented day before yesterday, this colorful protest has now stirred interest not just citywide, or even nationwide, but around the world. Among the many donations that came in today was one from Dora Lewis, of Philadelphia, who is spending the winter in Shanghai, China. But even there she heard of the picketing, and immediately wired $ 300 to help with expenses. Though certainly the most distant donor, she was not the most generous of the day. That honor went to Mary Burnham, also of Philadelphia, who gave $ 1,100, with Sophie G. Meredith of Richmond, Virginia, giving $ 350.
Not all donations are in the form of money, of course. Two gentlemen stopped by briefly to give boxes of candy to the picketers as a sign of their support, and an elderly woman donated many hours on the picket line, even though the "official" pickets were initially reluctant to accept her offer because she wasn't dressed warmly enough. But she told the Congressional Union members : "For twenty years I have been in the civil service .... They advance the men over the women there. You women of the Union exposed the civil service two years ago, and now I want to work with you." She was then warmly accepted into the ranks, and spent the rest of the day as a 13th Sentinel.
The day's most appreciated non-monetary donation arrived in the form of a large shipment of yellow oilcloth raincoats. They're big, heavy, strictly practical, and not at all in the typical style of women's rainwear. But they certainly seem capable of fulfilling their intended purpose of protecting the pickets from even the worst storms the city will inevitably throw at them. Of course, the hats with the wide brims at the back may make passersby wonder if the White House is under siege by suffragists or being protected by the Fire Department, but the Congressional Union's purple, white and gold banners, surrounding others bearing the message "Mr. President, what will you do for woman suffrage ?" should clear up any doubts.
While the temperature has dropped to between 17 and 22 degrees during picketing hours, and strong winds increase the chill, President Wilson continues to warm to the picketers. When he encountered them for the first time day before yesterday, he remained expressionless and looked straight ahead. Yesterday, he gave them a slight smile as he passed the gate. Today he gave a broad smile, and tipped his hat. Whether this daily progress means he's slowly being converted to a supporter of the Anthony Amendment or just having progressively better mornings on the golf course is not known, but it's still a good sign. According to Mary Gertrude Fendall, "Officer of the Guard" for today's detail :
"We are glad that the President smiled on us. We appreciated also the invitation extended to us yesterday by the President to come into the East Room out of the shivering cold weather. Perhaps we have succeeded in making the President take notice of us in such a way that he may help get us the Federal suffrage amendment through at this session of Congress." (It should be noted that the pickets politely turned down the President's invitation to come inside.)
Future plans of the picketers are ambitious. It was announced today that on March 4th, the date of President Wilson's second inaugural, there will be not just the usual 12 pickets (three on either side of the East and West gates of the White House), but a thousand protesters surrounding the entire Executive Mansion. If so, this will not be the first time suffragists have tried to impress President Wilson with their numbers.
Four years ago, on March 3, 1913, Alice Paul coordinated the National American Woman Suffrage Association's massive suffrage march and pageant here the day before Wilson's first inauguration. She's still in D.C., and dedicated as ever to the cause of "Votes for Women." She now heads the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage, and has been freed from the constraints of the more conservative National American Woman Suffrage Association. Wilson is still the President, and though women have won full voting rights in eleven States, they are still denied equal suffrage in thirty-seven. So today, just as four years ago, the struggle goes on, only using new and more militant methods.
January 13, 1917 : Four days of picketing President Wilson at the White House has brought gratifying results, and though the "Silent Sentinels" will be taking tomorrow (and all Sundays) off, the protests will be even larger next week, and continue until President Wilson endorses and works for the Susan B. Anthony (nationwide woman suffrage) Amendment.
Today there was a marked increase in visitors and volunteers to the headquarters of Alice Paul's "Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage," all as a direct result of people seeing their pickets, banners, and tricolor standards at the White House gates. Even President Wilson has been giving increased respect to the pickets, despite being the object of their protest. He went from being expressionless at first to smiling, then to tipping his hat and now bowing slightly as he passes through the gate. In response, the picketers briefly dip their banners as a way of returning the salute. The Sentinels have also been getting a lot of friendly attention from the squirrels who populate the White House lawn. Though squirrels tend to be neutral on the issue of suffrage, they're been quite useful to the cause by drawing crowds who like to watch the Sentinels feed them by tossing peanuts through the fence.
One visitor to today's protest passed along a note with especially encouraging news. He's in a position to overhear members of Congress talking candidly among themselves, and according to this anonymous source, a couple of prominent politicians were having a conversation in which both agreed that women were becoming angry at the way the Anthony Amendment was being stalled, and the only way to avoid the wrath of women voters in the 11 "equal suffrage" States might be for Congress to simply pass the measure and send it to the State Legislatures for ratification.
A meeting was held late this afternoon at Cameron House to share the first week's picketing experiences and plan strategy for the next week. A number of today's new recruits attended, and volunteered to do sentry duty. Extra personnel will be needed, because instead of just picketing alongside the gates, an attempt will be made to line the entire White House fence along Pennsylvania Avenue with suffragists and banners late one afternoon next week. That time of day has been chosen because many of the picketers have family duties to perform in the early morning and at lunchtime.
One example of how this protest is uniting women over the issue of suffrage was shown recently when a woman from Germany and another from England saw the banners as they were each passing by and spontaneously joined the picket line. Despite the fact that their nations have been at war with each other since August 4, 1914, they chatted amiably, and if given the opportunity, both probably would have asked Wilson the same question that appears on the banners : "Mr. President, what will you do for woman suffrage ?"
It has certainly been an amazing four days, and this campaign is just getting started, so there's no telling how much may be accomplished in the upcoming weeks !
January 14, 1909 : In a pair of bold moves, the National American Woman Suffrage Association has announced that it will be opening new offices in both Washington, D.C. and Albany, New York, to more vigorously pursue their goal of achieving "Votes for Women."
The opening of the D.C. office as its legislative headquarters may represent a major change in strategy. Up until now, NAWSA has tried to win the vote on a State-by-State basis, while doing little in Congress to promote the Susan B. Anthony (nationwide woman suffrage) Amendment, first introduced in 1878. But in the almost 61 years since the Seneca Falls Convention of July 19-20, 1848, only four of the forty-six States have recognized a woman's right to vote - and in only Colorado and Idaho was the vote won through a popular referendum. So, a speedier and more efficient method of attaining nationwide woman suffrage certainly seems called for at this point.
Though NAWSA's national headquarters remains in Warren, Ohio, there will now be a permanent and more assertive presence on Capitol Hill. In recent years, the campaign for the Anthony Amendment has consisted of an annual ritual in which D.C. suffragists go before the Senate Committee on Woman Suffrage, give their reasons why women should have the vote, are then told by the Senators how nice they look, and then after the women tell the Senators how gracious they have been, that's it until next year.
But this new NAWSA office clearly represents a change in tactics. Already several Senators have expressed concern over the fact that more numerous and more aggressive suffragists may be descending upon them on a frequent, rather than yearly basis. Another interesting aspect of this NAWSA office is the hope that it will be shared with other women's rights groups. In this way the knowledge and enthusiasm of those working to end many different types of discrimination against women can be pooled, and they could lobby together for legislation in Congress.
The announcement about the new office in Albany indicates a growing optimism and enthusiasm about the campaign in New York State. The effort this year will be the biggest since 1898, when Susan B. Anthony herself ran a Statewide petition campaign to get woman suffrage included among the proposals to be submitted to the voters by that year's State Constitutional Convention. But the man who presided over the convention was convinced that if women became involved in politics they would lose their "precious charm of personality," so he appointed a committee of like-minded people who rejected the proposal.
Of course, much has changed in the past decade, and it is hoped that there will be much faster progress in these more modern times. Evidence of that is shown by the fact that an amendment to strike out the word "male" from the New York State Constitution in regard to voting rights has been submitted to this session of the Legislature by the Senate Majority Leader, who intends to work hard for it.
January 14, 1971 : The battle to ban sex discrimination in New York City's places of public accommodation appeared to have concluded on August 10th of last year when Mayor Lindsay signed a law that outlawed such gender bias. But when a patron at McSorley's Old Ale House poured a stein of beer over the head of Lucy Komisar, of the National Organization for Women, hours after the ordinance was signed, as she defied the bar's 116-year-old men-only tradition, it was obvious that there might still be some resistance to the new law and a few more skirmishes to fight.
Today the battle moved to the City Human Rights Commission, which was given the right under the new law to grant exemptions based on "bona fide considerations of public policy." It was left to the Commission to decide what exemptions might be a valid reflection of practicality and today's values, and which examples of gender discrimination were simply relics of a bygone age. Eleanor Holmes Norton, who chairs the Commission, called on members of the business community and public to make their views known, and quite a few did so.
Norton prefaced the testimony by making a general statement that she thought places where the patrons generally disrobe (bathrooms, locker rooms, showers, steam baths and saunas) could be easily distinguished from bars, restaurants and grills, when deciding on exemptions. But that still left a good deal of room for questions about other situations.
Frank McGinnis, office manager of the New York Mets, wanted permission for them to continue their "time-honored tradition" of having "Ladies' Day" eight Saturdays a year, at which time women are admitted for 50 cents instead of the usual $ 1.50. "It brings in the ladies and it's good business," he said.
Hotels were ably represented, and spoke in favor of their right to exclude half the city's population. Interestingly, it was a plea for permission to exclude men that was made first. John H. Sherry, attorney for the Barbizon Hotel for Women said : "Males would completely destroy the character of the house as a home for women." Herbert Gundrun, who represents the N.H. Lyons Company, which runs 15 establishments in the Bowery, where patrons pay $1.50 a night for a cot in a dormitory said that because their "hotels" tended to attract "alcoholics, addicts and other disorderly men," they were "not a suitable climate for women."
Richard Berry, attorney for the Hotel Association of New York, spoke to an issue that has been the subject of sit-ins and picketing by the National Organization for Women all over the country. He wanted permission for the Association's 186 hotels to continue to exclude unescorted women - but not men - from the bar area as a "policy of public safety" that would allegedly cut down on prostitution and any assaults and robberies that might follow. Why an unaccompanied woman who wants a drink at a bar should be presumed to be a prostitute, and an unaccompanied man who wants a drink should not be presumed to be looking for a prostitute, and be similarly banned, was not satisfactorily explained.
By the end of the testimony, panel members had acknowledged that there were real issues to be considered here, and that sexism wasn't as simple to address as racism : "If we were talking about black and white, not male and female, the answer would be absolute and definite. But we're not," said Preston David, the Commission's executive director. According to Norton : "Where do we have obligations to permit a legal differentiation between the sexes ? To what extent should we protect a certain life-style, like the one that exists at the Barbizon ? Or allow a pleasant tradition like 'Ladies Day' to continue ?"
The commission will take several months to reach its decisions, so the distinguished panel should have time to make wise rulings.
January 15, 1917 : Reinforcements - and contributions - for the "Silent Sentinels" today ! The small group of 12 banner-bearing suffragists that huddled around the White House gates from 9 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. beginning on the 10th, expanded enough to form a line of pickets almost all the way along the fence.
Support for their protest of President Wilson's refusal to endorse or work for the Susan B. Anthony (nationwide woman suffrage) Amendment is manifesting itself in many forms and is growing as quickly as the number of protesters. Heavy coats and rain gear have been among the first items donated to help the Sentinels fight the bitter cold. Among the most generous of their outfitters are Elizabeth Kent and her husband, Independent Representative William Kent of California. They have given not only their own warmest clothing, but gone around collecting more from other supporters so Elizabeth can make her daily donations.
Monetary contributions are welcome as well. Alva Belmont is the largest donor so far, at $ 5,000. Louisine Havemeyer sent a note to Alice Paul, who's on the picket line today right along with her troops. It said : "Good work ! Keep it up !" and was accompanied by a check for $ 200.
Small contributions can mean a lot as well, because they show that people who are not active in the movement are now lending their support. For example, a schoolmaster leading a group of students along Pennsylvania Avenue walked up to a Sentinel and gave her $ 5. Another man dropped over to their headquarters at the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage office and dropped off $ 1 "to treat the pickets to coffee." Significantly, there were even a few male suffragists in the line from time to time today alongside the officially designated protesters of the Congressional Union.
Expanded picket lines require more banners, so four more have been added. All the banners ask one of two questions : "Mr. President, How Long Must Women Wait For Liberty ?" and "Mr. President, What Will You Do For Woman Suffrage ?"
Presidential cordiality continues to steadily increase, and has already come a long way from that first day when he clearly tried to ignore the pickets. Once again the President smiled, tipped his hat, and even leaned forward in a kind of bow, while being driven past the gate. But today First Lady Edith Wilson even gave a smile, and the car deliberately slowed - instead of speeding up - when entering the White House grounds.
One of the things people wonder about is whether women's protests can have much political effect, since so many women can't vote. But women have full voting rights in 11 Western States now, and for a time today, there were more women voters on the picket line than non-voting women.
President Wilson and Members of Congress must slowly be recognizing the fact that woman suffrage is steadily expanding, and women are becoming more and more of a force in electoral politics. By coming thousands of miles to protest, some of the women voters of Western States have shown concern for their sisters in non-suffrage States. These pickets should help show Members of Congress elected from a suffrage State that their female constituents do care about this issue, and will hold them responsible for their actions in regard to the Anthony Amendment. Even those who currently owe their jobs to a solely male electorate must sense that this will not always be the case, and will hopefully decide that this would be a good time to jump on the "Votes for Women" bandwagon.
January 15, 1968 : Jeannette Rankin is back in Washington, D.C. ! Today, almost fifty-one years after she became the first woman to be seated in Congress, she led the "Jeannette Rankin Brigade" at the head of a 5,000-woman protest against the Vietnam War. Though not allowed to enter the Capitol grounds as a group, a small delegation led by Rankin was able to meet with House Speaker John McCormack (D-MA) and Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield (D-MT) to present their antiwar petition. Among those in the delegation who met with McCormack were Dagmar Wilson, who co-founded "Women Strike for Peace" with Bella Abzug in 1961, and Coretta Scott King. Mansfield met only with Rankin, her sister, and her niece.
The reception from the Congressional leaders was cordial, but not enthusiastic, so reactions were mixed. Rankin described the meeting with McCormick as "delightful," and said Mansfield was "pleasant," but "you know how politicians are." Wilson strongly disputed McCormick's view of the war. He saw it as an "invasion" of South Vietnam by North Vietnam, and compared it to Germany's invasion of Poland in 1939, whereas Wilson and most others here today see the conflict as a civil war between the Vietnamese people. Two Senators, Earnest Gruening (D-AK), and Wayne Morse (D-OR) attempted to read the antiwar petition on the floor of the Senate, but were blocked by Mansfield, who said that it was a Senate tradition not to do business until after the President's State of the Union address, scheduled for day after tomorrow. He said they could read it the day after that.
But Congress was only the symbolic object of the protesters, and not the main focus. According to Rankin : "The impact will be on women rather than Congress. It will encourage women to express themselves." King agreed : "We want it to be known throughout this Nation and the world that we are opposed to the senseless slaughter taking place in Vietnam. That we will no longer stand by idly and let it happen. That we, the women of America, have the power to stop it."
The marchers assembled at Union Station, where the largest group arrived - 1,300 women from New York. But women from as far away as California and the Deep South were here, and as planned, they conducted a dignified, silent march down Louisiana Avenue to the statue of President Grant. Police were prepared to make as many as 500 arrests, but none occurred. At the rally, they all sang songs such as "We Shall Overcome" and "This Land Is Your Land," led by Judy Collins. Viveca Lindfors then read from the petition to great applause.
One member of the Brigade, Edith Goode, had been in a suffrage march here in 1913, and recalled : "When we marched from Capitol Hill to the White House, we were mobbed by the crowds and they had to send for the cavalry. Senators from states where women could vote had to march in the parade. You never saw such scared men in your life." The tactic of pressuring members of Congress by mass marches is still as effective today as it was over a half century ago according to Judy Mage, president of the Social Service Employees Union of New York : "Every time we have a march, another
Congressman begins to speak out."
The petition reads as follows :
A PETITION TO THE 90TH CONGRESS :
"We, Women of the United States, who are outraged by the ruthless slaughter in Vietnam and the persistent neglect of human needs at home, have come to Washington to petition the Congress of the United States for the redress of intolerable grievances and demand that :
1. Congress shall, as the first order of business, resolve to end the war in Vietnam and immediately withdraw all American troops.
2. Congress shall use its power to heal a sick society at home.
3. Congress shall use its power to make reparations for the ravaged land we leave behind in Vietnam.
4. Congress shall listen to what the American people are saying and refuse the insatiable demands of the military industrial complex.
We herewith declare our intention to return to our communities and mobilize women on all levels of activity to exercise their political power to reshape American society and restore our country to a position of honor in the Community of Nations."
The march and rally were quite impressive, and will hopefully be a step toward ending the war, as well as in showing that women are now increasingly asserting themselves politically.
January 16, 1920 : Though by no means are all suffragists personally in favor of Prohibition, the fact that the 18th Amendment becomes effective at midnight tonight was the occasion for National Woman's Party leaders to issue optimistic predictions today about how soon the proposed Susan B. Anthony (nationwide woman suffrage) Amendment will be ratified, and how much faster it is progressing than its predecessor. The festive atmosphere at many suffrage headquarters due to 25 States having already ratified the suffrage amendment has been enhanced by several things relating to the prohibition amendment.
Until the 18th Amendment was ratified - exactly a year ago today - the liquor industry was a major, though quiet, source of funding for the anti-suffrage movement, and would probably still be pouring money into their treasuries to protect their business interests if not for Prohibition's passage. But over the past year, as the date for Prohibition to take effect has approached, this source of funding has "dried up" and is now gone.
Passage of the 18th Amendment has helped the cause in another way as well, because with the issue of prohibition finally settled once and for all, since no Constitutional Amendment has ever been repealed, the issue of woman suffrage has been able to stand alone. On January 16, 1919, the argument that "if women get the vote they'll get prohibition bills passed" became irrelevant when ratification of the prohibition amendment was completed, and it seems more than coincidental that just five months later, on June 4th, the Anthony amendment was finally approved by Congress and sent to the States.
The National Woman's Party is in a hurry to finish the job of ratification, since registration deadlines for State primaries are coming up soon, and in States where one party dominates, winning the primary assures victory in November. Today the Woman's Party issued a prediction of speedy victory. Their goal is to get the Susan B. Anthony (nationwide woman suffrage) Amendment in the Constitution by February 15th, which would have been Anthony's 100th birthday. That's five days before the earliest Primary registration deadline. The earliest registration deadline for the General Election in November is May 1st, so if the first registration deadline for the primaries is missed on February 20th, ratification by May 1st will be the next goal.
But the National Woman's Party pointed out today that the 19th Amendment is being ratified by the States at a faster pace than the 18th : "Twenty-five States within the past seven months have ratified suffrage, in comparison with thirteen ratifications secured during the first seven months for the passage of the prohibition amendment. The prohibition amendment developed its astonishing speed during the last month of the ratification campaign in January, 1919, when twenty-nine States added their names to the list. Only eleven more States are needed to secure the ratification of the suffrage amendment. Suffragists have still one month's time if they are to celebrate the hundredth anniversary of Susan B. Anthony by the complete enfranchisement of American women."
There are obstacles, of course. The prohibition amendment was acted upon during a time when most State Legislatures were in regular session, while the suffrage amendment will require Special Sessions of the Legislature to be called by State Governors, because many don't meet this year. Another difference is that the Southern States were the first to ratify Prohibition, but they are solidly against suffrage, at least so far.
But though the exact date of ratification is still unknown, it now seems almost inevitable that it will occur, and appropriately enough, during the Susan B. Anthony Centennial Year.
January 16, 1957 : The Equal Rights Amendment got a major boost today when President Eisenhower became the first Chief Executive to mention it in a Presidential message to Congress. He wrote : "The platforms of both major parties have advocated an amendment to the Constitution to insure equal rights for women. I believe that the Congress should make certain that women are not denied equal rights with men."
The E.R.A. was first introduced into Congress in 1923 by Senator Charles Curtis and Representative Daniel Anthony, both Kansas Republicans, the latter a nephew of Susan B. Anthony. It has been the subject of hearings since February, 1924. The Republican Party was the first to endorse it in 1940, with Democrats following suit in 1944. President Truman endorsed it in 1945. In 1946 the Senate voted 38-35 in favor - an encouraging show of support, but still well short of the 2/3 needed in both House and Senate.
In 1950 it passed the Senate 63-19, and in 1953 by 73-11. However, this was with an extra section attached by Senator Carl Hayden, Democrat of Arizona, declaring that : "The provisions of this article shall not be construed to impair any rights, benefits or exemptions, now or hereafter conferred by law upon persons of the female sex." The "Hayden Rider" is totally unacceptable to the amendment's author and chief advocate, Alice Paul, of the National Woman's Party. Her amendment guarantees absolute legal equality for both men and women : "Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex."
Seven years ago, when the "Hayden Rider" was first tacked on, she said : "It is impossible to imagine the Constitution containing two such paragraphs," and she has not changed her opinion. She said today that only four more votes are needed in both House and Senate to get the 2/3 necessary to send the amendment to the 48 states for ratification by 36. Hopefully the President's endorsement can help sway enough votes to get the E.R.A. passed in its original form, and enable it to swiftly become the 23rd Amendment to the U.S Constitution.
January 17, 1916 : Over a hundred individuals who favor the legalization of birth control devices and contraceptive information gathered tonight in New York's Brevoort Hotel in support of Margaret Sanger. She is scheduled to go on trial tomorrow for violating Federal law by distributing copies of her magazine, "The Woman Rebel," which included articles on contraception. Rose Pastor Stokes began the meeting by reading a number of letters from those in support of her campaign to remove birth control and information about it from the list of "obscene" items criminalized by both Federal law (The Comstock Act) and State law (Section 1142 of the New York State Penal Code.)
The first speaker was Dr. Ira S. Wile. He made a point that proved quite popular with the audience by saying that Sanger should get support not just from those who favor birth control, but from all who believe in the right to discuss controversial and vital topics frankly and publicly. Dr. A.L. Goldwater spoke next, recounting and praising her work, then after he introduced her, she came forward to speak, amid great applause.
Early into her speech, she defended her aggressive - even illegal - methods of promoting the cause :
"I realize keenly that many of those who understand and would support birth control propaganda if it were carried out in a safe and sane manner, cannot sympathize with or countenance the methods I have followed in my attempt to arouse the working woman to the fact that bringing a child into the world is the greatest responsibility.
"They tell me that 'The Woman Rebel' was badly written ; that it was crude ; that it was emotional and hysterical ; that it mixed issues ; that it was defiant, and too radical. Well, to all these indictments I plead guilty. I know that all of you are better able to cope with the subject than I am. I know that physicians and scientists have a greater technical fund of information - greater than I had on the subject of family limitation.
"There is nothing new, nothing radical in birth control. Aristotle advocated it ; Plato advocated it ; all our great and modern thinkers have advocated it ! It is an idea that must appeal to any mature intelligence."
She then said that it was time for contraceptive knowledge to be possessed not just by a small group of professionals, but by all the people, because those who are denied birth control must either bring far more children than they want, or can support, into miserable conditions, or resort to dangerous, illegal abortions.
She said that in the beginning of her battle, she found many of the elite discussing birth control among themselves, but such discussions and information never got to the general public. "I might have taken up the policy of safety, sanity and conservatism - but would I have got a hearing ?" she asked. "And as I became more and more conscious of the vital importance of this idea, I felt myself in the position of one who had discovered that a house is on fire ; and I found that it was up to me to shout out the warning !
"The tone of the voice may have been indelicate and unladylike, and was not at all the tone that many of us would rather hear. But this very gathering - this honor you have thrust upon me - is ample proof that intelligent and constructive thought has been accrued. Some of us may only be fit to dramatize a situation - to focus attention upon obsolete laws, like the one I must face tomorrow morning. Then, others more experienced in constructive organization can gather together all this sympathy and interest which has been aroused and direct it."
She then thanked all the guests for their support, and told them that doing something to promote the cause of birth control was the most appropriate and meaningful way of supporting her.
The penalties for distributing birth control information can be substantial, so she is running a real risk when she goes on trial. A few months ago, her husband, William Sanger, served 30 days in jail for violating New York State law by giving out a single pamphlet entitled "Family Limitation." A man pretending to be a birth control advocate, but who was actually an agent of Anthony Comstock, hounded Sanger into searching for, then giving him a copy of the pamphlet, which was at home, among his wife's papers, while she was in Europe.
Margaret Sanger's case started not long after she began publishing her monthly magazine, "The Woman Rebel," in March, 1914. Time after time it was deemed "nonmailable" by postal authorities, and on August 25, 1914, she was indicted by the Federal Government for "objectionable" material in her magazine's issues of March, May and July. Near the end of October, 1914, she fled to Europe, where she worked with many other birth control advocates, but voluntarily returned to the U.S. on October 6th of last year to face the charges. Her trial was initially to begin at the end of December, but was first postponed until January 4th. At that time the U.S. Attorney's office offered her a plea bargain in which she would be fined, but not jailed. She rejected the deal, and so will face charges for which the maximum penalty is a $ 5,000 fine, imprisonment for five years, or both, on each count.
The law she is accused of violating is U.S. Criminal Code, Section 211 (1909) :
"Every obscene, lewd, or lascivious, and every filthy book, pamphlet, picture, paper, letter, writing, print or other publication of an indecent character, and every article or thing designed, adapted, or intended for preventing conception or producing abortion, or for any indecent or immoral use ; and every article, instrument, substance, drug, medicine, or thing which is advertised or described in a manner calculated to lead another to use or apply it for preventing conception or producing abortion, or for any indecent or immoral purpose ; and every written or printed card, letter, circular, book, pamphlet, advertisement or notice of any kind giving information directly or indirectly, where, or how, or from whom, or by what means any of the hereinbefore-mentioned matters, articles or things may be obtained or made, or where or by whom any act or operation of any kind for the procuring or producing of abortion will be done or performed, or how or by what means conception may be prevented or abortion produced, whether sealed or unsealed ; and every letter, packet, package, or other mail matter containing any filthy, vile or indecent thing, device or substance ; and every paper, writing advertisement, or representation that any article, instrument, substance, drug, medicine or thing may, or can be used or applied for preventing conception or producing abortion, or for any indecent or immoral purpose ; and every description calculated to induce or incite a person to so use or apply any such article, instrument, substance, drug, medicine or thing, is hereby declared nonmailable matter and shall not be conveyed in the mails or delivered from any post-office or by any letter carrier. Whoever shall knowingly deposit, or cause to be deposited for mailing or delivery, anything declared by this section to be nonmailable, or shall knowingly take, or cause to be taken, from the mails for the purpose or circulating or disposing thereof, or of aiding in the circulation or disposition thereof, shall be fined not more than five thousand dollars, or imprisoned not more than five years, or both."
Changing this law, and the many State laws modeled after it, will require both dedication and courage, but it appears that Margaret Sanger has ample supplies of both. Hopefully the publicity generated by her trial tomorrow will cause enough public outrage to mark the beginning of the end of such repressive legislation, and birth control will eventually become easily accessible to all those who desire it.
January 17, 1926 : A petition asking President Coolidge to support the Equal Rights Amendment was delivered to the White House today by Edith Houghton Hooker and a delegation of 300 members of the National Woman's Party. Their march to the Executive Mansion followed a mass meeting at the Belasco Theater in which the party's E.R.A. campaign was outlined.
They hope the E.R.A. will prohibit so-called "protective" laws - which are really "restrictive" laws - that limit jobs and hours for women only. According to Mary Murray, when New York passed the Lockwood Bill in 1919, three thousand women railroad workers - she among them - were either fired or had their hours and pay cut down. Presently it is illegal for New York women to work more than eight hours in a day, or after 10 p.m., in all but a few specifically exempted professions.
These restrictions apply even to major employers such as restaurants, laundries and factories. Lucrative overtime pay is therefore available to men only, and jobs in which even occasional extra or late hours are required are now off limits to women. Night pay is often better than that on the day shift, and it would be easier for many women to work at night and be home during the day, but while men can make such choices for themselves, women cannot. The petition reads :
"To the President, the White House : We, self-supporting women from various parts of the country, have gathered to ask you, as head of our nation and the leader of the party in control of our Government to give your powerful aid to securing the immediate passage of the Equal Rights Amendment. Equality in the suffrage between men and women was held so important that our national Constitution was enlarged in order to guarantee that right to women.
“Even more important to women is the right to earn their living on equal terms with men. We ask that this most important right of all be guaranteed by our national Constitution, so that women shall no longer be handicapped by laws debarring them from industrial equality with men. We who are earning our living find our struggle made more difficult by laws that prevent us from offering our services to our employers on an equal basis with men ; by laws that prevent us from entering various occupations entirely ; by laws that prevent us from continuing our work after we are married.
“In earning our living we must struggle against prejudice and custom. We ask that the laws of our country not be thrown into the scale against us and our struggle thereby made still harder. We ask that our National Government should protect its women workers equally with its men workers.
“We who have been thrown out of work because of a law prohibiting our working after a certain hour of the day ; we who have been thrown out of work because of a law preventing our working as many hours as our men competitors ; we who have been thrown out of work because of a law preventing us from working overtime on the same basis as our men competitors ; we who have been thrown out of work because of a law debarring us from certain occupations ; we who have been thrown out of work because of a law preventing us from continuing our occupation after marriage ; we who have had our wages lowered and our opportunity for advancement restricted by these same laws inasmuch as they have narrowed the field of paid work open to women - we appeal to you as the responsible head of our country to give your backing to this amendment which will guarantee to women the right to equality with men in the struggle to support themselves and their families. Respectfully submitted, By the Industrial Council of the National Woman's Party. For the council : Mary Murray, New York, Chairman ; Josephine Casey, Chicago, Vice Chairman ; Myrtle Cain, Minneapolis, Vice Chairman ; Margaret Hinchey, New York, Secretary."
January 18, 1907 : Early this evening, ten eloquent speakers addressed the New York City Board of Education's Committee on Legislation, where they denounced the practice of paying women teachers less than men. Two hundred members of the Interborough Association of Women Teachers and the Society of Women Class Teachers of Brooklyn were present as well, to lend their support to those who presented the case in favor of equal pay for equal work.
Grace Strahan was in charge of the presentation, and began by saying that she would like to see the word "female" removed from all legislation relating to teachers, because it inevitably means lower pay for women. She then produced precise figures to prove her case.
In elementary school, starting pay for women teachers is $ 600 a year, with salary increases of $ 40 a year up to a maximum of $ 1,240. Men who teach the same grades start at $ 900 a year, with an annual increase of $ 105 until they reach their maximum salary of $ 2,160. Even women who teach classes composed solely of boys get a bonus of only $ 60 a year over their regular pay, so there is no way for them to catch up with the men, even when they are doing absolutely identical jobs. Strahan said that salaries should be based on the nature of the work, not the sex of the worker, and on satisfactory performance. She noted that the practice of dual salary scales based on sex has long since been discarded in other city jobs, and that the only city workers who earn salaries comparable to women teachers are scrubwomen.
Lina E. Gano, who teaches at Wadleigh High School, gave another excellent presentation. She began by answering some of the objections people have voiced about women seeking employment. She said that women were not "attacking the integrity of the home" or "forcing themselves into the sphere occupied by men" when they get jobs.
Gano said there are many reasons why women work outside the home, and some women will always be pushed into the workforce by circumstances. For instance, single women, such as herself, should not be penalized while simply trying to support themselves : "All men do not marry. We are, many of us, aware of that. We wish they would, but they don't." (These statements caused one of the biggest rounds of applause of the night, though only from the women, not the confirmed bachelors in the room who may have felt a bit uncomfortable when unexpectedly brought up in the discussion.)
Married or single, women are now a major part of the economy, according to Gano. But while women are discriminated against in pay, they have always had absolute equality in regard to purchases and taxes : "Now, you don't find that street car companies make a reduction in their fares to women ... The renters of houses don't give a rebate to women when one leases a house. And yet in the City of New York the women school teachers are paid hundreds of dollars less in a year than are men."
She concluded her presentation by attacking the objection that giving women equal salaries was not customary : "Well, dressing in skins and living in caves was once the custom. Customs change, and the custom of underpaying women for the work they do in the open market will change also." Needless to say, this prediction was accompanied by another round of cheers from the audience.
Sarah McCaffrey, the principal of P.S. 116, reminded the committee members of another reason why the plight of women teachers needs immediate attention. Even the meager salary of $ 600 a year doesn't buy what it used to due to inflation.
Despite their well-stated plea, the outlook tonight for the teachers is not overly optimistic. Robert L. Harrison, speaking on behalf of the Legislation Committee, may have given a little too much of an insight into the committee's thoughts and plans. After the meeting he said that they would give the matter of equal salaries "deep thought" and that if it was found to be impossible to come up with the five million dollars needed to raise the pay of the women up to that of the men, this failure would cause the committee "deep anguish."
Though this particular battle may continue for a while, the fact that women around the country are now organizing for equality in everything from voting rights to salaries means that victory in all these areas can not be too far off in this new, more progressive century.
January 18, 1934 : Legalization of birth control was hotly debated in Congress today as both sides testified in hearings to modify the Comstock Law. The bill to do so is sponsored by Rep. Walter Pierce, father of six, and is presently in the House Judiciary Committee, chaired by Rep. Hatton Sumners, who says that as a bachelor he has only "an academic interest in it."
The two most zealous advocates for legalization were Margaret Sanger and Katharine Hepburn, mother of the actress of the same name, whose daughter's latest film, "Little Women," was released in November. Sanger told the committee how she became an advocate of birth control in 1912 :
"A woman, weakened from too many childbirths, was dying. I was there as a trained nurse. And after the woman died I went home and asked myself whether it wasn't possible to do something to prevent things like that. Since then I have been in and out of jails because I have urged that birth control be legalized. I am here today to ask you again if you will not do it."
She spoke of the "forgotten women of the nation, including more than 32,000,000 childbearing mothers" who "sought not to bring into the world more children than they could care for." Katharine Hepburn then seconded her and said : "Just because we favor birth control, it doesn't follow that we are opposed to children. I dare say that, all in all, we have just as many children as our opponents."
Rep. Pierce noted that the present law is "absolutely unenforceable and in that respect on all fours with the prohibition amendment." The sections of the criminal code which he would like to amend forbid possession or transmission by mail or express of anything relating to contraception, with violators subject to a $2,000 fine or 5 years' imprisonment.
The present law results in great harm caused by "bootlegged" birth control devices distributed by non-physicians to people unable to get them, or any advice about how to use them properly, from reputable doctors. "We want to bring these things out in the open so that legally licensed physicians can give authoritative information to the people who need it and are entitled to it," said Rep. Pierce.
Of course, there were many opponents to changing the law. Radical radio priest Father Coughlin ranted for half an hour, followed by a large number of clergy also testifying against decriminalization, representing Catholic, Episcopal, Lutheran, Methodist and Baptist groups. But during a discussion of the morality of birth control, Rabbi Edward L. Israel, a birth control supporter, noted the widespread hypocrisy on this subject and suddenly demanded : "Well, then, if it is morally wrong, let us be honest and pass a law to drive contraceptive devices out of your home and mine." Great applause followed among the hundreds crowded into the hearing room. Judiciary Committee member Lehr then shouted over the din that it should be put in the record that there had never been any contraceptives in his home, and added that he has six children.
January 19, 1934 : The Pierce Bill, which would amend the Comstock Law by removing birth control devices and contraceptive information from the list of "obscene" items it bans, appears doomed for now. Despite compelling testimony yesterday from noted birth control advocates Katharine Hepburn (mother of the well-known actress) and Margaret Sanger, the kind of fierce and widespread opposition to the Pierce Bill shown at the two-day House hearing makes it highly unlikely that the 1873 Federal law will be modified in the near future.
According to Rep. Walter Pierce, Democrat of Oregon, reform is needed, because due to a combination of Federal and State laws, many people are either unable to acquire birth control at all, or obtain defective or ineffective devices through illegal means from non-physicians who are also unable to give them the kind of professional instruction and advice they need.
Mrs. Thomas McGoldrick of the International Federation of Catholic Alumni set the confrontational tone for today when she charged that birth control advocates were motivated by commercial interest, rather than a concern for the health of women burdened by too many and too frequent pregnancies.
Her view was seconded by one of the few female members of Congress. Rep. Mary T. Norton, Democrat of New Jersey, said : "Mrs. Sanger may some time succeed in her commercial enterprise, but if and when she does, God help the children of that age whose beauty of mind and soul has become a sanctuary for the grossest material calculation and contamination by the filth carried through the mails regarding the most profound mystery of life." None of Sanger's accusers offered any evidence to prove their assertions of commercial motivations or affiliations.
Though representatives of Episcopal, Lutheran, Methodist and Baptist denominations have expressed opposition to the Pierce Bill, only two non-Catholic witnesses testified today : Canon William Sheafe Chase of the International Reform Federation and Dr. Thomas E. Boorde, of the Christian Baptist Ministerial Conference. They joined with a number of their Catholic bretheren in denouncing birth control itself, which they labeled as contrary to the laws of nature and the word of God.
As might be expected, many physicians testified in favor of contraception, but a few members of that profession joined in the attack today. One was Dr. Howard Atwood Kelly of Johns Hopkins University, father of nine, who called the birth control controversy "inconceivably distressing and disgusting," while denouncing the state of morality on college campuses these days. The American Medical Association has taken no stand on the issue of birth control.
Though the outlook for the Pierce Bill is dim, its author still believes it has a chance of passage. In order to ease the concerns of some of its opponents in Congress, he has recently added a new section. It explicitly recognizes the right of States which have their own versions of the Comstock Law to keep them on the books, and continue to make distribution of contraceptives, as well as transmission of information about birth control, a criminal offense.
January 20, 1901 : "Mark Twain" is a suffragist ! Samuel Clemens, the world-renowned writer, gave his strong endorsement to the woman suffrage movement early this evening in an entertaining speech at the annual meeting of the members of the Hebrew Technical School for Girls. It is, as the school's president noted, the only place in New York City that provides a trade education to Jewish girls. It has been doing so for twenty years, now has 150 students - and 21 typewriters, up from 4 a year ago.
School President Nathaniel Meyer introduced his guest speaker by saying : "In one of his works he says that he has no prejudice, whether a man be white or black, Jew or Gentile, debtor or creditor, old or young. The moment he says he is a man he can't say anything worse. But Mr. Clemens has not told us what he thinks of women. So we have asked him to come here and perhaps he will tell us that."
As usual, Clemens left no doubt about his views : "Why, I have been in favor of women's rights for years. I see in this school a hope for the realization of a project I have always dreamed of. Why, do you know, when I looked at my gray-haired old mother, with her fine head and noble thoughts, I really almost suspected, toward the last, that she was quite as capable of voting as I was.
"I know that since women started out on their crusade they have scored in every project they undertook against unjust laws. I would like to see them help make the laws and those who are to enforce them. I would like to see the whiplash in women's hands. The suffrage in the hands of men degenerates into a couple of petrified parties. The man votes for his party and gets the city in the condition this one is in now - a disgrace to civilization.
"If I live seventy-five years more - well, I won't - fifty years then, or twenty five, I think I'll see women use the ballot. It's the possession of the ballot that counts. If women had it you could tell how they would use it. Bring them before such a state of affairs as existed in New York City today and they would rise in their strength at the next election, elect a Mayor, and sweep away corruption. True, they might sit ten years and never use it, but on such occasions they would cast it. Or in the case of an unjust war. Why, war might even pass away and arbitration take its place. It never will so long as men have the votes."
"If women could vote, each party would feel compelled to put up the best candidate it could or take the risk of being voted down by the women. States are built on morals, not intellects. And men would not get any morals at all if the women didn't put it into them when they were boys. If women could vote, the good women would all vote one way. Men won't do that. It's a choice of evils with them."
He concluded his address with a fund-raising tip for the school's president, who had extolled the virtues of the school, then asked his listeners to remember it in their wills. Clemens noted that : "We are all creatures of impulse. It's a great mistake to get everybody all ready to give money and then not pass the hat." He then illustrated the point with a story about having once been worked into a frenzy of generosity by a missionary who was describing his work among the poor :
"I had $ 400 in my pocket. I wanted to give that and borrow more to give. You could see greenbacks in every eye. But he didn't pass the plate, and it grew hotter and we grew sleepier. My enthusiasm went down, down, down - $ 100 at a time, till finally when the plate came round I stole 10 cents out of it."
Mr. Clemens' humor and insights are going to make him a welcome addition to the ranks of suffragists. The day when women in New York - and all 45 States - can vote will be brought closer every time he speaks or writes on behalf of the cause.
January 20, 1910 : Alice Paul returned home today after an extended stay in Britain, and though she is planning on giving a high priority to her studies for the present, she still seems quite dedicated to the cause of suffrage, and will surely be making more contributions to the "Votes for Women" campaign before too long.
She went to England in 1907 to study social work, and while there, just happened to be walking by when Christabel Pankhurst was speaking - or at least trying to speak - to a loudly jeering street corner crowd. Afterward, Paul introduced herself to the daughter of England's most radical suffragette, Emmeline Pankhurst, and soon became an active member of their Women's Social and Political Union. (British women who engage in traditional, peaceful means of securing the vote refer to themselves as "suffragists," and though the word "suffragette" was originally coined by London's Daily Mail as a derogatory term, the militant members of the W.S.P.U. have adopted it, and use it as a way to distinguish themselves from their more moderate colleagues in other groups.)
Believing in "deeds not words," the W.S.P.U. has engaged in a variety of radical actions, escalating from heckling to rock throwing and window smashing. It was heckling that got Alice Paul tossed into Holloway Jail, when in November of last year, she and another woman snuck into the Guild Hall disguised as scrubwomen, and when Prime Minister Asquith made a short pause during a speech, she interrupted him. As she explained it today :
"I did not throw a stone. I simply rose in the gallery and shouted 'Votes for Women !' In the prison it was horrible. I had been arrested twice before, once in Scotland and once in London, simply for refusing orders to 'move on' at political meetings. I was released after five days' imprisonment in Scotland and three weeks in London because I refused food. Those were the recognized tactics among the suffragettes. Last October the custom of forcible feeding was introduced and I was one of the victims of the practice."
She served her full 30-day sentence for the heckling, and was released on December 9th, after many three-times-daily force-feedings by prison officials. During her stay in England she met another American, Lucy Burns, in a police station after both had been arrested, and they have now become good friends. So, one by one, Americans are being converted to more radical tactics. These methods are quite effective, according to Paul : "The militant policy is bringing success .... the agitation has brought England out of her lethargy, and women of England are now talking of the time when they will vote, instead of the time when their children would vote, as was the custom a year or two back."
Though still dominated by the National American Woman Suffrage Association, the American suffrage movement is slowly becoming more assertive as well, as it should since it has been 14 years since women have won the vote in any State. New innovations such as street corner meetings, automobile processions, and small suffrage parades are now accepted activities among the younger, more radical suffragists in groups like the Progressive Woman Suffrage Union, the Political Equality Association, and the Equality League of Self-Supporting Women. But should Alice Paul become a full-time activist again after she finishes her studies, and if her friend Lucy Burns returns to the U.S. from her current suffrage work in Scotland, things could get even more lively here.
January 21, 1913 : Jeannette Rankin, a Field Secretary of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, has been named "official speaker" for the army of suffrage pilgrims who will be hiking from New York to Washington, D.C. next month. Since each day's hike will be long, and often under adverse weather conditions, it is thought that having her ride or walk as she chooses, stay in a non-exhausted condition, and be available for speaking at all times, will be most helpful in getting the hikers' message out at every opportunity.
The "suffrage army's" full-time marchers will be led by the veterans of last month's trek from New York to Albany : General Rosalie Jones, Col. Ida Craft, and Surgeon-General Lavinia Dock. But they will be accompanied by many new recruits, including one man. Ernest Stevens, of the Men's Walking Club of Philadelphia, plans to join the hikers when they pass through that city. He will even wear the regulation coat, a large cape with a big hood to pull over the head during inclement weather. The pilgrims have made these themselves. The rest of the uniform consists of a staff, a suffrage-yellow knapsack, and cloak. Hats may also be worn. They will be the same white parade hats used on the road to Albany, with a yellow button in the center, a yellow rosette at the side, and a Woman Suffrage Party pin on that. All items are still available for purchase by those planning on going on the hike.
January 21, 1972 : This is certainly an exciting time to be a feminist, and that was especially true in Chicago today. Women at the center of two national events next week are here vigorously promoting their upcoming ventures. Rep. Shirley Chisholm (D-NY) is in town to talk about her Presidential campaign, which has been running informally since July, but gets officially launched four days from now. Gloria Steinem is here as well, generating publicity for the first stand-alone issue of "Ms." magazine (pronounced "miz"), which will hit the news stands in just a few days.
They started the day early - and together - as guests on Channel 7's "Kennedy and Company." Steinem was delighted to share the camera with Chisholm, saying :
"I don't even remember when we first met. I know our first long conversation was about two years ago when I tried to talk Shirley into running against Senator Javits. We're in contact with each other at least once a month. We spent a fortune in telegrams yesterday trying to arrange our press conferences here so they wouldn't conflict."
Though she forgot to bring along her copy of "Ms.," Steinem did remember to wear her "Shirley Chisholm for President" button. Since she's already been campaigning for Senator George McGovern (D-SD), Steinem was asked if there was a conflict, but she said that she supported both candidates.
She had undivided loyalty toward her new magazine, however. Originally an insert in the December 20th issue of "New York" magazine, the response was so great that a full-length version is about to be sent out to news stands all around the country. If the 300,000 issues printed up sell out (it's labeled a "Spring" issue so it will have several months to do so), Ms. will become a monthly "forum for all women," and deal with feminist and real women's issues in a way that mainstream "women's magazines" don't.
The idea could work. Though "The Revolution," owned by Susan B. Anthony and edited by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Parker Pillsbury had a rather short run after its launch in 1868, Lucy Stone's "Woman's Journal" was successful, and quite influential from 1870 until 1917. Fifty-five years later it's time for the country to have a new, overtly feminist, nationally-distributed, large-circulation magazine.
Rep. Chisholm thinks it's time for the nation to get over its sex prejudices :
"People in this country have to realize no psychological test says a man is more intelligent than a woman. We here in the United States have become so hung-up on sex. We waste our energies talking about the differences between men and women, not the similarities. I have talent, and I have ability. Permit me to use them. Don't reject me because I'm a woman."
Apparently there is still plenty of work to do in regard to sex bias in the media. One nationally syndicated talk show has given the eight other candidates seeking the Presidential nomination an entire show to themselves, but Chisholm was offered only the chance to share a show with Gloria Steinem. As Steinem notes : "To this day, she hasn't been invited to do the entire show. The problem is that people refuse to take Shirley's candidacy seriously."
Later in the day, Chisholm addressed a Catholic audience at a Cana Conference seminar at the Drake Hotel, and talked about the future of Black families :
"If we are to relieve the burden it will not be at conferences and rap sessions about their situation, but by providing employment opportunities for the Black man who can't support his family, but instead must leave so that his wife will be eligible for welfare benefits. No one stops to recognize that in America, Black men on the street corners do not have passports to American society - a white skin - and are paid wages embarrassing to them. Union membership is closed." She then suggested a solution : "We need a Marshall Plan immediately that will give Black men an opportunity to work and will provide day care centers so that money spent for child care can be spent instead where it is needed - for rent, food, clothing, not to mention education."
Addressing the issue of reproductive rights, she told the priests, nuns and other members of the Church in attendance that she was a supporter of both birth control and legalizing abortion : "I reject the notion that birth control by Black Americans is a form of ethnic suicide" and in regard to abortion, "as long as we have women in civilized, Western society - Black women, white women, pink women - we're going to have abortion. This accounts for the largest number of maternal deaths in this country, particularly among poorer women, from quack abortionists, people who have butchered bodies in back rooms."
Let's hope that both "Ms." magazine and "Chisholm for President" meet with success, and are just two manifestations of the new wave of feminism that has already brought about such major changes in less than a decade.
January 22, 1972 : Bella Abzug was the star of the show today at a conference of the Women's Political Caucus of New Jersey, where she urged her listeners to unite against sexism, racism and poverty. The 500 women meeting at Conklin Hall, Rutgers University, gave her a huge round of applause before she even had a chance to speak, and it was far from the last one she got, with cheers, and a standing ovation thrown in before she was finished.
She expressed optimism about the future, and after even a few minutes of hearing her, the audience seemed to share that view. She sees a "new majority" composed of women of all races, young and old men, and professional and blue collar workers producing "a society in which human needs are paramount." Some examples of present needs that would be met in such a society are child care centers, national health insurance and mass transit. Some progress is being made : "The women's issues, which are priorities of life, not war, must be the priorities of government. Not all men in Congress are indifferent, however. Some are catching on and some pretend to care." President Nixon isn't coming along as fast as she would like, however. In his State of the Union message : "The President gave women one paragraph, squeezed in between Indians and veterans, and he didn't even mention his veto of the child care program which would have benefited 30 million working women."
Though electing far more women to office is clearly a goal Rep. Abzug supports, she said that the National Women's Political Caucus and its state offshoots such as this one must not make gender the only qualification for endorsement : "Both Houses are dominated by the white male, upper-middle-class elite, who stand with their backs turned to a society with humane and healthy values. But we don't want to replace the white male elite with white female elite. Women political leaders must represent diversity and must include people who are doubly disfranchised - women who work, are on welfare, or who are members of minority groups. What is good for women will be good for the country," she concluded.
There were plenty of buttons and bumper stickers available at the tables. Some of them said : "Uppity Women Unite," and "Shirley Chisholm for President." Sexism in school textbooks was detailed in a publication called "Dick and Jane As Victims."
Other speakers made good points as well. Dr. Wynona Lipman noted that women were a majority of the population, "Yet politically we are almost as invisible as 50 years ago ... we have the power but not the will. We have met the enemy and it is us." But it's time to gather the will to elect women to office because : "Women should be in government because they are needed. We don't just want our share of the political pie, we want to help make that pie." Ruth Gray agreed : "Let's go back to the political clubhouses and tell the boys they're now co-ed."
After being fired up by the speeches, the delegates had their choice of ten different workshops to go to, such as women in law, how to get into politics, abortion rights, employment, day care and lobbying, and they enthusiastically went about learning the skills needed to implement the goals they applauded today.
January 22, 1973 : A stunning and landmark victory today in the 152-year battle over abortion rights in the United States. Thanks to a Supreme Court ruling in the case of "Roe vs. Wade" (410 U.S. 113), American women have not only regained the same right to abortion they had in Colonial Times and Early America, but have had their right to decide whether or not to carry a pregnancy to term affirmed as something protected by the Constitution.
In the words of Justice Harry Blackmun, writing for the 7 - 2 majority : "The right of privacy, whether it be founded in the Fourteenth Amendment's concept of personal liberty and restrictions upon state action, as we feel it is, or, as the District Court determined, in the Ninth Amendment's reservation of rights to the people, is broad enough to encompass a woman's decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy."
But today's decision, significant as it may be, is only one part of a long battle for abortion rights, fought on many fronts and using many different approaches. So, though Justices Blackmun, Burger, Douglas, Brennan, Stewart, Marshall and Powell deserve praise for their ruling, far more than seven people can share credit for today's victory, because it took the work of many others over many years to create the framework in which this historic ruling could be made.
The first anti-abortion laws were passed in a medically primitive, pre-antiseptic era, when it was a dangerous procedure, even more risky than childbirth. The first law restricting abortion in the U.S. was passed in 1821, when Connecticut outlawed the procedure after "quickening" (the time the movements of a fetus can be felt, which can be around 16 - 18 weeks.) In 1828, New York became the first state to ban early abortions, but not may other states followed suit. In 1840, abortion was still fully legal in 18 out of 26 states.
In 1859, the American Medical Association (all male until 1876) launched an anti-abortion drive, and a wave of new laws prohibiting abortion followed. No woman in America could vote until 1869, and women had won suffrage in only two Territories until 1893, so their views on the issue were of no concern to State Legislators during the time these strict bans were passed.
Many other factors were involved in the criminalization of abortion. Falling birth rates among American-born Caucasian women may have been a racist and xenophobic consideration for some. Since the feminist movement was making meaningful gains in the 1860s and after, there may also have been a "backlash" factor among Victorians who wanted to reinforce childbearing and child raising as woman's traditional - and only - roles.
In 1873, things went from bad to worse. Congress passed the Comstock Act, which made dissemination of anything related to abortion or birth control through the mails a Federal crime, punishable by up to five years' imprisonment. Many states passed even more restrictive laws.
But prohibitionist policies didn't stop abortions from being done, only from being done in a legal, well-regulated manner. In 1910, it was estimated that 80,000 illegal abortions were performed annually in New York City alone. In 1935, Dr. Isadore Kahn, Medical Examiner for the New York City Board of Health, said that 75 New York City abortionists were doing a combined total of 600 illegal operations each day, and estimated that the total number done in that city was about 250,000 a year. One fourth of the patients admitted to Bellevue Hospital obstetric wards that year were suffering from poorly-performed illegal abortions. In 1936, Dr. Frederick Joseph Taussig did a landmark study and carefully estimated that there were almost 700,000 abortions each year in the U.S., resulting in the deaths of 8,000 women. Throughout the 1940s and 1950s, illegal abortion was one of the biggest "rackets" in the country.
The move towards re-legalization began in 1959, when the American Law Institute framed a model law which would permit abortion if continuation of the pregnancy "would gravely impair the physical or mental health of the mother," or if the doctor believed that "the child would be born with grave physical or mental defects" or if the pregnancy resulted from rape or incest. The case of Sherry Finkbine, who had to go to Sweden to get an abortion in 1962 after discovering that Thalidomide, which she had been taking as a sleep aid, caused severe fetal deformities, also brought attention to the extreme restrictions that permitted only about 8,000 of the one million abortions performed annually in the U.S. to be done safely and legally.
By the mid 1960s, a re-legalization movement had begun to emerge, and rapidly gained support. In 1965, the A.C.L.U. came out in favor, in 1966 the Association to Repeal Abortion Laws in California was founded, and in 1967, full re-legalization was endorsed by the recently-formed National Organization for Women. That same year, Colorado, California and North Carolina reformed their laws along A.L.I. guidelines. Georgia and Maryland followed in 1968, with Arkansas, Kansas, Delaware, Oregon, and New Mexico doing the same in 1969.
But 1970 was a true turning point in the battle. Hawaii totally repealed - not just "reformed" - its abortion law. New York made abortions up to 24 weeks of gestation available to anyone, with no residency requirement, or the kind of humiliating procedure imposed in many states which required a woman to plead for permission from a panel of doctors - virtually all of whom were male. In a clear indication that the public was ready for change, Washington State's anti-abortion law was tossed out by the voters in a referendum.
By 1972, 64% of Americans were telling Gallup pollsters : "The decision to have an abortion should be made solely by a woman and her physician." Though the number of abortions performed nationally has probably remained about the same over the years, the number done safely and legally has skyrocketed recently thanks to those who worked to reform or repeal abortion laws in their home states. That figure of about 8,000 done legally out of a million performed each year in the mid-60s rose to 22,700 in 1969 ; 193,500 in 1970 ; 262,807 in 1971 and 586,000 last year - outnumbering illegal procedures for the first time in a century.
Naturally, these developments have caused a major backlash among anti-abortion groups, and both sides had been preparing for major escalations of their actions this year. But with the Supreme Court declaring today that a woman has a Constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy, and that states may only deny that right during the third trimester, when very few are performed, everything has suddenly changed.
Today's ruling is truly a landmark decision, and one which should be celebrated by all who believe in a woman's right to make reproductive decisions for herself, instead of having them made for her by far away - and overwhelmingly male - legislators. But as comforting as it might be to think that the battle for reproductive rights is over, nothing that's happened in the past few years suggests that the opposition will simply give up and go away.
The nation's disastrous experiment with abortion prohibition has finally been ended. But all Supreme Court Justices are eventually replaced, and a switch of only three votes would be enough to overturn "Roe." And even if it stays on the books, there's no doubt that every imaginable attempt to chip away at it will be tried by opponents, who are as dedicated to doing away with the right to legal abortion as proponents are to protecting it.
The battle to win this basic right has been fought by those who grew up without it. But the task of insuring that abortion and birth control are always both legal and accessible must eventually fall to those too young to have any memory of back-alley abortion mills, run by incompetent or predatory practitioners, or being driven by desperation to an attempt at self-abortion. But if those who never had this right could fight so hard to win it, then surely, those who will have had the privilege of taking reproductive choice for granted all their lives will fight even harder for it if one day they are in danger of having it taken away.
January 23, 1917 : Ethel Byrne, imprisoned birth control advocate, is fully resisting the authorities today, just as she vowed yesterday when sentenced to 30 days for distributing contraceptive information. But she is not yet in Cell 66 of the Workhouse on Blackwell's Island, because a writ of habeas corpus brought her back to court, and by the time it was dismissed, it was too late to return her to the Workhouse to complete processing. She is spending the night in a cell at The Tombs.
But regardless of location, her hunger strike is on, and she will not cooperate in any way with her jailers : "I do not intend to have any physical contact. My sentence is unjust, and I shall protest against it in this way. I shall not work, eat, or drink while I am here." Commissioner of Correction Lewis is skeptical, and equally determined. He says that though prisoners have threatened hunger strikes before, none has actually been carried out, and that if at some point Byrne's health is threatened, he will resort to force-feeding her. He intends restricting press access to one female reporter from each paper - entitled to one visit only. Aside from food and water, Byrne has thus far refused a bath and a physical examination. The confrontation with the female doctor who was to perform the exam was temporarily avoided when the order came down that she be immediately returned to court for a hearing, but upon arrival at Blackwell's Island tomorrow, the battle of wills shall be renewed.
January 23, 1942 : Jacqueline Cochran announced today that she will soon be flying to England again. But this time, America's foremost woman aviator will be bringing 25 more of our country's best female pilots with her so they can join the British women already ferrying planes of every kind from factories to Royal Air Force airfields.
Undoubtedly, these women would rather be doing the same work for America's war effort, but the Army has not yet approved the idea, and officials have made it clear that women will not be ferrying planes for any of the Army Air Forces in the immediate future. So, since British women have been doing the job for two years, it is only logical for women pilots who want to contribute their skills to the Allied effort to go overseas.
Their future training and practical experience will also get them ready for the day when the Army needs them here, says Cochran : "By going to Great Britain now, the group of America women pilots can help our ally in a needed way and be organized and trained as a nucleus for a similar American Air Transport Auxiliary when the need for such an organization shall arise."
There are currently 3,258 women licensed as pilots in the U.S., so Cochran can be very selective about the 25 she chooses. She will be spending the next couple of weeks touring the country recruiting women pilots, then she will choose from a list of 100 aviators with a high degree of flying skill and experience those who will be sent on to Canada for testing and training, then finally pick the first group of 25 to go to England.
This, of course, will not be Cochran's first trip there. Last June she became the first woman to pilot a bomber across the Atlantic, thus proving that women have all the necessary skills to fly even the biggest planes on long and risky flights. The women who are now flying for the British Air Transport Auxiliary have also proven their skills. They were initially allowed to fly only small, training aircraft, but are now ferrying every type of plane manufactured there, from Spitfire and Hurricane fighters to Blenheim and Wellington bombers.
The Americans will be paid an average of $ 4,000 a year, of which $ 25 a week will be automatically deducted and sent to their account in a U.S. bank for when they get back. The more experienced pilots will earn the most, and those who can fly twin-engine planes will get more than those who can only fly those with single engines. All pilots will have substantial amounts of insurance provided.
Cochran has been promoting the idea of women ferrying planes for some time. Not long after the war broke out in Europe on September 1, 1939, she wrote First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt suggesting this plan, and then worked with Col. Robert Olds of the Air Corps Ferrying Command for a time to determine whether such an idea was practical. General "Hap" Arnold, commanding general of the Army Air Forces, suggested last June that Cochran go to England to see how the program was doing there, but he has so far declined to institute something similar here. Hopefully the success of the program in England, combined with the growing need for more pilots in the U.S. as factories gear up to maximum production levels, will allow the women to come home to fly in and for their own country.
January 24, 1917 : Tonight, Ethel Byrne is in Cell 139, next to the prison hospital, in the Workhouse on Blackwell's Island serving her 30 day sentence for disseminating birth control information. But her crusade continues, as she gave contraceptive info to two fellow prisoners on the ferry boat to the island this morning, and shared her knowledge on the subject with a number of prisoners after arrival.
Her hunger strike continues as well. She has not had food or water since the morning of the day before yesterday, even though both are available to her. A physical examination this afternoon showed that she was still in reasonably good condition, so force-feeding has not yet been ordered. Detailed information on her condition is hard to obtain because Commissioner Lewis refused to admit any reporters to the Workhouse today, so what's known comes solely from what prison officials choose to say, and a brief note from her brought out by her lawyer.
Meanwhile, the Women's Committee of One Hundred held a two hour meeting today to plan strategy for their campaign in support of the birth control advocates. At the meeting, a message from Byrne was read by her lawyer : "I have eaten nothing since I went on strike Monday and I will eat nothing until I am released. It does not make much difference whether I starve or not, so long as my plight calls attention to the archaic laws which would prevent our telling the truth about the facts of life. The fight is to go on." In addition to planning a public meeting at Carnegie Hall on the 29th, and promoting legislation by Assemblyman Shiplacoff which would legalize the giving out of birth control information, the committee also adopted a resolution calling on Byrne to end her hunger strike, as she was "too valuable to lose."
January 24, 1972 : Gloria Steinem got a standing ovation today at the National Press Club, and the fact that she was applauded by an audience in which women slightly outnumbered men was proof of how much things can change when feminists are determined to change them.
From its founding in 1908 until 1955, women reporters were banned from even entering the National Press Club as guests. After that time they were allowed in, but had to bring their own brown-bag lunches, and sit quietly in the balcony without asking questions of the speakers, while male reporters dined splendidly at the ballroom tables and were permitted to ask the day's most noteworthy newsmakers as many questions as they wished. Finally, on January 15th of last year, it was decided to admit women as members, with all the same rights and privileges as men.
But all those years of protests, and last year's vehement debate over admitting women now seem like relics of a previous century, with women at least as numerous as men at the tables, and several of the women full-fledged members, not just guests. The club's president, Warren Rogers, even seemed apologetic about his previous opposition to admitting women and said : "That was in the dark days of my early middle age. I have grown."
Unfortunately, Rogers hasn't quite outgrown the idea that women should be judged primarily on their physical appearance, nor learned the word "feminist" as yet, because in his introduction he described Steinem as "certainly the most attractive of the women's libbers." The remark that would probably have gone unnoticed or gotten some applause from an all-male, pre-feminist audience drew some hisses this year.
Gloria Steinem is in Washington, D.C., today as part of a nationwide tour promoting her new magazine, "Ms." (pronounced "miz"), which will hit the news stands for the first time this week. It intends to be a feminist forum for all women, and a revolutionary alternative to the old-style "women's magazines" which rarely challenge, and generally reinforce, traditional female roles. If her magazine is anything like her speech today, there's no danger of it being confused with Woman's Day, Redbook or McCalls.
She bravely began her speech to a roomful or reporters and editors with a two-front attack on the media, criticizing both unequal employment practices and stereotyped portrayals of women : "The real nitty-gritty comes here, for both women and minority men ... They are unlikely to be put in a position of authority over white men. How many women or black city editors have you met ?"
She then went on to single out as an example one man about whom six people complained to her before her speech : "One metropolitan editor here in Washington was the subject of six complaints for clear prejudice against women. The editor is said to give the women, who are less than 20 per cent of his staff, more than 60 per cent of the night assignments and to put women reporters with up to five years' experience back to the cub reporter work of writing obituaries." (Washington Post editor Harry Rosenfeld presumed he was the target of this accusation and strongly denied it later this afternoon.) Steinem then went on to cite numerous instances of unequal pay for equal work, hiring bias, and the exclusion of women from various associations made up of media professionals.
She used as a prime example of bias in coverage of women the fact that back in 1969 when New York was holding hearings on possible changes in its abortion law, the only witnesses called to testify were "14 men and one nun," and "New York reporters saw nothing peculiar about that, and only began interviewing women on the question after the women started demonstrating in the streets." She said that this kind of attitude shows "women are not taken seriously. We are undervalued, ridiculed or ignored by a society which consciously assumes that the white male is the standard and the norm," and said that the press should challenge this assumption, not perpetuate it.
She then got to the main reason for the speaking tour, and began discussing some of the articles in her new magazine. In one by Daniel Ellsburg, he describes "the need to win, or at least not to lose, as a culturally masculine problem. The less secure the male, the more he has to prove : witness Richard Nixon." (Finally a subject the audience could laugh about ...) "Perhaps all of those years of sitting on the bench watching all the football players go by ...." she said, speculating on the cause of his problem. Then, to the delight of many, she called the President the most "sexually insecure chief of state since Napoleon." She also noted that "the most hawkish group in society is likely to be white, male, well-educated, high-income, with a drive for increased status - precisely the group most likely to make foreign policy."
During the question-and-answer session, she was asked about the fact that not all men are "hawks" nor are all women "doves" in regard to war. Though she agreed Senator Margaret Chase Smith (R-Maine) was hawkish : "In the whole hierarchy of hawks, she's nowhere." And the Nixon Administration seems disappointed that Indira Gandhi isn't as warlike as they had hoped. They assumed that any "self-respecting man" would have invaded West Pakistan, but this woman Prime Minister hasn't. Steinem noted that Margaret Mead had observed that women are "less warlike," but can be even more fierce than men when fighting in self-defense.
Returning to politics, she got another laugh at the President's expense when she was asked in what areas she would like to get support from Nixon. "Impeachment, maybe," she quickly replied. But after a few moments she remembered his longtime support for the Equal Rights Amendment and said she really could use his help in getting it through Congress.
She has already expressed her support for both Senator George Mc Govern (D-South Dakota) and Rep. Shirley Chisholm (D-New York) in their Presidential campaigns, but she definitely isn't a supporter of Senator Ed Muskie (D-Maine). The first time she met him, she questioned him about why he took so long to come out against the current war in Vietnam. He lost his temper, and was overheard saying : "I knew we shouldn't have let this girl in in the first place."
Her appearance ended as it began, with a reminder of the Press Club's previously all-male history, and a perfect illustration of her point about the assumption of masculinity as the norm. She was presented with their traditional gift, a National Press Club tie. But both she and her audience got a good laugh out of it, then she left amid great and sustained applause.
January 25, 1917 : Imprisoned birth control advocate Ethel Byrne passed the 72-hour mark in her hunger strike this morning, and is still determined to refuse both food and water until she is released from her 30-day sentence for distributing contraceptive information. Her plight has now gotten nationwide attention, and even some sympathy from some of her guards, one of whom said : "She's a plucky little woman, and she's not making any more trouble for us than she can help."
But three days without food and water have obviously taken a toll, and Byrne now expects that there will be an attempt to force-feed her soon. But she is also confident that it will fail, and that she will then be released. Her condition is being watched closely by Workhouse physician Dr. Irma Howard, and bulletins on her condition are being released on a semi-daily basis. The latest one, issued at 5:00 p.m., showed her blood pressure, heart sound, respiration, and temperature to be normal, but her pulse rate elevated at 93 ; "Has not taken food, cannot say as to water ; washed her hands and face ; cell is clean. Exercise - walking to and from bathroom. General physical condition - fair, somewhat weakened."
Her supporters at the Committee of 100 sent her a telegram yesterday asking her to end her fast because they believe her too valuable to the movement to lose. She said today through her lawyer that : "Their hearts proved stronger than their heads when they wrote that. They know what I am doing is right." "With the Health Department reporting 8,000 death a year in the State from illegal operations on women, one more death won't make much difference, anyway."
Meanwhile, her lawyer, J. J. Goldstein, has asked a higher court for a "certificate of reasonable doubt" regarding the conviction of his client, and for Byrne to be freed on bail pending her appeal. Assistant District Attorney Anderson argued in opposition to bail and said that her clinic constituted a menace to the welfare of the community. Justice Cropsey listened carefully, but issued no decision today. On other fronts, Governor Whitman has agreed to see a delegation from the Committee of 100 in Albany, and President Wilson will be asked today to meet with a number of New York women in their effort to gain his support for a Federal measure to permit the dispensing of birth control information.
January 25, 1972 : The traditional "Old Boys' Club" of candidates seeking this year's Presidential nomination had to make room for a woman member today as Rep. Shirley Chisholm (D-NY), the first Black woman to serve in Congress, officially announced that she was running for the Democratic nomination for President. Though Victoria Woodhull ran for President in 1872, as did Belva Lockwood in 1884 and 1888, on minor party tickets, only one other woman (Republican Margaret Chase Smith, in 1964) has ever sought the nomination of a major party, and there has never been a Black candidate for a major party nomination until now.
The atmosphere was quite festive at the Concord Baptist Church Elementary School Auditorium in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn as Chisholm confidently took the stage. Alongside her were many leaders in the Black community, such as Rep. Ron Dellums (D-NY). Betty Friedan was there as well, to represent feminists.
Rep. Chisholm began her speech to the crowd of 500, most of whom were Black women, by leaving no doubt that the ninth Democratic Presidential candidate was quite different from the other eight :
"I stand before you today as a candidate for the Democratic nomination for the Presidency of the United States of America. I am not the candidate of Black America, although I am Black and proud. I am not the candidate of the women's movement of this country, although I am a woman, and I am equally proud of that. I am not the candidate of any political bosses or fat cats or special interests.
"I stand here now without any endorsements from many big name politicians or celebrities or any other kind of prop. I do not intend to offer to you the tired and glib cliches, which for too long have been an accepted part of our political life. I am the candidate of the people of America. And my presence before you now symbolizes a new era in American political history."
She reassured her audience that change was possible, and that those in the room could help bring it about :
"Our will can create a new America in 1972, one where there is freedom from violence and war, at home and abroad, where there is freedom from poverty and discrimination ; where there exists at least a feeling that we are making progress and assuring for everyone medical care, employment, and decent housing. Where we more decisively clean up our streets, our water, and our air. Where we work together, Black and white, to rebuild our neighborhoods and to make our cities quiet, attractive, and efficient and fundamentally where we live in the confidence that every man and every woman in America has at long last the opportunity to become all that he was created of being."
She concluded by telling her supporters that they were " ...brothers and sisters on the road to national unity and a new America. Those of you who were locked outside of the convention hall in 1968, those of you who can now vote for the first time, those of you who agree with me that the institutions of this country belong to all the people who inhabit it. Those of you who have been neglected, left out, ignored, forgotten, or shunned aside for whatever reason, give me your help at this hour. Join me in an effort to reshape our society and regain control of our destiny as we go down the Chisholm Trail for 1972."
After the cheers and applause died down, she answered reporters' questions about specifics. She said that she intended to enter the primaries in Florida and North Carolina, and was strongly considering a run in California and New York, despite the expenses involved in those mass media markets. Though she expects more donations to roll in now that she's officially in the race, her until-now unofficial campaign has so far collected only $44,000, all in small amounts, and must compete with other contenders who will spend over a million dollars each in the primary campaigns. But she said that delegates who favored her candidacy will be running in Illinois, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Massachusetts and other states. So, even though she admits that winning the nomination is a long shot, she may still "go to the convention as a factor to be reckoned with," be able to help put together a ticket that reflects real diversity, and then after the inauguration, gain cabinet posts and other high appointive positions for minorities and women from a Democratic President.
She is running "to repudiate the ridiculous notion that the American people will not vote for qualified candidates simply because he is not white or because she is not a male. I do not believe that in 1972, the great majority of Americans will continue to harbor such narrow and petty prejudice."
Let's hope that her faith in the voters is confirmed as this election year proceeds. But even if it is not, then her candidacy will certainly help bring the day closer when our Presidents are no longer chosen only from the ranks of white males.
January 26, 1917 : Ethel Byrne's condition began to weaken as she passed the 96-hour mark this morning in her no-food-or-water fast to protest her imprisonment for giving out birth control information. Her condition is being closely watched by the prison physician, and the authorities are saying that force-feeding may begin on the 29th if she does not willingly eat. Coincidentally, that's the same day that her sister, Margaret Sanger, and Fania Mindell will go on trial for their part in the "crime" of giving out contraceptive information at their Brooklyn clinic.
The Commissioner of Corrections is not sympathetic to Byrne, and though he had no evidence that she has eaten since her arrival, he expressed skepticism that she has also gone without water. "I cannot say that she drank any water, but her handkerchiefs have needed washing with suspicious frequency," he noted. Commissioner Lewis refused to allow Byrne's sister Margaret to visit her today, but he does allow regular bulletins on her condition to be released. The 10:00 a.m. update described her blood pressure as within normal limits but wavering, her pulse moderately weakened, her temperature slightly below normal, her respiration within normal limits, and her general condition slightly weaker.
January 26, 1950 : Though delighted by Senator Margaret Chase Smith's (R-Maine) stirring speech in favor of the Equal Rights Amendment, and Senator Guy Gillette's (D-Iowa) leadership in getting it passed by the U.S Senate, Alice Paul was in full battle mode today as she launched the fight to get the "Hayden Rider" removed from her amendment's carefully written text.
There was at least the appearance of triumph yesterday when the United States Senate gave overwhelming 63-19 approval to the E.R.A., which in its original form states : "Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex. Congress and the several states shall have power, within their respective jurisdictions, to enforce this article by appropriate legislation." Thirty Democrats and thirty-three Republicans voted in favor, with all 19 votes against cast by Democrats.
But the Senate's endorsement of a Constitutional amendment that would assure the kind of "absolute equality" under the law for men and women that the National Woman's Party has been seeking was rendered meaningless by the "Hayden Rider," attached to it just prior to the final vote. It was proposed by Senator Carl Hayden, Democrat of Arizona.
The "Hayden Rider" would change the E.R.A. into a decidedly "Unequal Rights Amendment" by adding text that says : "The provisions of this article shall not be construed to impair any rights, benefits, or exemptions, now or hereafter conferred by law upon persons of the female sex." In other words, any form of bias based on sex would be Constitutionally protected so long as it appears to benefit women, even if it clearly discriminates against men. Aside from the blatant unfairness of the idea, even the definition of what constitutes a "benefit" is unclear. Are workplace restrictions that apply only to women a protective "benefit" or a "liability" that make it harder for them to compete with men for jobs ? Adding the Hayden Rider to her E.R.A. is totally unacceptable to Alice Paul, who said today that : "It is impossible to imagine the Constitution containing two such paragraphs."
But while disappointed that this pseudo-E.R.A. would be entirely symbolic at best, and a major roadblock to eliminating laws that discriminate on the basis of sex at worst, Paul did say that yesterday's vote could at least help the cause to some extent. The huge margin for passage might be enough to induce Rep. Emanuel Celler (D-New York) to hold hearings and allow a vote in his House Judiciary Committee. E.R.A. bills have been bottled up there, and the only way to forcibly extract a bill from a committee is with a discharge petition signed by a majority of House Members, something they are extremely reluctant to do regardless of the issue.
The battle for the Equal Rights Amendment began on February 16, 1921, when at their first convention since winning the vote on August 26, 1920, the National Woman's Party endorsed "absolute equality" as their next goal, and immediately set about coming up with the text of an amendment that would assure it. The E.R.A. was introduced into Congress by two Kansas Republicans on December 10, 1923, and has been the subject of hearings in both House and Senate many times. But this is the first time that there has been a vote to pass it by the 2/3 majority required. (The Senate voted 38 to 35 in favor on July 18, 1946, but that fell far short of the supermajority needed.)
At first it was endorsed by only the National Woman's Party, but now there is a prestigious list of national organizations, such as the National Federation of Business and Professional Women, who support it. Both major political parties have called for its passage in their platforms, the Republicans since 1940, Democrats since 1944, with President Truman reaffirming his support in 1945.
There is, of course, opposition. Most of it stems from labor unions who fear that "protective" legislation for women, which restricts the number of hours and times of the day they can work, the amount of weight they can lift, and the jobs they can do, will be overturned if the E.R.A. becomes law, and women will lose their "protections." But E.R.A. supporters point out that these laws are more restrictive than protective, make it harder for women to compete with men who are under no restrictions, and that if a law is truly "protective" it should apply to men as well as women.
Interestingly enough, a conservative Republican Senator, Harry P. Cain of Washington, took a standard argument used against E.R.A. and turned it into one in its favor during this week's debate. He sees women as quite capable of being a vital part of our national defense, and believes that if war should come again, women who are well qualified to be in the military should serve, even if compelled to do so by the military draft as only men are today. "The adoption of this amendment would make available American manpower regardless of sex," he said.
The E.R.A. is not the only proposal being considered by the Senate that would try to bring about equality for women. Senator Estes Kefauver, Democrat of Tennessee, has offered a "legal status" bill to repeal any laws which apply to only one sex and are "not justified by physical structure and maternal functions." Though this bill would have been unsatisfactory for the same reason as an E.R.A. with the "Hayden Rider," and was voted down 65 to 18, one idea from the bill sounds like an excellent and innovative proposal that ought to be written up and implemented as a separate measure. It was a section that would have set up a 15-member Presidential Commission to study and report on laws that discriminate against women, and make recommendations on how to correct each of these inequalities.
Despite the attachment of the Hayden Rider, it was gratifying to hear so many Senators speak out in favor of the original amendment itself. Among those who were its strongest supporters was Senator Margaret Chase Smith, Republican of Maine. She said it was "designed to give full measure and expression to the American way of life" because all citizens should take up their responsibilities and none should ask special treatment. "Women are as subject as men to the old saying, 'You can't have your cake and eat it too.' There is no priority of either women or men. It is time to quit thinking of women as second-class citizens," she said in conclusion.
The battle goes on, but today shifted to the House, where it is hoped that the E.R.A. can be gotten out of committee with Alice Paul's original wording restored, approved by the full House, then sent back to the Senate in its "pure" form, approved there, then sent on to the 48 states for approval by 36. After almost three decades, the struggle has taken its toll, but if suffragists were willing to work 72 years just to win the vote, E.R.A. supporters are certainly willing to put in that much time or more to win full equality, so victory is not a question of "if" but "when."
January 27, 1917 : Force-feeding of imprisoned birth control advocate Ethel Byrne has begun, and will continue on a three-times-per-day basis. She's currently serving a 30-day sentence for violating New York State law by distributing contraceptive information. The "crime" was committed at her sister Margaret Sanger's Brooklyn clinic, which was raided and closed on October 26th, ten days after it opened.
Hunger-striker Byrne had gone without food for four and a half days when prison authorities decided that her condition warranted this extreme form of intervention. Following an examination at 11:45 last night, doctors ordered her wrapped in a blanket and the feeding apparatus brought in. A rubber tube was inserted through her mouth into her esophagus, and a pint of warm milk, two eggs and a small quantity of brandy was poured through a funnel at the top of the tube. The procedure was repeated for a second time at 2:30 p.m. with a sixteenth of a grain of strychnine added, then performed a third time earlier this evening.
There is great concern tonight as to Byrne's true condition. Sanger has received reports that Byrne has been unconscious since the early morning, but prison officials deny this, and have been releasing updates showing her to be improving. Nothing can be verified because Commissioner of Correction Lewis has denied anyone other than two staff physicians and two visiting prison physicians access to Byrne.
Meanwhile, protests outside the Workhouse continue. Emma Goldman sent a telegram yesterday to Commissioner Lewis stating :
"A thousand people in meeting assembled at Forward Hall, New York City, to protest against the continued imprisonment of Mrs. Ethel Byrne. You have a rare opportunity to prove your moral worth by refusing to be a party to the official starving to death of a woman."
The Commissioner replied : "I am following your advice. We fed her last night at 11:45 o'clock."
Another mass meeting will soon be held at Carnegie Hall, and Dr. Frederick Blossom, President of the New York City Birth Control League, said that at the meeting the first issue of the "Birth Control Review," containing articles advocating birth control would be distributed. It is rumored that the police will try to stop any distribution of the publication, and if they do he will appeal to the courts. Also today, Margaret Sanger, who is to go on trial tomorrow on the same charges as her sister, said that she will also engage in a hunger strike if imprisoned.
January 27, 1964 : It hasn't happened since 1888, it's never happened before in a major party, and it almost didn't happen today, but a woman is now making a serious, full-fledged run for the Presidency. Senator Margaret Chase Smith of Maine is seeking the Republican Presidential nomination this year, and one of the reasons she is running is to make it easier for other women to do the same thing in the future. When discussing her reasons for her campaign, she noted that one strong argument in favor was that "women before me pioneered and smoothed the way for me to be the first woman to be elected to both House and Senate - and that I should give back in return that which has been given to me."
She made the announcement to a cheering - and quite relieved - crowd at the Women's National Press Club. Though there have been expectations for months that she might run, not even her closest friends knew for sure what she might decide. In fact, she carried with her two statements, one that said she was running, and another that said she was not, so even she didn't decide until the last possible minute. But after listing all the reasons that people had given why she shouldn't run, she delighted her audience by saying : "I have decided that I shall enter the New Hampshire Presidential preferential primary and the Illinois primary." She said that "only time will tell" if she would run in all 14 other primaries.
Since she has little money to spend, it will be a campaign conducted without paid workers, or radio, TV and newspaper ads. But because New Hampshire is Maine's neighbor, she is quite well known there, and as the only woman running for the White House there should be plenty of free publicity in the local papers as they cover her campaign appearances.
She was not at all impressed by two of the reasons advanced by those who thought she should not run : " ....there are those who make the contention that no woman should ever dare to aspire to the White House - that this is a man's world and that it should be kept that way - and that a woman on the national ticket of a political party would be more of a handicap than a strength." It was also contended that : " ... as a woman I would not have the physical stamina and strength to run - and that I should not take that much out of me even for what might conceivably be a good cause, even if a losing cause."
She then noted that all of the reasons suggested why she should not run for President (her gender, long odds against winning, an alleged lack of physical stamina, lack of funds and a professional political organization, interference with her other work) were first advanced against her running for the House and Senate. She rejected such negativism then, and this time "I welcome the challenge and I look forward to the test."
The first woman to run for President was Victoria Woodhull, who ran in 1872 as the nominee of the Equal Rights Party. Belva Ann Lockwood ran in 1884 and 1888 as the National Equal Rights Party's Presidential candidate. (In 1888 women only voted in the Territory of Wyoming, where they won the vote in 1869, though they had voted in Utah Territory from 1870 to 1887.) In 1920, long-time party activist Laura Clay's name was placed in nomination for President at the Democratic convention. Cora Wilson Stewart was also nominated in 1920, and got one vote on the first and 15th ballots at the 1924 Democratic convention. Interestingly, the woman whose Presidential campaign has gotten the most votes so far is Gracie Allen, who ran on the "Surprise Party" ticket in 1940 as a publicity stunt for radio's "Burns and Allen Show." She received 42,000 actual votes, 10 times as many as Belva Lockwood's highest total of 4,149 in 1884.
Senator Smith is an experienced, and respected politician. She was first elected to the House in 1940 and served there until elected to the Senate in 1948. On June 1, 1950 she delivered a 15-minute "Declaration of Conscience" on the floor of the Senate in which she denounced McCarthyism, and still maintains that same kind of independence and courage today. She's a welcome addition to this year's field of candidates, and her campaign should go a long way toward ending the prejudices and stereotypes that still handicap women in politics.
January 28, 1917 : A regular schedule of force-feedings is now being drawn up by Workhouse authorities for Ethel Byrne, presently serving 30 days on Blackwell's Island for giving out information on birth control. Her "offense" occurred in the nation's first birth control clinic, opened on October 16th and run by her sister, Margaret Sanger, at 46 Amboy Street in Brooklyn, New York.
On October 26th, after providing services to at least 400 women, the clinic was raided and closed by police for violating Section 1142 of New York State's Penal Code, which prohibits anyone from giving out information on contraception, or actual birth control devices. Byrne's trial was held before a three-judge panel on January 8th, with sentencing postponed until January 22nd.
Ethel Byrne has been undergoing force-feeding three times a day since just after midnight yesterday morning. The procedure consists of having a rubber tube inserted through her mouth and into her esophagus while a pint of milk, two eggs, and a small amount of brandy are poured in through a funnel.
The authorities have announced that they will not end the feedings when she has recovered from the immediate effects of her four and a half day hunger strike. They will continue the ordeal until she agrees to eat and drink voluntarily. Commissioner of Corrections Lewis has been besieged by telephone calls from people objecting to Byrne's treatment, but he insists that it is nothing unusual :
"Mrs. Byrne is being fed because the law requires it. Forcible feeding is nothing to cause so much comment. It is an every day matter with us. We constantly get alcoholics and drug addicts who must be forcibly fed. We are not permitted to allow prisoners to commit suicide. The only difference between Mrs. Byrne and the others is that Mrs. Byrne has someone on the outside giving out statements about her and us."
That "someone" is Margaret Sanger, who along with Fania Mindell will go on trial tomorrow for the same offense as Byrne. Since Sanger has also vowed to go on a hunger strike if jailed, Workhouse officials said today that she will not be allowed to go over four days without food as her sister did, but will probably be force-fed after two.
Neither Sanger, nor Byrne's lawyer, have been able to see the prisoner for three days, and there is growing concern about her true condition, despite reassuring bulletins issued by the Workhouse that allegedly show her condition improving. (At 6:00 this evening the latest report said that her temperature was 97, pulse 96, respiration 19, blood pressure 122, and that her physical and mental condition were both "good.")
On another front, it was announced today that a delegation from the "Committee of 100" will go to Albany on the 31st to ask Governor Whitman to commute Byrne's sentence. The Committee was organized by Gertrude Pinchot and other active members of the National Birth Control League, such as Rose Pastor Stokes, Crystal Eastman and Juliet Rublee, to protest the arrests at Sanger's clinic and to raise money to help with legal expenses of birth control advocates.
The mass meeting in Carnegie Hall tomorrow night in support of those arrested at the clinic, and for the legalization of birth control, is now a sold-out affair, though six box seats will likely be empty. They have been reserved for the three judges who convicted and sentenced Ethel Byrne, the Assistant District Attorney who prosecuted her, and two of his staff members. The police, on the other hand, are expected to show up, since there will be an attempt to distribute copies of the first issue of the "Birth Control Review," containing articles favoring contraception.
The immediate goal of local birth control advocates is to amend or repeal the law under which Byrne, Sanger and Mindell are charged. Section 1142 of New York State's Penal Code reads as follows :
"A person who sells, lends, gives away, or in any manner exhibits or offers to sell, lend, or give away, or has in his possession with intent to sell, lend or give away, or advertises, or offers for sale, loan or distribution, any instrument or article, or any recipe, drug or medicine for the prevention of conception or for causing unlawful abortion, or advertises or holds out representations that it can be so used or applied, or any such description as will be calculated to lead another to so use or apply any such article, recipe, drug, medicine or instrument, or who writes or prints, or causes to be written or printed, a card, circular, pamphlet, advertisement, or notice of any kind, or gives information orally, stating when, where, how or whom, or by what means such an instrument, article, recipe, drug or medicine can be purchased or obtained, or who manufactures any such instrument, article, recipe, drug or medicine, is guilty of a misdemeanor, and shall be liable to the same penalties as provided in section eleven hundred and forty-one of this chapter. This punishment is a sentence of not less than ten days nor more than one year's imprisonment or a fine of not less than fifty dollars or both fine and imprisonment for each offense."
January 29, 1917 : Three thousand people cheered Margaret Sanger's speech earlier tonight at Carnegie Hall, where she called for the repeal or overturning of Section 1142 of the New York State Penal Code and all similar statutes. This law makes it a criminal offense for anyone to sell or give out contraceptives - or even information about birth control. The audience also expressed its strong support for Ethel Byrne, now being force-fed after engaging in a four and a half day hunger strike in the Workhouse on Blackwell's Island, where she is serving a 30-day sentence for the "offense" of distributing contraceptive information.
Sanger was able to attend tonight's meeting despite having been tried today on the same charges as her sister, Ethel Byrne. The three-judge panel has not rendered a verdict yet, and therefore could not impose the expected sentence.
Sanger's trial opened with testimony from the female police officer who arrested her on October 26th, ten days after she opened the nation's first birth control clinic. Officer Margaret Whitehurst had been to the clinic before, in an undercover role, to gather evidence. She said that when she entered the clinic on the 26th, she observed Sanger sitting in a back room with an open box of Aseptikon Vaginal Suppositories on a table. She was talking to three women on the other side of the table. After putting down the Aseptikon, Sanger picked up two rubber birth control devices, one for men and one for women, and continued talking.
Whitehurst said that at this point, she and two male officers placed Sanger under arrest, and after interrogating the other three women, took Sanger to the station house in a patrol wagon. After more witness testimony and lengthy arguments from Assistant District Attorney Edward Cooper and defense lawyer Jonah Goldstein, Presiding Judge Freschi said : "This is a very close case. The court will reserve decision and ask both sides to submit briefs."
At the Carnegie Hall rally tonight, Sanger left no doubt about her intention to repeal Section 1142 of New York's law and the Federal "Comstock Act," both of which classify birth control devices and information on their use as "obscenity" :
"I come to you tonight from a crowded courtroom, from a vortex of persecution. I come not from the stake at Salem, where women were burned for blasphemy, but from the shadow of Blackwell's Island, where women are tortured for 'obscenity.' .... My purpose in life is to arouse sentiment for the repeal of the law, State and Federal. It is we women who have paid for the folly of this law, and it is up to us to repeal it."
The audience enthusiastically passed a number of resolutions by acclimation. They condemned the denial of a jury trial to Sanger, and the refusal of the judge to stay Byrne's sentence while her conviction is being appealed. They also expressed sympathy for Byrne, and protested her being denied visitors by the Commissioner of Correction. Finally, they pledged to "secure such change in State and Federal laws as shall put birth control knowledge within the reach of all who need it" and "unwavering moral and financial support" to Margaret Sanger "in her campaign to establish the principle of voluntary motherhood in this country."
The evening was a great success, with the proceeds from the 25-cent to 75-cent seats, as well as from the high-priced boxes going to help the campaign to decriminalize birth control. To the surprise of many, sales of the first issue of Sanger's "Birth Control Review," which contains articles from such noted individuals as H. G. Wells and Havelock Ellis, advocating legalization of birth control, were not blocked by police, and numerous copies were sold at 15 cents each.
But while spirits were high at Carnegie Hall, Ethel Byrne is still unjustly imprisoned in the grim surroundings of the Workhouse. She continues to refuse to take food voluntarily, and is still being force-fed, though now only twice a day instead of three times. When physicians offered her the opportunity to take two pints of nourishment from a glass instead of a rubber tube inserted down her throat to her esophagus, and assured her that "nobody would know" she refused, saying : "Nobody else might know about it, but I would, and I would not be following out the course I have laid down." Even Commissioner of Correction Lewis had to admit "she appears to be a very conscientious woman."
The battle will continue in courtrooms, State Legislatures and Congress until victory is achieved !
January 30, 1917 : Imprisoned birth control advocate Ethel Byrne's force-feedings continue, as do nationwide protests over her conviction and treatment. Today a telegram was sent from the Chicago Economic Forum to New York City Commissioner of Correction Burdette Lewis which said :
"The Economic Forum assembled on Sunday at Colonial Hall, Randolph and Dearborn Streets, vigorously and unanimously protests the cruelty being practiced on Mrs. Ethel Byrne under your authority of forcibly feeding her. Your violence is of the same quality as the court's injustice."
Commissioner Lewis replied : "The penitentiary laws of New York provide : 'Every person guilty of attempting suicide is guilty of a felony. A person who willfully in any manner advises, encourages, abets or assists another person in taking the latter's life is guilty of manslaughter in the first degree.' I will not permit or abet the violation of either section. I would neglect my duty if I willfully permitted a prisoner to injure himself."
Byrne has been in custody since January 22nd, after being convicted of violating Section 1142 of New York State's Penal Code by furnishing information on birth control to patients at her sister Margaret Sanger's now-closed clinic in Brooklyn last October. Immediately after her conviction she began a hunger strike, and the force-feedings began after she had gone without food for the first four and a half days of her 30-day sentence.
The feedings continue, though now only two, rather than three, a day, with beef juice newly added to Byrne's diet of eggs, milk and brandy, administered through a funnel at the top of a rubber tube inserted down her throat to the esophagus.
According to prison officials, she is supposedly doing well, "cooperating" in the procedure by not resisting the force-feedings, and even took a walk around the ward this morning. However, since not even her sister or her lawyer have been permitted to see her since before the force-feedings began just after midnight on the morning of the 27th, there is great skepticism about the official reports, and a growing concern about her health.
January 30, 1970 : The National Organization for Women held a press conference in New York City today to reinforce and expand on yesterday's testimony in Washington, D.C., before the Senate Judiciary Committee denouncing the nomination of G. Harrold Carswell to the U.S. Supreme Court. President Nixon's second nominee to fill the vacancy on the Court left by Abe Fortas is under fire on two fronts. Civil Rights groups testified against him earlier in the week because of the segregationist views he expressed during a 1948 campaign for the Georgia Legislature, and his subsequent membership in an all-white golf club. Feminists denounced him as a racist as well, but brought up much more recent charges in regard to sexism.
Last October, while a member of a Federal Appeals Court, Carswell cast one of the votes against hearing the case of Ida Phillips. She applied for a trainee position with Martin-Marietta Corporation but was rejected because it was against company policy to hire mothers of preschool children. The company has no such rule regarding fathers of small children, so this was a clear case of gender bias. But the U.S. Circuit Court in New Orleans ruled 2-1 that she was not being discriminated against solely on account of her sex, but because of her parental status as well, and though sex discrimination is illegal, bias based on sex "plus" something not covered, such as parental status, is not.
Carswell's vote against the Appeals Court hearing the case, as he admitted during Senate testimony, could be interpreted as an endorsement of the "sex plus" doctrine. It would allow obvious gender discrimination so long as the bias did not apply to all women, but only those who could not meet "special standards" even if those "special standards" did not apply to men. Such an interpretation of the Civil Rights Act by the Supreme Court could condone the firing of over 4 million employed mothers who have children under the age of six, and give the green light to discrimination against other subclasses of women as well.
At the hearing yesterday, Rep. Patsy Mink and N.O.W. President Betty Friedan both assailed Judge Carswell. Mink said that his "basic philosophy is totally unbecoming of a man being considered for appointment to the highest court of the land" and "I believe that Judge Carswell demonstrated a total lack of understanding of the concept of equality and that his vote represented a vote against the right of women to be treated equally and fairly under the law." She then linked his views on race with those on sex : "Male supremacy, like white supremacy, is equally repugnant to those who really believe in equality."
Betty Friedan went next, and agreed with Mink that "racism and sexism often go hand in hand." Reminding the Senators of the facts of the case, in which a company had a policy that barred mothers, but not fathers, of preschool children from being hired, she noted : "Judge Carswell justified discrimination against such women by a peculiar doctrine of "sex plus*' which claimed that discrimination which did not apply to all women but only to women who did not meet special standards -- standards not applied to men -- was not sex discrimination." She then went on to say : "Only sex discrimination, or sexism as we feminists call it, can explain Judge Carswell's ruling."
Today Betty Friedan was back in New York and joined by a number of other women opposed to the Carswell nomination : Beulah Sanders, President of the National Welfare Rights Organization ; Elinor Guggenheimer, Democratic Party leader and founder of the national day care movement ; Diane Schulder, attorney for 400 women attacking the constitutionality of the New York State abortion law and who teaches a course called "Women and the Law" at New York University Law School ; Patricia Burnett, a Detroit Republican and a member of N.O.W., and Karen De Crow who ran for Mayor of Syracuse on the Liberal Party ticket.
Friedan said : "Women must inform their Senators that if they confirm an enemy of women -- who would make it impossible for mothers to have both children and jobs -- we will work for their defeat." She said it was "the first time in history that a Supreme Court nominee has been opposed on the grounds of his prejudice against women. That this call has been raised now is a reflection of the growing sensitivity of women to their second-class status and to the impetus of the women's rights revolution."
She called his vote not to hear the case "total blindness to the very real problems women face today. Over 25% of mothers with children under six are in the labor force today," and Carswell was "defying the policy of this administration to encourage women in poverty with children to work by expanding day-care centers rather than continue in the current medieval welfare system which perpetuates the cycle of poverty from generation to generation." She noted that mothers and children are 80% of welfare cases in major cities.
She predicted that "during the next decade, the emerging revolution of the no longer quite so silent majority -- the 51% of the population who are women -- will pose pressing new problems to our society which will inevitably come before the courts and will preoccupy the Supreme Court of the seventies as did the Civil Rights movement of the sixties." Therefore, "the women of America cannot accept the appointment of a sexist judge to the Supreme Court of the United States."
The Phillips case will be appealed to the Supreme Court, and the battle to replace Justice Fortas with someone who has shown a record of sensitivity to, and opposition toward, both race and sex discrimination will continue as well.
January 31, 1913 : Though a much larger demonstration is planned for March third by the National American Woman Suffrage Association, the 400 suffragists who came to Washington today made quite an impression on the House Committee on Elections. Led by Clara Bewick Colby of Portland, Oregon, who published the Woman's Tribune from 1883 to 1909, the Western suffragists announced their arrival by marching through the streets of Washington to the Capitol. They came to show their support for both the Susan B. Anthony (nationwide woman suffrage) Amendment as well as a bill by Representative Burton Lee French of Idaho, which would immediately grant women in all States the right to vote for Representatives in Congress.
Later, at the Committee on Elections hearing, Colby expressed the frustration of many at the slowness of Congress to respond to the injustice of women's disenfranchisement, and the attitude usually displayed toward those who are asking such a basic right for half the population : "Where there are few 'veterans' left to lead our fight, there are myriads of equally determined and developed fellows. Our efforts are a lasting record of the futility of Congressional committees, who made a day's sport of the earnest and dignified efforts of women to gain their political freedom. Twenty-eight Representatives are now in Congress from nine equal suffrage States. The Constitution says that representation shall be by the 'people of the several States.' Are women 'people' ? Are women citizens ? These are the questions for you to decide."
Others spoke for the cause, including 82-year-old Belva Lockwood, the first woman to argue a case before the U.S. Supreme Court, and the second woman to have run for President. A dozen pro-suffrage Members of Congress spoke as well, citing the success of equal suffrage in their States. Rep. Carl Hayden, the new State of Arizona's first Member of Congress, reassured his colleagues that women voters in his State were actually among the most conservative, not the most radical members of the electorate.
But though the suffragists who had traveled across the country to make their case seemed to get more attention and respect than usual from the committee members, they got no new promises of support, so the campaign continues. The focus now will be on the huge suffrage pageant being planned by Alice Paul, head of NAWSA's Congressional Committee, which will take place the day before President-elect Wilson's inaugural less than five weeks from now, and, of course, "General" Rosalie Jones' army of suffragists who have announced plans to hike to Washington, D.C., from New York beginning February 12th.
January 31, 1917 : Ethel Byrne's prison ordeal for the "crime" of dispensing birth control information may be nearing an end - and have done enormous good. Earlier today, Gertrude Pinchot and a number of other members of the pro-birth-control "Committee of 100" met with New York Governor Whitman in Albany, where he expressed sympathy for Byrne, and her cause as well.
Whitman indicated that he supported the Committee's suggestion that he appoint a commission to study how to amend New York State law, which currently bans both birth control devices themselves as well as giving out information on contraception. He is also open to the possibility of granting Byrne a "conditional" pardon : "I am sworn to enforce the law, and I could grant Mrs. Byrne a pardon only on condition that she would refrain from violating it upon her release."
Apparently, the Governor wants to grant her a pardon which would leave her free to speak and write in favor of legalizing birth control, but she would have to promise never to repeat her "offense" of giving out information about its use. Dr. Mary Holton noted that there might be a way of getting around that restriction : "She can promise the Governor that she will not violate the law in this State, and go over to New Jersey and practice." The Governor also said he thought there should be an appeal of Byrne's conviction, so that the issue of the constitutionality of bans on birth control and contraceptive information could be looked at by the courts. Complicating matters is the fact that If he pardons her, all legal proceedings are ended, so an appeal and court test of the law would no longer be an option for her.
Though a "conditional" pardon was not entirely satisfactory to the delegation - Margaret Sanger especially - they immediately went to the Governor's legal assistant to obtain a pardon application blank, and also the paperwork necessary for an order compelling the Commissioner of Correction to allow Sanger to visit her sister in prison. Commissioner Lewis has denied Byrne any outside visitors since even before her force-feedings began shortly after midnight on the 27th. The appeal for amendments to change the State's anti-birth-control law was drafted by Professor John Dewey of Columbia University and signed by 39 Columbia professors plus a number of members of the City College faculty.
Ethel Byrne continues to refuse to eat voluntarily, and is being force-fed for the fifth day at the Workhouse on Blackwell's Island, though today there have been some more changes in her diet. Twice a day, milk, malted milk, chicken broth, sugar and a stimulant are administered through a funnel at the end of a rubber tube inserted through her throat to her esophagus. Commissioner of Correction Lewis, who has been unsympathetic toward her from the beginning, now wants to start charging her room and board and has found a law that may allow it. He said today : "If we have people who persist in boarding with us, I think it would be a wise thing for the city to enforce this provision of the law and charge them board, especially if they insist on lying in bed, instead of working like other prisoners."
Fortunately, the public has become far more concerned about Ethel Byrne than Commissioner Lewis, and support for decriminalizing contraception has clearly been increasing as well. So while ignorance and repression may still be Federal and State policy in regard to family planning, the days of anti-birth-control laws now appear to be numbered, and the only question is whether they shall be overturned by the courts as unconstitutional or by public demand for more enlightened legislation.
February 1, 1917 : Ethel Byrne is free ! She was pardoned by New York Governor Charles Whitman today, ten days after being sentenced to serve 30 days in the Workhouse on Blackwell's Island for violating New York's anti-birth-control law last October at her sister Margaret Sanger's birth control clinic in Brooklyn. She went on a hunger strike on January 22nd, the day of her sentencing and imprisonment, and has been force-fed approximately a dozen times since just after midnight on the morning of January 27th.
She was taken by ambulance from the Workhouse to Sanger's home at 246 West 14th Street, arriving there just minutes ago, at 11 p.m. No interviews with Byrne were permitted due to her condition, which Sanger, a trained nurse, describes as "critical." Naturally, this description is disputed by prison authorities, who have been issuing regular bulletins about her "good health" for several days.
Her release was dependent upon acceptance of Gov. Whitman's stipulation that she agree to refrain from violating Section 1142 of the New York State Penal Code, which prohibits selling or giving out birth control devices or contraceptive information. Her right to speak and write in favor of legalizing birth control and family planning information remains intact, and of course, it has been suggested that if she went to a neighboring State to continue her work, she would not be breaking New York law.
This afternoon, Margaret Sanger sent the Governor a telegram saying that she thought Byrne would agree to the condition he imposed. But the telegram arrived just after he left Albany for New York City, so Sanger and Gertrude Pinchot headed a small delegation that met him at the St. Regis Hotel.
After they asked the Governor to release Byrne, he asked if she was ready to agree to abide by New York's laws. Sanger replied : "My sister is dying. She is in no condition to make any promise. But in her behalf, I can promise that she will not again violate the law if she is released." That was enough to satisfy the Governor, and Byrne's ordeal was soon over. How Byrne feels about the agreement that was made in her name to get this "conditional" pardon is not known as yet.
But the battle is far from over for the other two women arrested on October 26th, the day the first and only birth control clinic in the U.S. was raided and closed. Margaret Sanger, arrested while counseling three women on birth control, is still awaiting a verdict in her case. The judges listened to testimony on January 29th, then asked both sides to submit briefs before making their decision.
Fania Mindell has also been to court, but as yet no verdict has been announced for her "crime" of selling a copy of an allegedly "obscene" sex education and birth control booklet by Sanger entitled "What Every Girl Should Know."
Mindell's judges have postponed their ruling until they have had time to read the booklet themselves to determine if it violates New York law. Apparently, these brave men are willing to run the risk of being morally corrupted by reading information about the means of preventing conception, which both State and Federal Law consider sufficiently dangerous that anyone distributing such material can be imprisoned alongside violent criminals.
The verdicts in the cases of Sanger and Mindell could come as early as tomorrow, so while birth control advocates are celebrating the release of Ethel Byrne, there is concern that the beginning of more such ordeals may be only hours away.
February 2, 1917 : Verdicts were announced today in the cases of birth control advocates Margaret Sanger and Fania Mindell. They were tried on January 29th for violating Section 1142 of the New York State Penal Code. This statute prohibits anyone from selling or giving away birth control devices, or even information about contraception, and classifies both as "indecent articles." Sentencing will be on the 5th.
Mindell was convicted of selling a copy of one of Sanger's booklets on sexuality and reproduction at Sanger's first-in-the-nation birth control clinic. It opened on October 16th and operated until it was raided and closed on October 26th. Sanger, who was arrested as she counseled three women about birth control, while openly displaying contraceptive devices, was found guilty as well.
The verdicts of the three-judge panel (the defendants were denied jury trials) were read just hours after Sanger's sister, Ethel Byrne, was freed from the Blackwell's Island Workhouse by Governor Whitman's pardon. She had been imprisoned since January 22nd for her role in the running of the clinic.
The reason for the four-day delay in announcing the verdicts was so that the judges could read the Sanger booklet for themselves to determine whether it was in violation of the law, then read briefs submitted by prosecution and defense concerning whether Sanger's actions in opening and running the clinic could be justified.
Sanger said that whether she goes on a hunger strike as her sister did will depend upon what the court decides to do at the time of sentencing. If she is permitted to remain free on bond while her conviction is being appealed, there would obviously be no strike. But if she, too, is sent straight to the Workhouse, she might follow her sister's example, though other ideas are being considered as well.
Ethel Byrne, pardoned by the Governor yesterday after serving 10 days of her 30-day sentence, is at Sanger's home. She is recuperating from the effects of the hunger strike she began immediately after her conviction and sentencing on January 22nd, and the ordeal of about a dozen force-feedings, which commenced on January 27th. Though still weak, her doctor says that she will regain her health soon.
Should Sanger and Mindell be given prison sentences, they, too, could be in the custody of Commissioner of Correction Burdette Lewis, who has made no secret of his hostility toward Ethel Byrne, and who ordered her force-feeding four and a half days after she began her hunger strike.
February 3, 1919 : Suffragists have now pulled to within just one vote of having enough for Congressional passage of the Susan B. Anthony (nationwide woman suffrage) Amendment and sending it to the States for ratification. It was learned today that Senator Pollock, Democrat of South Carolina, elected in a special election in November to fill a four-month vacancy, will vote for the amendment when it comes up again a week from today.
Pressure for that 64th and final vote necessary to obtain passage by 2/3 of the Senate is intense, and focusing on Senator Trammel, Democrat of Florida. He was visited by a delegation of suffragists yesterday, bringing with them a number of members of the Florida Legislature urging him to vote in favor. In addition, President Wilson has sent him a telegram personally urging a vote for suffrage.
Two Senators who were considered possible supporters are not cooperating, however. Senator Moses of New Hampshire, a Republican elected in November to fill a two-year vacancy, said that the Legislature of his State has not asked him to vote for suffrage, and therefore "That leaves me free to exercise my own discretion. I am opposed to woman suffrage and intend to vote against the resolution on Monday."
The Idaho Legislature has endorsed woman suffrage (women won the vote there in 1896), so Senator Borah, Republican of Idaho, was thought to be another possibility, but anti-suffrage leaders are indicating that he is still firmly in their camp. Alice Paul warned tonight that "This is the last chance the Democratic Party will have to take advantage of the opportunity they have neglected for the last five years to pass the amendment enfranchising the 20,000,000 women of this country. Women recognize that it is entirely in the hands of the Democratic Party to pass the suffrage measure, and will hold them responsible if it is not passed."
The last time a Senate vote was taken, on October 1, 1918 - just a day after President Wilson addressed that body urging passage - 30 Democrats voted in favor, 22 against ; 32 Republicans voted in favor, 12 against, giving a count of 62-34, or two short of passage. The principal opposition to the amendment is from Southern Democrats. The House passed the measure on Jan. 10, 1918, by exactly the 2/3 majority required.
February 3, 1944 : Women serving their country in the Army got a well-deserved salute from the Women's Army Corps commander today upon her return from a 26-day inspection trip overseas. Colonel Oveta Culp Hobby had nothing but praise for the ability and dedication of the troops she visited in England, Italy and North Africa. They have been performing every task given them extremely well, and are determined to stay until total victory is achieved. According to Col. Hobby : "I didn't see a one who wanted to come home until it was over, not a one !"
Though it's not known when and where the expected Allied invasion of Europe will occur, the performance of our women soldiers has earned them a role in that operation. According to Hobby : "The W.A.C. will go in as soon as lines are established and field establishments set up." Seven are already serving with the Supreme Allied Commander, General Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Though the vast majority serve in the U.S., there are now about 3,000 WACs overseas. Two-thirds are in North Africa, 350 in Italy, and the rest in England. More are needed, and are on the way. Recruiting has been brisk, and 816 women enlist in an average week. Like their civilian counterparts in defense work, military women are now working in a wide variety of jobs, as described by Hobby when she discussed their work by region :
"England : WACs in England are scattered quite broadly. In London they are working in hospitals, in the Office of Strategic Services, in the Military Intelligence Service. In field installations with the various air commands they are plotting and briefing missions, doing photo interpretations of bombings, handling communications. We have not enough WACs in England yet ; there are still British women serving with our American troops.
"North Africa : "I just happened into Algiers on January 26th, the first anniversary of the arrival of the WACs in North Africa. The 2,000 there have done so well there are many requests for more. The record of a year's performance on overseas duty is the best evidence of how worthwhile the W.A.C. is to the Army.
"Italy : In the forward field headquarters of the Fifth Army, I visited a camouflaged trailer, all manned by women who were running entire telephonic operations. The nurses, of course, were much closer up - our girls were not in range of the guns. The rest of the WACs attached to the Fifth Army were back in the next headquarters doing paper jobs."
The Women's Army Corps was first championed by Rep. Edith Nourse Rogers, Republican of Massachusetts, who began her campaign for it six months before the U.S. entered the war. But it was not until after Pearl Harbor that her colleagues got behind the idea, and even then, she had to overcome some vigorous opposition from the Southern men in Congress. But on May 15, 1942, the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps was created, which became the Women's Army Corps on July 3rd of last year.
Though a lot of territory has been re-taken from the Axis, this war is still a long way from being over. With so much left to do, we should all recognize and applaud the efforts of our men and women in uniform, whether those women are in the Women's Army Corps, among the Navy's WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service), Women Marines, or Coast Guard SPARS (from the Coast Guard motto of "Semper Paratus," which means "Always Ready.")
February 4, 1919 : With just six days left until a crucial vote in the Senate, William Jennings Bryan spent today at the Capitol lobbying hard for the one more vote proponents still need for the 2/3 majority required to pass the Susan B. Anthony (nationwide woman suffrage) Amendment. The three-time Democratic Presidential nominee (1896, 1900 and 1908) and recent Secretary of State (1913-1915) urged his fellow Democrats to support suffrage not only as a matter of justice, but self-preservation as well :
"Woman suffrage is coming to the country and the world. It will be submitted to the States by the next Congress, if not submitted by the present Congress. I hope the Democrats of the South will not handicap the Democrats of the North by compelling them to spend the next twenty-five years explaining to the women of the country why their party prevented the submission of the suffrage amendment to the States. This is our last chance to play an important part in bringing about this important reform."
Bryan has good reason to worry about how women will view the Democratic Party once they have won the vote nationwide. When the Anthony Amendment finally passed the House on January 10th of last year by the 2/3 majority needed (274-136) it was principally because of Republican votes. Republicans voted 165-33 in favor (83.3%) while Democrats voted only 104-102 in favor (50.5%). The other five affirmative votes needed for passage were supplied by members not affiliated with either party, with one minor party vote in opposition.
When the amendment came up for a vote in the Senate on October 1st, it fell two votes short of the 2/3 needed, with the original tally standing at 54-30. Republicans voted 27-10 in favor (73%) while Democrats voted 27-20 in favor (57.4%). Senator Jones, Democrat of New Mexico, the amendment's sponsor, changed his vote to "no" when he saw it wouldn't pass so that he would have the right to bring it up again, leaving the official vote at 53-31. Had just two more Senators voted in favor, the original vote would have been 56-28, not 54-30, the Anthony Amendment would have passed, been submitted to the States last Fall, and be well on the way to ratification by now. In the past few months, one vote has been picked up, so now only one more appears needed.
Bryan talked at length with more than a dozen Southern Democrats today, Senator Trammel of Florida among them. His vote is seen as the most likely to change and put the amendment over the top, so Trammel has been heavily lobbied by suffrage groups, and even received a personal telegram from President Wilson urging a "yes" vote.
In addition to the fact that many Southern Democrats have rather traditional views of a woman's role, they also tend to oppose Constitutional Amendments in general because they trump "States' Rights" and oppose this amendment in particular because it's race-neutral. If Congress were to enforce it - as Section Two gives it the power to do - it could enfranchise women regardless of their race, something Southern Democrats see as a potential "threat" to segregation and "white rule."
When pressed on whether he had been converted to the cause by Mr. Bryan, Senator Trammel would only say : "I told Mr. Bryan that I would carefully consider what he had said to me." In another development today, twenty-two Democratic Senators who favor suffrage petitioned the Democratic Leader, Senator Martin of Virginia, to call a conference of Senate Democrats to discuss the issue. Realizing how critical this upcoming vote could be to the image of his party, Senator Martin has agreed to hold such a conference tomorrow night.
Control of Congress will be passing from Democrats to Republicans on March 4th, thanks to the results of the November elections, thus making passage of the Anthony Amendment virtually assured this year. But it would be better if the present Senate passed the Anthony Amendment. If it doesn't, the entire approval process must start all over again in the new Congress. The House would have to pass it a second time, and the Senate for the first time.
This complicated process could take several months, and by that time many State Legislatures would have finished their regular sessions. After that time, the only way to get a ratification in those States during this year or next would be for governors to call their legislatures back into special session, something governors do not like to do because of the expense to taxpayers. And, of course, anti-suffrage governors would certainly not call such sessions, so even if a majority of a State Legislature was in favor, they couldn't ratify until the next regular session.
So, though passage by Congress finally seems in sight 41 years after the Anthony Amendment was first introduced there, the path to victory is still not an unobstructed one. Everyone who supports woman suffrage should be busily writing to their Senators urging them to pass this long-overdue amendment without delay so that there will be 48 "Suffrage States" when we elect our next President in 1920.
February 5, 1917 : Margaret Sanger is in Brooklyn's Raymond Street Jail tonight, beginning a 30-day sentence for the "crime" of giving out birth control information. She shared her knowledge with women who desperately wished to have it, and could get it nowhere else but the nation's first and only birth control clinic.
Having been found guilty three days ago of violating Section 1142 of the New York State Penal Code by opening her clinic on October 16th and operating it until it was raided and closed on October 26th, Sanger was first given the option of paying a $ 5,000 fine instead of serving jail time. After refusing to pay the fine, she was given another opportunity to avoid prison, but only if she would agree to stop sharing information about birth control as long as Section 1142 remains on the books.
Justice Freschi, who presided over the three-judge panel, seemed quite sympathetic to Sanger, but still determined to do his duty to uphold all of New York's laws, including its anti-birth-control statute. He said :
"Mrs. Sanger, if you promise to obey the law faithfully in the future, this court will exercise extreme clemency."
She replied : "This is a test case, and pending appeal only will I promise to refrain from my activities."
Agreeing to obey the law only during the appeals process proved insufficient, so Justice Freschi then addressed her lawyer, Jonah Goldstein, hoping that he could convince his client to agree to a "deal" in which she would apparently receive a suspended sentence in return for promising to stop counseling women on birth control until the law changes :
"Mr. Goldstein, what is the use of beating around the bush ? We are not prosecutors looking for blood. We are simply here to judge conservatively, with an eye for the whole people. In view of the physical condition of the prisoner and of appeals pending and other attending circumstances, we are inclined toward leniency ... All we are concerned about is this statute, and as long as it remains the law, will this woman promise here and now unqualifiedly to respect and obey it ?"
He then returned to addressing Sanger, and indicated that he believed her to be a woman of principle : "You abided by the facts given the court as evidence. You did not take the stand and attempt to perjure yourself. We will take your word if you will give it. Now, is it yes or no ? What is your answer, Mrs. Sanger ?"
Her answer - which was immediately followed by great applause and cheers from her many supporters in the courtroom - was : "I cannot respect the law as it is today."
The judge then pronounced sentence :
"Margaret Sanger, with the additional evidence submitted by the learned District Attorney after your case reopened last Friday to meet the claim that the proof was insufficient, there is now additional evidence that makes out a strong case that you established and maintained a birth control clinic where you exhibited to various women articles which purported to be for the prevention of conception, and that there you made a determined effort to disseminate birth control information and advice.
"We are not here to applaud nor to condemn your beliefs ; but your declarations and public utterances reflect an absolute disregard for law and order. You have challenged the constitutionality of the law under consideration and the jurisdiction of this Court. When this is done in an orderly way, no one can find fault. It is your right as a citizen. Refusal to obey the law becomes an open defiance of the rule of the majority as expressed in this statute. I can see no good reason for all this excitement by some people. They have a perfect right to argue freely about amending the law, but not to advise how to prevent conception.
"While the law is in its present form, defiance provokes anything but reasonable consideration. It is wholesome that we have discussion by citizens on matters that affect the welfare of citizens.
"People have the right to free speech, but they should not allow it to degenerate into license and defiance of the law. The judgment of the Court is that you be confined to the workhouse for the period of sixty days."
She was then taken to the Raymond Street Jail overnight, for transfer elsewhere tomorrow. Though she considered staging a hunger strike like her sister, Ethel Byrne did when she was sent to the Workhouse on Blackwell's Island, she realized that such an action would isolate her in the hospital ward away from the other prisoners. So instead, she will use her month inside the prison system to investigate conditions there, which have been described to her as "outrageous" and in need of being exposed to the public.
Fania Mindell, convicted of selling a booklet by Sanger at the clinic which gives basic information on sexuality and reproduction, was fined $ 50 today when she came up for sentencing. The fine was immediately paid on her behalf by Gertrude Pinchot of the "Committee of 100," organized to promote legalization of birth control and defend those prosecuted for breaking the present law.
Forty-four years have gone by since the assault on birth control began when Congress passed the infamous "Comstock Act" in 1873, which classifies birth control devices and information on how to use or obtain them as "obscene" articles. States quickly followed suit, and passed outright bans on birth control so strict that even giving out contraceptive information to ANYONE by ANY means became a criminal offense with severe penalties.
But thanks to many courageous people, the issue of family planning is finally being debated out in the open, and public opinion is becoming mobilized in favor of reforming these laws from a previous century. The possibility that the courts will strike down, or legislatures will repeal, these oppressive laws now seems a quite realistic expectation. One sign that the momentum is now shifting to birth control advocates is that New York's Governor agreed just a few days ago to appoint a commission to study how the law might be changed to permit some practical, legal means of transmitting birth control information to those who want and need it.
Despite the progress made over the past few years, the road ahead still looks like a long one. It will certainly be an especially hard journey for those like Margaret Sanger and Ethel Byrne, who prefer prison to obeying an unjust law. But however far in the future the end of the State and Federal campaigns to suppress knowledge and promote ignorance about sexuality and family planning may be, the eventual outcome is not in doubt. The only question tonight is whether those who will be fortunate enough to grow up in a time when access to accurate information about sexuality, and to effective methods of birth control are well-established will have to fight as hard to retain those rights as those who are battling today to establish them.
February 6, 1910 : Winning the battle for woman suffrage in New York State will benefit women of all races. That was the pledge made this morning by Alva Belmont in a speech to an audience gathered at the Mount Olivet Baptist Church on West 53rd Street, in Manhattan. Invited to speak there by I.L. Moorman, President of the Negro Women's Business League of New York, Belmont urged all her listeners to join with suffrage groups in the battle to strike the word "male" from the portion of the New York Constitution which grants voting rights.
Belmont told her audience that " ...unless this cause means freedom and equal rights to all women, of every race, of every creed, rich or poor, its doctrines are worthless, and it must fail in its achievements." Though giving credit to Washington, Lincoln and others for achieving partial victories in the fight for freedom, she noted that : "The woman suffrage movement has higher aims than any that even the greatest of these men ever attained, for it demands the emancipation and freedom of all human beings - women and men of every race, creed and station." In concluding her speech, she said : "As President of the Political Equality Association I extend to all present, both women and men, an earnest invitation to join my association."
Helen Frances Garrison Villard, daughter of abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, spoke as well, saying : "My father remarked, during the early days of the agitation against slavery, that there was still a mountain of prejudice to overcome. It is the same with the woman's suffrage movement today. But the public is getting more aroused every day over this agitation. They talk of women's rights. I say that what we ask for are human rights !"
Also in attendance were Ella Hawley Crossett, President of the New York State Woman Suffrage Association, and Mrs. F.R. Keyser, President of the New York State Federation of Colored Women's Clubs. At the conclusion of the speeches, about half of the 200 women in attendance said that they would be accepting Alva Belmont's invitation to join the Political Equality Association, so it was quite a successful Sunday afternoon for the cause.
February 6, 1937 : The war on wives who work outside the home was strongly denounced tonight in Washington, D.C., by delegates to the Eastern Regional Conference of the National Woman's Party. Section 213 of the Economy Act of 1932 came in for special criticism. It requires that when there are cuts to be made in departments of the Federal Government, those who have spouses on the Federal payroll be cut before unmarried individuals. Since men are promoted faster and to higher grades than women, it's virtually always the wife who has the lesser salary and winds up resigning, so it's really a "fire the wives" law. (Though the idea is allegedly to spread employment among as many families as possible, it's only wives who wind up being victimized, as there is no restriction on how many of one's sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, and other relatives living in a home can be employed by the Federal Government.)
According to Representative Caroline O'Day, Democrat of New York : "I am amazed at how many men there are, in and out of Congress, whose mental workings are still in the horse and buggy age. Section 213, it seems to me, is a most unjust, most unfair, most ruinous statute. It is undermining the home. I believe that as men get older they have a little nostalgia for the home as they remember it. And they feel that if they could get women back in the homes, that happy day would return. But of course, it won't. I promise that I am going to do my utmost to see that this legislation is repealed."
A message from Dr. Robert L. Johnson, president of the National Civil Service Reform League said : "The National Civil Service Reform League has always believed that Section 213 of the Economy Act was a negation of the merit system. We believe there should be no test for entrance into the Federal service except merit and fitness."
The anti-woman philosophy of this law has found its way into far more explicit - even outright - bans on working wives in many places, and teachers have been especially affected. According to Charl Ormond Williams of the National Education Association : "In its continued operation an ultimate pernicious effect on the basis of selection of men and women teachers by local and State governments" is produced. "Already in some cities throughout the country school boards have adopted a definite policy against the employment of married women teachers," she noted.
Seventeen years after the struggle for the vote was won, the National Woman's Party continues to battle on for total equality, and there is great optimism that its campaign to repeal Section 213 can succeed this year. But they can only win with massive public support, so letters to Members of Congress on this issue from their constituents would be especially appreciated.
February 7, 1911 : Both the power and the benefit of woman suffrage were clearly demonstrated today. Three months after the women of Washington State won the ballot, their first votes provided the margin of victory needed to recall the Mayor of Seattle for misconduct and widespread corruption. Mayor Hiram C. Gill, elected last March 8th by a margin of 3,299 votes in a male-only election, was removed from office today by what late this evening looks like a margin of at least 4,000 votes, with the "women's vote" being given credit for the turnaround.
It is estimated that 20,000 of the city's 23,000 registered women voters took part in the election. The enthusiasm of the newly-enfranchised women was exemplified by Rebecca Hall, age 80. She was first in line this morning - two hours before the polls opened.
The campaign to win woman suffrage in Washington was led by Emma Smith DeVoe. Tutored in suffrage work by Susan B. Anthony while living back East, DeVoe worked on the National American Woman Suffrage Association's Organization Committee. She put the skills she learned in the East to good use after moving to Washington. In February, 1909, she and the local suffragists she had organized, convinced the Washington Legislature to put a woman suffrage referendum on the ballot for the November 8, 1910 election.
Her 21-month "Give The Women A Square Deal" campaign kept a low profile, with no marches or street corner rallies as have been tried in New York, so it didn't attract unwanted attention from national anti-suffrage groups. Instead, her volunteers talked to people on an individual basis, and to large numbers of very small audiences. They let the women know that there was a suffrage referendum coming up on the ballot, and gave them information and good arguments to use when lobbying their husbands to vote "yes." Then they lobbied the men directly in union halls and at meetings of farmers' organizations. Apparently the strategy worked, because the margin of victory was huge : 52,299 in favor vs. 29,676 against, and for the first time in 14 years, a new State was won for suffrage.
Though only five States (Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, Idaho and Washington) have thus far enjoyed the benefits of political reform via woman suffrage, it's clearly the wave of the future, so today's result looks like only a small sample of what's to come !
February 8, 1964 : In a stunning development today, "sex" was added as a category of unlawful discrimination to Title VII of the proposed Civil Rights Bill by a House vote of 168-133. The amendment to legislation originally designed to outlaw bias in regard to race, religion and national origin, was proposed by Rep. Howard W. Smith (D-VA), leader of the opposition to the bill. With filibusters not permitted in the House, and a fragile coalition of supporters appearing to have just enough votes for passage of a narrowly-focused measure, opponents have been trying to amend the bill to make it unacceptable when it gets to the more conservative Senate. Until now, they had been unsuccessful in making any meaningful changes.
If today's addition is left intact, and the bill is then approved by the Senate and signed by President Johnson, it would be by far the biggest victory for women's rights since winning the vote in 1920. The amendment to include a ban on sex bias was proposed by a man who is both an outspoken opponent of racial equality and a long-time supporter of gender equality, so his motivations in offering the amendment are the subject of much speculation tonight. A sponsor of the Equal Rights Amendment since 1943, and on friendly terms with the National Woman's Party due to his help with other legislation benefiting women, some claim Rep. Smith may have seen this as a chance to help women if the bill eventually passes, while others say that hurting the Civil Rights Bill's chances of passage by vastly expanding its scope was his primary motivation.
Regardless of what Smith had in mind, the women of the House were quick to take up the fight for his amendment. When Rep. Martha Griffiths (D-MI), and five other women members gave impassioned speeches in favor of adding a ban on gender discrimination to Title VII, this seemed to cause a chain reaction of support among some male House members. Apparently, the men did not care to face the unpleasant prospect of having to explain to women voters in the upcoming November elections why they voted to exclude them from these new protections against bias. Their votes, plus those of liberal Republicans and Democrats who have supported the bill all along, added to a substantial number of Southern Democrats who would vote for anything they thought had a chance of derailing the bill, combined to push the favorable vote well over the top.
Not everyone was enthusiastic, of course. The Justice Department expressed concern that a ban on sex bias would cause difficulties in administering Title VII, and require different enforcement provisions, but was "optimistic" that the sex amendment would be removed before a final vote. Though a strong supporter of women's rights, Rep. Edith Green (D-OR), expressed concerns that this provision might "dilute" the bill, as well as endanger its passage, and said that racial equality should have priority, with gender equality later : "For every discrimination against women in this country there has been ten times as much against Negroes. Let us add nothing that would jeopardize in any way the purposes of this bill. I am willing to wait a few years." However, she was alone among the 11 female members of the House in her "no" vote. But one woman in the gallery left no doubt about her feelings of unrestrained joy. When the vote was announced, she shouted : "We made it ! We made it ! God Bless America !" before being removed.
February 9, 1875 : This hard, 27-year-long battle for woman suffrage entered what may be its final phase today. Thanks to the 14th Amendment, ratified seven years ago, and the determination of Virginia Minor to use it to win the vote, only five out of nine men on the U.S. Supreme Court now need to be convinced that the 14th Amendment applies to women, as well as to the issue of voting rights, to suddenly expand the number of places where women can vote from two (the Territories of Wyoming and Utah) to all 37 States and the other eight Territories.
The case, Minor vs. Happersett, began on October 15, 1872, when Virginia Minor, co-founder and first president of the Woman Suffrage Association of Missouri, went to Reese Happersett, a St. Louis Registrar of Voters, to register to vote in the 1872 General Election. Despite the fact that she met every other qualification for being a Missouri voter, Happersett refused to register her because the Missouri Constitution states that only : "Every male citizen of the United States shall be entitled to vote."
Her husband then sued on her behalf, because as a married woman she could not bring suit in court herself. She lost, but appealed to the Missouri Supreme Court. They affirmed the judgment of the lower court, and though that ruling was a loss too, she was encouraged by the fact that they did think the 14th Amendment protected the right of citizens to vote, though only in regard to race, not sex. They said that it gave those newly freed from slavery "the right to vote and thus protect themselves against oppression." The fact that half of those recently freed and in need of protection from oppression were women was not relevant to the justices, because those who proposed the amendment had "no intention to abridge the power of the States to limit the right of suffrage to the male inhabitants."
According to the sex-neutral language of the 14th Amendment :
"All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State in which they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges and immunities of citizens of the United States ; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law ; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."
Attorney Francis Minor, the appellant's husband, argued the case before the High Court today. His logic was quite simple : If voting is a right of U.S. citizens, then as a person born in the U.S., and therefore a citizen, Virginia Minor cannot have her right to vote arbitrarily denied by the State of Missouri. The Constitution also provides for a republican form of government, and as Minor pointed out : "It is impossible that this can be a republican government, in which one-half the citizens thereof are forever disenfranchised."
Francis Minor made many eloquent statements in court today, but perhaps the best was : "There can be no half-way citizenship. Woman, as a citizen of the United States, is entitled to all the benefits of that position, and liable to all its obligations, or to none."
Virginia Minor's belief in the 14th Amendment's guarantee of woman suffrage goes back to at least October 6, 1869, when at the first Statewide convention of the suffrage organization she co-founded, she stated : "The Constitution of the United States gives me every right and privilege to which every other citizen is entitled." When some asked why she didn't exercise her right to vote if she believed she had it, she said that she would, and at the first Presidential election since then, she tried to do exactly that.
Though this new Amendment is still legally untested in many respects, the discrepancy between the wording of the 14th Amendment and that of the Missouri Constitution is so obvious that we can all hope for a speedy, as well as favorable ruling by the Court. It would be highly appropriate if their ruling should come down in time for women to celebrate the nation's Centennial next year by exercising their right to vote nationwide. With so many other issues of inequality in the workplace, schools, and domestic life that still need to be addressed, the sooner the energies of suffragists can be freed to work on these other injustices, the better it will be for women - and the country.
February 9, 1908 : The Progressive Woman Suffrage Union opened its new 6' x 7.5' office at 63 West 14th Street, New York City, to the press and public today. While the size of their second-floor headquarters may be modest, their ambitions are not. They used the occasion to announce a call for something unprecedented next Sunday, the 16th : a parade of women in support of suffrage. This first-of-its-kind event will begin in Union Square then follow Fifth Avenue to Central Park, and if they can get some cooperation from police and the weather, there will also be speeches in the park at the end of the march. Regardless of the size of the parade, the Union's members will be easy to spot, because they will be carrying a suffrage-yellow banner with "Votes for Women" inscribed on it.
No one doubts they'll go through with their plan, because this group has already been engaging in what many consider a quite bold activity by having women speak to crowds of men in the street at open-air meetings in Madison Square since Dec. 31st. Their headquarters, next door to a popular palm-reader, was filled to capacity all afternoon during the 4-6 p.m. reception. Admittedly, this was not hard to do, with people sharing the small space with suffrage literature and a two-jet gas heater.
Fortunately, none of the four visitors or five reporters had to wait outside because they all came at different times, and a member of the Union could step out to make room. The group has no formal "leader," but an Executive Committee composed of Anna Maley, Lydia Commander, Mrs. Boorum Wells, Maude Malone, Christine Roe Ross Baker and others. Wells, recently from England, said :
"But let not the public think too little of this movement because of its humble beginning. The beginning was made in England in even a smaller room than this. And now look at us over there ! The parties are making advances to us to get our influence before they openly take up our cause. But we will make no alliances with political parties. Do men all join one party ? They do not. They vote on different sides. So shall we. All we want is the right to vote. And we shall get it."
February 10, 1919 : A landmark suffrage victory came very close today, but still remains just out of reach tonight. Only one vote stood in the way of the Susan B. Anthony (nationwide woman suffrage) Amendment being adopted by the Senate. Having already been passed by the House on January 10th of last year, Senate approval would have sent it directly to the States for ratification, and done so at the best possible time.
Since this is an odd-numbered year, all State Legislatures are now - or will soon be - in regular session, so had the Anthony Amendment been passed today, there could have been quick votes, and ratification long before even the first primary elections of 1920.
But if Congressional approval is delayed by even a few more months, legislators in most States will finish voting on this session's bills, adjourn, and go back home to their other jobs until the next regular session in 1921. So getting 36 approvals from State Legislatures in time for the next Presidential Election would mean convincing governors to call "special sessions." Even pro-suffrage governors would not be eager to do this, because of the extra expense to taxpayers, and anti-suffrage governors certainly would not want to call their legislatures back into session to approve a suffrage amendment.
Despite vigorous campaigns by both militant and more conservative suffrage groups, personal pleas from political powerhouses such as President Wilson and William Jennings Bryan to their fellow Democrats, and 26 State Legislatures having recently gone on record as favoring the amendment, that last vote was nowhere to be found. The Amendment's chief sponsor, Senator Andrieus Jones, Democrat of New Mexico, was bitterly disappointed that in the final few days in which Democrats control Congress, this measure was not passed, and that the blame will fall - quite rightly - on his party.
Another Democratic Party leader expressed his disappointment this way : "It means certain defeat of the Democrats in 1920. The Republicans will adopt the resolution, and the women of the country will give them full credit for it. The Democrats have perpetrated a stupid trick in defeating the resolution." Senate Majority Leader Thomas S. Martin, Democrat of Virginia, has not changed his strong opposition to woman suffrage, even though warned that his actions might "dig a hole" for the party in next year's General Election.
Today there was a half-hour of debate, which convinced no one to switch sides, followed by a vote of 55-29. Two-thirds being needed, a single convert would have made it 56-28 and been sufficient for passage. Had all 96 members of the Senate been present today, the result would still have been defeat, and by the same margin. The tally would have been 63-33, or one short of the 64-32 needed.
The opposition of Southern Democrats remains the roadblock to suffrage. Though "traditional" views about the role of women play a part in the "no" votes of many Senators from both North and South, two major factors in Southern Democrats' opposition to this measure are hostility toward Federal legislation in general, and the fact that this particular amendment is race-neutral, and therefore poses what they consider to be a potential "threat" to "white rule."
Senator Edward James Gay, Democrat of Louisiana, said he was in favor of women voting, and had worked to get a suffrage bill through the Louisiana Legislature, but was opposed to a Federal amendment that would "impose" woman suffrage on all States.
Senator John Sharp Williams, Democrat of Mississippi, addressed the other concern of Southern Democrats when he attempted to offer a change in the Anthony Amendment that would make it apply to white women only. His proposal was ruled out of order because the bill was already on its third reading. This saved the Senate the trouble of rejecting his suggestion again as they did in October, when 61 Senators voted against such a change and 22 in favor.
Fortunately, a new Congress will be seated on March 4th, and will have Republican majorities in both House and Senate. Suffragists appear to have gained three Senate votes and lost only one in the November elections, giving a probable margin of victory of one vote when the measure comes up again this Spring. The new Republican House must pass it again, but is expected to do so by a comfortable margin, so victory may have been delayed today, but certainly will not be denied.
February 11, 1937 : Amelia Earhart, who became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic five years ago - and broke the world's record for the fastest Transatlantic flight while doing so - announced plans today for a far more ambitious adventure. Within the next month she intends to leave on an around-the-world trip, covering 27,000 miles.
The first three days of the flight will be the most difficult and risky, since they involve flying vast distances entirely over the water. She will leave from Oakland, California and fly to Honolulu, then to tiny Howland Island in the South Pacific, and on to Lae, New Guinea. After that there will be stops in places such as Australia, India, Dakar, on the West Coast of Africa, and Natal, on Brazil's East Coast on her way back to Oakland. She will be accompanied by Captain Harry Manning as far as Sydney, Australia, because his experience in navigating the South Seas - though gained on ships, not aircraft - will be needed.
Her purpose in making the trip is to establish the feasibility of commercial airlines making such flights. As she explained at today's press conference : "The human reaction of pilots flying over long periods of time and distance is still an unknown quantity with respect to safety in air transport. Problems of fatigue, food, efficiency and the norm of alertness still confuse both airplane designers and pilots alike."
The flight will be made in a twin-engine "Flying Laboratory" Lockheed Electra monoplane. It will be outfitted with oversize 1,150-gallon fuel tanks, which should be more than adequate for even the longest hop from Howland to Lae. Though eager to leave on her trip, she said she won't be "stampeded" into going until all safety equipment and the latest navigational aids are in place.
In addition to her passion for flying, Earhart is also a strong supporter of equality for women. On September 22, 1932, she and other members of the National Woman's Party met with President Hoover to urge him to support the Lucretia Mott (Equal Rights) Amendment. She told the President :
"I know from practical experience of the discriminations which confront women when they enter an occupation where men have priority in opportunity, advancement and protection. In aviation the Department of Commerce recognizes no legal differences between men and women licensed to fly. I feel that similar equality should be carried into all fields of endeavor, so that men and women may achieve without handicap because of sex.
"As far as our country is concerned, in every State of the Union today there are discriminations against women in the law. I join with the National Woman's Party in hoping for the speedy passage of the Lucretia Mott Amendment, which would write into the highest law of our land that 'men and women shall have equal rights throughout the United States and every place subject to its jurisdiction.' "
Just three months ago, she showed her continuing commitment to equality when she sent the following telegram to the National Woman's Party at its convention :
"Because my lecture schedule prevents, I cannot be present at the Biennial Convention. However, I am so deeply interested in women obtaining full equality under the law that I am sending a small contribution to help the cause along. Today women still stand victims of restrictive class legislation and of conflicting interpretation of statutes. To clear the situation their rights must be made theirs by definition - that is - by Constitutional guarantee. Therefore, I hope this year's National Woman's Party meeting may bring us at least one step nearer the Lucretia Mott Amendment."
Seventeen years after winning the vote, the battle for equality continues on many fronts. In addition to our best wishes for success in her latest adventure, Amelia Earhart also deserves our praise for both her pioneering work in the air as well as her efforts to put the Lucretia Mott (Equal Rights) Amendment into the Constitution.
February 12, 1913 : "On to Washington !" and "Votes for Women !" were the enthusiastic cheers of Rosalie Jones and her hardy group of suffrage hikers as they left this morning on a trek that will make their hike from New York City to Albany two months ago seem like a brief stroll in the park.
General Jones' "Army of the Hudson," consisting of herself and fifteen other dedicated suffragists are determined to walk every step of the way from Newark, New Jersey, to Washington, D.C. Once there, they intend to deliver a letter written by officers of the National American Woman Suffrage Association to President-elect Wilson, and take part in N.A.W.S.A.'s massive suffrage parade and pageant to be held on March 3rd, the day before Wilson's inauguration.
The hikers' official sendoff rally occurred in New York City, with speeches that aroused plenty of enthusiasm among the mostly-sympathetic crowd. Nearly 200 supporters even agreed to walk part of the way with the "regulars," so when they formed up to begin the actual march in Newark, it was a very impressive sight.
Impassible roads across the meadows made it necessary to start from Newark, and Col. Ida Craft was so distressed at the idea of taking the Hudson Tube train on what was supposed to be a "hike" that she spent her time on board marching back and forth from one end of the train to the other. The opening and closing of doors irritated the passengers and conductors, but it did succeed in at least partly fulfilling her desire to walk from New York City to Washington, D.C..
When the hikers got to Newark and formed up into ranks, they were approached by a line of mounted police officers. Fortunately, the Lieutenant in charge had a yellow "Votes for Women" pennant fluttering from his saddle, so the hikers knew it would be a friendly greeting and escort.
As the hike kicked off, Olive Schultz was in her assigned position in the "scout auto" ahead of the hikers, followed by Elizabeth "Gypsy" Freeman and her literature cart. The cart was pulled by Lausanne, the suffragist horse, bought today in Newark for $ 59.98 to pull Freeman's "ammunition wagon."
Next came General Jones and Colonel Craft, followed by a line of women that stretched an entire block. Banners from the Newark Equal Suffrage League and Essex County Suffrage Society were among those displayed as the colorful procession made its way through town, after a successful street rally. Though there were a few incidents of horses being frightened by the marchers, no injuries were reported, and all were safely recaptured after bolting and running a few blocks.
The hikers were cheered and welcomed at many places along the route, and with temperatures suddenly plunging to near zero in the afternoon, every chance to briefly warm up and get out of the wind was greatly appreciated - as was the opportunity to lighten the packed literature cart by distributing flyers to interested people.
The line of marchers going out of Newark was briefly swelled by fifty local suffragists who joined the troops for as far as Elizabeth. The hikers had lunch at the local Elks Club there, escorted by members of the Woman's Political Study Club. Finally, long after darkness had fallen, all 16 official marchers arrived at the Hillside Hotel in Metuchen, having covered sixteen miles on this first day. Tomorrow, on to Princeton !
February 13, 1913 : An eventful, but exhausting, 27-mile second day of the Newark, New Jersey to Washington, D.C. suffrage hike by General Rosalie Jones and her "Army of the Hudson." Though appreciative of temperatures that are no longer near the zero mark as they were yesterday, warmer weather has caused problems of its own. Melting snow and ice made going any distance through slush and water difficult on the already poor roads. But even so, when the army finally pulled into Princeton, thirteen of the original sixteen troops were still in the ranks and intent on finishing the hike.
They started this morning from Metuchen, New Jersey, and after a luncheon in their honor at the Hotel Klein in New Brunswick, they approached Rutgers College. Some students spotted and then surrounded Olive Schultz in the advance scout car. When one yelled : "General Jones is coming !" the rest of the students, many in cadet uniforms, formed a single-file line when a student leader said "Fall in !" They then lock-stepped out to meet her.
The students gave a slightly modified version of a traditional school yell : "Rah, Bow-Wow-Wow ; Rah, Bow-Wow-Wow ; Rutgers, suffragettes, Bow-Wow-Wow, Rutgers" as the two armies marched together across the campus. Students then demanded a speech, which General Jones gave to even more cheers. The atmosphere was so supportive that when she was introduced to the college president, General Jones pinned a suffrage button on his coat.
There was a very brief, unplanned stop on the way to Princeton, their final destination of the day. What looked like a woman wearing a bonnet was spotted far out in a field, and Elizabeth Aldrich decided to see if she could be converted to the cause. Not until Aldrich had gone over a fence and some distance into the field was it discovered that the effort was doomed to failure, because scarecrows are universally neutral on all issues. Unfortunately, this was far from the biggest blunder of the day. Thanks to a wrong turn, a 20-mile hike became a 27-mile trek.
But despite any difficulties encountered along the way, the hikers' arrival in Princeton was well worth the effort. In fact, the welcome was a bit too enthusiastic for Mary Boldt, the first to come into town, well ahead of the others. Several hundred very boisterous students suddenly rushed out to meet her, surrounded her, then picked her up and began to carry her around, much to her confusion and dismay.
The reception for the rest of the hikers, who arrived about 7:00, was equally supportive, but a bit more restrained after the earlier incident. Speeches were made by the senior officers of the suffrage army to a crowd of students that had swelled to 500, with college yells and applause being heard until well after 9:00.
The pace of the hike is taking its toll, and the undaunted spirit of the troops was best exemplified today by Corporal Martha Klatchken. She was in a state of near exhaustion when she arrived an hour after the first hikers, but has absolutely refused all offers of a lift from passing drivers. Instead, she leans, when necessary, on another hiker. All will rest tonight, and be off for Trenton tomorrow.
February 14, 1913 : The suffragist "Army of the Hudson" continues its advance on Washington, D.C., hiking from Princeton to Trenton, New Jersey today. They have now covered 53 miles in just three days since leaving Newark. "Our feet may be sore, but they are not cold and every one of us will stick it out to Washington," declared General Rosalie Jones, as she, the other full-time hikers, plus Elizabeth Freeman in the literature ("ammunition") wagon pulled by Lausanne, the $ 59.98 suffrage horse, plus Olive Schultz in the scout car, left Princeton this morning.
The pilgrims were accompanied to the edge of town by a crowd of several hundred Princeton students. These were probably the same ones who greeted the hikers enthusiastically yesterday, and gave them little sleep last night as they cheered outside their hotel until quite late. On the road to Trenton, the Princeton boys were soon replaced by some Lawrenceville Academy lads who marched along for a while carrying a large "Votes for Women" banner and cheering "Sis boom ah ! Sis boom bah ! Coo, Coo, suffragettes !"
While the pilgrims were preoccupied with making speeches to the main body of Lawrenceville students, a small group of boys quietly borrowed the "ammunition" wagon and drove around with it for about 10 minutes. But it was returned unharmed and still well-stockpiled with suffrage brochures, so no harm done.
Upon arrival in Trenton, police officers on bicycles joined the pilgrims as they went through town. The little parade was cheered by crowds along the sidewalks at the troops made their way to the Trenton Hotel. There the hikers found many Valentines waiting for them from admirers who had read of their journey in the newspapers. (There is a substantial contingent of "war correspondents" along for the trip sending daily reports back to their papers, so this tiny band is getting nationwide publicity.)
Of course, 53 miles in three days is hard on the feet, and hardest of all on those of Corporal Klatchken. She was already hobbling a bit yesterday, but despite her blistered feet, is still refusing to accept any rides, and was voted "pluckiest of all" by the troops tonight.
Since the march was going through Princeton, it seemed only appropriate that General Jones send greetings to its most famous resident. Though President-elect Wilson was in Philadelphia today, a letter was delivered to his home by Mary Boldt, accompanied by Bugler George Wend, several other hikers, and a number of Princeton students. The letter said :
"My Dear Mr. Wilson : A small band of votes-for-women pilgrims from the States of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and Ohio earnestly request of you an audience for not more than two minutes in Washington as soon after your arrival as possible. They desire to present a message to you. Thanking you in advance for your courtesy, I am, very sincerely, Rosalie Gardiner Jones."
After arriving in Trenton, the army joined in a previously scheduled rally in favor of amending the New jersey Constitution to authorize women to vote. This was followed by a banquet in the hikers' honor, and finally an evening at the theater, where General Jones and Elizabeth Freeman were invited to make speeches between the acts.
One of the evening's major events occurred back in Princeton, however. Mary Boldt, who had arrived there well ahead of the other hikers last night, had been somewhat taken aback by the unexpected and overenthusiastic welcome given her by a large and boisterous crowd of Princeton students. Since there were conflicting reports circulating today about the incident and her reaction to it, she motored back from Trenton tonight to reassure the students that she held them in high esteem, and appreciated their enthusiasm.
Apparently, the feeling was mutual. The Princeton students gave her another rally, and when she auctioned off her pilgrim's cloak for the cause, it was cut into strips that the students pinned to their lapels as a sign of support and affection. There was also a brisk business in 10 cent postcard photos of her. Then, there was one final - and much appreciated - show of support. When the automobile carrying her back to Trenton broke down after only half a mile, all the boys ran to her aid, then pushed the auto back into town, where it was fixed, and she was able to finish her return trip back to the army's temporary barracks at the Trenton Hotel.
February 15, 1913 : General Rosalie Jones and her suffrage army hiked 18 often-muddy miles on Day 4 of their journey from Newark, New Jersey to Washington, D.C., but in return received two fine receptions along the way during their final full day in New Jersey.
The "Army of the Hudson" started the day in Trenton, with a bugle call by Rev. Walter Kinsley, who also marched with the troops on their way out of town. The army also gained two other temporary recruits, who have agreed to two-day enlistments, but promise to rejoin later. They are Florence Allen, Assistant Secretary of the National College Equal Suffrage League and Bertha Miller of the Philadelphia Law School.
The trip was not entirely by road today, as troops had to walk across the ice at Crosswick Creek. The army's first reception of the day was, appropriately enough, at the Bordentown Military Institute, where the cadet band marched out to meet them. Upon arrival at headquarters they were formally greeted by the 83-year-old founder of the school, and invited for a luncheon in the mess hall. Several of the marchers spoke to a cheering crowd, and Colonel Craft said it was one of the best meetings so far. The cadet band then gave them a musical escort for half a mile down the road.
The youngest hiker of the day was Grace Herbert, age 9. She marched out from home on her own, and joined the hikers at Bordentown, saying : "I can't go all the way, but mother said I could go as far as the icehouse." A group of Princeton boys who had been accompanying the hikers since they visited their school, had to leave at Bordentown, but the hikers weren't alone long. As they approached Burlington, a troop of Boy Scouts came out to deliver a letter from the town's mayor, extending the city's greetings and the key to the city. The letter said :
"To Gen. Rosalie Jones, Commandant. As Chief Executive of the City of Burlington, N.J., it gives me great pleasure to assure you and your comrades on this historic march that a hearty welcome awaits you in the most historic town in New Jersey. It will be an honor to write in the annals of the city the fact that you have made a visit to us on this occasion. We extend herewith in symbol the key of the City of Burlington and trust that from your stay within its borders you may retain the pleasantest of memories and may win hundreds of new 'votes for women.' I am, Madam, your obedient servant, Ellsworth E. Mount, Mayor."
The rest of the town was equally supportive, as fifteen hundred people turned out to greet the troops once inside the city. The townspeople then marched with them to just in front of a popular theater, where the weary hikers gave spirited suffrage speeches to the crowd, and even caught the interest of some who were just passing by. The crowds at this and other rally locations around town were so enthusiastic that even the pilgrims who don't normally give speeches became orators before the evening was over.
Tomorrow, it's across the Delaware River, and on to Philadelphia !
February 16, 1913 : General Rosalie Jones has crossed the icy Delaware River, and as in a previous campaign by another general in 1776, she not only got all her troops across safely, but after encountering resistance, achieved her objective.
Day Five of the suffrage hike from Newark, New Jersey to Washington, D.C., started out quite happily in Burlington, N.J. this morning. After immediately finding three pennies in the street, and thus being assured that the "Jones luck" was still holding, the General opened her mail and discovered a third proposal :
"I have seen your picture in the papers, and I read what you're doing to further a great cause. I lost a leg at Chancellorsville, so I sympathize with you. I just know how tired your little feet must be. When this march is over I should like to have the chance of smoothing the road before them for the rest of our lives. You may say that I am old and you are young - but what of that ? I may have but one leg, but my heart is bigger than the heart of any two men. Why don't you rest your tired little head upon it. Just say the word and I am yours. Other men might be afraid of you because you have so much nerve, but I can understand you. We are both soldiers. Say, little one, if you will join forces with me. I will give you anything your little heart desires."
Then the "regular army" of hikers was joined by six members of Philadelphia's Wanderlust Club, and the now-traditional children's contingent, consisting today of Agnes Marter, age 10, and Helen Murphy, age 7. Both the girls had yellow suffrage badges on the front of their red sweaters and said that they would march all the way to D.C. if they were "growed up."
The marchers took their first break at Camden Lake, while the Boy Scouts accompanying them built a fire to heat coffee for the hikers. The next stop was at the "Manless Farm" of Anna and Sally Hunter, near Palmyra, where all work is done by women. Both Hunters are avid suffragists and gave the pilgrims a warm welcome, with one saying that women could run the country, too, and do it more successfully than men.
There were several hundred supporters waiting for the hikers in Camden, and the police had to make way for the troops as they walked through town toward the ferry boat. While crossing the Delaware, General Jones, Colonel Craft and Corporal Klatchken stood in the bow, an American flag in the General's hands.
The crowd of 2,000 at the ferry house in Philadelphia was far too large and unruly for the six police officers assigned to handle it, but the little army was not about to be deterred by a group composed mostly of hecklers and the curious. "Votes for Women - On to Washington !" shouted the suffrage army as it very slowly advanced.
Finally, police reinforcements arrived, and the march became easier and more orderly. After resting a bit at their hotel, the army was ready for another round of speaking engagements and a dinner with the prominent suffragists of Philadelphia, despite 19 miles being covered today and the brief Battle of the Ferry House.
February 17, 1913 : It's Day Six of the suffrage hike from Newark, New Jersey to Washington. D.C., and our intrepid pilgrims have now passed the 100-mile mark while covering the 14 miles from Philadelphia to Chester, Pennsylvania. That's a shorter than average distance for a day's hike, but the condition of their feet now makes each mile seem much longer than at the start. Several local, temporary recruits came along for the day as well, one of whom has actually voted. While a resident of Wyoming, she cast a ballot for President William McKinley.
The nine hikers who have walked the entire distance so far (General Rosalie Jones, Colonel Ida Craft, Corporal Martha Klatchken, and Privates Elizabeth Aldrich, Mary Boldt, Phoebe Hawn, Katherine Wend, Constance Leupp, and Minerva Crowell) are accompanied by nearly fifty "war correspondents" (reporters), plus Olive Schultz and Mary Baird in the "scout car," and Elizabeth Freeman driving the "ammunition" (literature) wagon, pulled by Lausanne, the $ 59.98 suffrage horse.
Though heavy snow was falling as the "Army of the Hudson" left Philadelphia's Hotel Walton this morning, a crowd of several hundred was still on hand to cheer them on as they formed into single file and began marching to the beat of a fife and drum corps at the head of the line.
Today's first stop was the University of Pennsylvania, whose students were so eager to meet the pilgrims that they came out to greet them as they approached, then performed a "snake dance" as they led their visitors to the campus. At least a thousand students were waiting there at a "Votes for Women" rally at the law school, as were 200 police officers. (The city did not wish to be unprepared today, as was the case yesterday, when only six officers were assigned to deal with 2,000 unruly citizens when the hikers arrived in Philadelphia.)
The college rally was totally peaceful and quite enthusiastic. Snow was still falling heavily as the hikers left campus. In addition to slowing their travel a bit, the storm also gave plenty of ammunition to a group of small boys who ambushed them with snowballs in Leiperville. The suffrage army kept advancing even under fire, however, and was finally assisted by a squad of mounted cadets from the Pennsylvania Military College, who quickly routed the attackers. The hikers think the little boys were put up to the deed by older citizens of the town, who seemed to greatly enjoy the battle from the sidelines.
The pilgrims' arrival in Chester was announced by the bells of St. Paul's Church, and the Chief of Police escorted them to a tea held in their honor at the Y.M.C.A. Speeches of welcome were given by the mayor's wife and the President of the Men's League for Equal Suffrage of the University of Pennsylvania. Despite having to march another 14 miles to Wilmington, Delaware, tomorrow, the hikers still spent the evening giving speeches at a well-attended suffrage meeting in the public square rather than resting or sleeping.
February 18, 1913 : Half way there ! Day Seven of the suffrage hike was very successful in a number of ways, not the least of which was passing the midpoint in the long trek from Newark, New Jersey to Washington, D.C.
The relatively short 14-mile day began with General Rosalie Jones leading her "Army of the Hudson" out of Chester, Pennsylvania, accompanied by tooting whistles, automobile horns, a police escort, at least 1,000 spectators cheering them from the sidewalk, and two local schoolgirls who marched along for the day.
The troops carried with them a gift from Major Stundell, of Lebanon, Pennsylvania, which consisted of a large gift box that contained smaller boxes of pretzels for each hiker. It was a timely gift, as a large supply of "army rations" donated by Alva Belmont had been misrouted to General Jones' home on Long Island.
Even the traditional "Mishap of the Day" was minor, as General Jones tripped over a rock in Pennsylvania and stumbled into Delaware. But no damage was done to the General or the State Line.
When the hikers approached the historic Robinson Mansion, once frequented by numerous Revolutionary War figures, they were first met by "Jeff Davis," a thankfully pro-suffrage bulldog who wore a blanket made of "Votes for Women" pennants. The present residents, a colony of artists, gave a warm reception.
Next came a luncheon with single-tax advocates, known as "Ardenites." They want to abolish all other taxes and replace them with a single tax on land. Female members of the Arden colony have voted on affairs of common interest for ten years. The hikers were greeted by members of the Suffragist Club of Arden.
The entry into Wilmington was wonderfully triumphal, and an appropriate way to celebrate the half-way point of the march. Applauding crowds lined the streets, and three fire companies gave the pilgrims their noisiest greeting of the trip, something especially appreciated by General Jones. The parade through town was followed by a reception in City Hall, where Mayor Howell - who has mixed feelings on the issue of woman suffrage, but great admiration for the hikers - expanded the army's growing collection of "keys to the city" by presenting them with one from Wilmington.
Later in the evening the troops gave speeches at an open-air suffrage meeting attended by an estimated 10,000 of the city's residents, making it the largest rally so far for General Jones and her troops.
Col. Craft barely managed to make it into town today, due to an ankle injury adding to the problems she already had with sore feet. But she is expected to be able to continue on when the hike resumes. Tomorrow will be the first time since leaving Newark on the 12th that the hikers will spend an entire day in the same place. But they will still be working for the cause by doing speaking engagements in this very supportive city, and a day without hiking should give them a chance to give their feet some much-needed rest before starting on the final half of their journey.
February 19, 1913 : After seven consecutive days of walking and approximately 116 of the 225 miles from Newark, New Jersey to Washington, D.C. covered, the suffrage hikers are spending this eighth day in Wilmington, Delaware, "getting new feet" as they put it. But while the morning may have been spent applying much of the city's available supply of liniment to sore feet, their voices were not given any pampered treatment during the day's stopover.
Most of the hikers, once sufficiently rubbed down, were eager to fulfill the many speaking requests made in this very friendly town. At noon there were speakers at the Pullman Car Works. The Harlan & Hollingsworth ship and railroad car workers got a briefing as well, and in the evening the hikers went to the Garrick Theater, where five-minute suffrage speeches alternated between the vaudeville acts, and both types of performances were applauded.
General Rosalie Jones held a reception at her hotel this afternoon as well. Among those attending were the city's mayor, and Captain Thomas Johnson, age 86, of Cape Charles, Virginia, who came to town specifically to see the hikers.
There has been much public concern and speculation about the condition of Lausanne, the $ 59.98 suffrage horse bought in Newark to pull Elizabeth Freeman's literature ("ammunition") wagon. But a veterinarian who had heard that she was "spavined, had a bowed tendon, sprung forward legs, interfered badly and was a cribber" found upon examination that "her legs were just slightly sprung, and that she has a heavy appetite," but was otherwise all right, and fit to complete the rest of the trip so long as she continues to be well-fed.
Though General Jones' "Army of the Hudson" is dedicated to winning their battle for the ballot through totally peaceful means, the news that the unoccupied country home of the British Chancellor of the Exchequer, David Lloyd-George, had just been damaged stirred controversy in the ranks today. Elizabeth Freeman, who has served time in British prisons for her suffrage activities there said that she could understand the reason for such a militant action :
"The situation in England is entirely different from the situation here. The women know that [Prime Minister] Asquith is their enemy. He has frankly said so. Now, Lloyd-George posed as friendly. He held out one hand to them and then had torpedoed a bill that would have helped them. Englishmen hold above all else the sacredness of property. Well, Englishwomen have attacked sacred property, and they will continue to do so. I believe in the destruction of property where human life is not endangered. Lloyd-George knows now what Englishwomen really think of him." But hiker Elizabeth Aldrich was representative of those who took the opposite view : "I would not break a pane of glass if by doing so all women were enfranchised. I am for peace and order."
Three interesting letters arrived today. One was supposedly from "Mrs. Alfred I. Du Pont," but when Freeman called her, she said it was a hoax, but that she actually did support the hikers, so it was a trick that had a good result. The second was a more obvious spoof, allegedly from the "Association of Husbands" who said they were getting tired of this cross country hiking by suffragists, and the third was a letter from a librarian at the University of Pennsylvania who said the Dean of the Law School had alleged that $ 30 worth of furniture had been damaged during the suffrage rally there. When Freeman tried to call the Dean, he was out, so the truth of this report remains in doubt tonight.
What is not in question is that both fame and support for the hikers are increasing rapidly, as more and more non-suffrage groups now volunteer as escorts. For instance, a brass band composed of 25 school teachers and other professional women from Marysville, Missouri, has just offered to meet the hikers at Laurel, Maryland and escort them into Washington.
College students have been very supportive from the beginning, and Company "N" of the Pennsylvania National Guard, composed primarily of University of Pennsylvania undergraduates, has offered to march with the hikers in the big suffrage parade in Washington on March 3rd. Not to be outdone, some Princeton students have also volunteered to march along with them in D.C. next month as well.
With the last of the day's suffrage speeches now done, the hikers have turned in and are enjoying a peaceful night's sleep. But tomorrow, it's back on the road again, and off to Elkton, Maryland !
February 20, 1913 : Another day and another State Line crossed for the suffrage hikers ! Today's 18-mile march to Elkton, Maryland, was as eventful as it was long. It began in that most friendly city of Wilmington, Delaware, where the mayor and 20 police officers gave the "Army of the Hudson" an escort out of town. Mayor Howell also wrote a personal letter of introduction for the hikers to the Mayor of Baltimore.
The day's first encounter was with the Green family. William Green proudly presented Ruth and Esther, age three, as future voters. Their mother shouted her support for the hikers from a window of the house, regretting that she couldn't go to Washington, but said : "I am doing my share, for I am bringing up two new voters."
The next stop was to visit Martha Cranston at Newport. She is one of the most active - and at over 70 years of age among the most senior - suffragists in Delaware. She gave the troops a fine speech of welcome. The City of Newport was decorated for the occasion with flags and bunting on many of the houses, and the city's greeting even featured thirty schoolchildren, each carrying a banner. Two of the banners were inscribed "Let Women Vote" and "For President, General Jones." Speeches were given in appreciation of the welcome, and then it was back on the road again.
As they approached Newark, the army was met by the cadet corps of Delaware College. What made this reception especially noteworthy was that the students were not given permission to miss classes and go out to meet the marchers, but they did so anyway. One hundred and seventy five uniformed students and band members "presented arms" as a salute, then escorted the hikers into Deer Park. After bidding the hikers a fond farewell at that point, the band played "The Girl I Left Behind Me" and marched back to their college and an unknown disciplinary fate.
Of course, there was the standard "incident of the day," which in this case consisted of three small boys throwing some live mice into the marchers' ranks near Newark. Though the boys momentarily got the reaction they had hoped for from the hikers, military discipline was restored and the pilgrim army's advance continued. It was at least a more humorous prank than one played in Wilmington this morning when among the packages given to the suffragists were several stamped "Handle With Care" and which contained small black sticks marked "Dynamite" and "Use Judiciously." They turned out to be just harmless sticks of carbon, however.
The day's next major event was crossing into Maryland. Gen. Jones grasped some of its soil and said : "Maryland soil, we bless thee in the name of equal suffrage. May our journey be pleasant, and our cause prosper within your borders." The ceremonial welcome continued with Dr. Ernest L. Stevens contributing a new marching song, sung to the tune of "Maryland, My Maryland" :
"The suffragette is at the door,
Maryland, my Maryland ;
On foot she hikes to Baltimore,
Maryland, my Maryland.
Come, join the Hudson's hiking throng,
Stalking with Rosalie along ;
And chant the dauntless suffrage song,
Maryland, My Maryland."
As they marched and sang their way, they encountered a ten-year-old boy riding a horse with no saddle. Upon seeing the yellow suffrage banners fluttering in the wind, the horse became frightened, but Marie Baird ran down the road, grabbed the bridle, and soon settled the horse down. "Thank you," said the boy. "I am in favor of women voting."
Though arriving in Elkton late in the afternoon, there was a good-sized crowd to meet the pilgrims, and despite having hiked 18 miles, many still had enough energy to make the day's final speeches, some of which lasted well into the evening.
Aside from the fake dynamite, real mice, and the baggage automobile breaking down near Folly Woods and needing to be towed to a blacksmith's shop by a team of horses, it was a pretty good day. Eight days after leaving Newark, New Jersey, there are now 134 miles in back of the hikers, with less than a hundred ahead, and eleven days until the big suffrage parade in Washington, D.C., so the hike is going well, and on schedule !
February 21, 1913 : "The worst stretch of road between Boston and Atlanta," was the way one local resident described it, and none of the suffrage hikers cared to dispute that claim today as they slogged their way from Elkton to Havre de Grace, Maryland. The alleged "road" was so bad in places that many hikers found the going easier in farmers' fields alongside it.
But things were even worse for the automobiles following the hikers than for the pilgrims themselves. Three times today, cars needed to be pulled out of the mud by teams of horses. Bad as it was, mud was not the only problem the army's motorized division faced. Both the baggage car and commissary wagon caught fire, though fortunately, little actual damage was done.
But even with all of today's obstacles, the "Army of the Hudson" marches on toward Washington, D.C., and even picked up a new recruit. Margaret Geist, her two-wheeled cart, and a burro named "Jerry" are traveling across the country, and have decided to accompany the hikers the rest of the way.
Though one encounter this morning was with an apparently anti-suffrage turkey who didn't like the hikers cutting across his territory, the suffragists got a much more friendly reception from Mary Peterson, who led them down a side road to her home. Already well behind schedule, they couldn't stay for dinner, but the troops did have time to go on an egg-hunting expedition in her barn, and eagerly consumed a number of the best, freshly-laid ones.
The next stop was in Northeast, where all five of the commissioners, plus the village "patriarch" and his suffragist niece, Emily Peach, were waiting to welcome the pilgrims, and give them a luncheon. Passing through Charleston, the marchers were given musical accompaniment when Bayard Black brought his gramophone out on the porch and played "Maryland, My Maryland" as the hikers passed by. The employees of Principio Furnace stopped work long enough to wave yellow suffrage banners, and many of the men at the big steel mills came out to applaud the hikers.
Arrival in Havre de Grace was later than expected due to road conditions, but was well worth the extra trouble. A brass band and citizens' committee crossed the Susquehanna River and met the marchers at Perryville, then escorted them to the Havre de Grace City Hall, where Mayor Weber gave an address and presented them with the key to the city. Not all the troops were present for the ceremony, however. Colonel Craft didn't arrive until 9 P.M. due to her swollen and blistered feet, nor did two other hikers accompanying her.
Though reluctant to admit it, all the hikers are showing clear signs of ailments similar to Col. Craft's, plus fatigue from the long trip. But absolutely no one doubts that they will finish what they started nine days ago in Newark, New Jersey, and that this small, but dedicated group will have given a big boost to the struggle for woman suffrage by the time they finally arrive in the nation's capital and join in the big suffrage parade and pageant on March 3rd.
February 22, 1913 : Cheered by the news from "Scout Car" driver Olive Schultz that the road ahead today was merely "bad," and therefore a substantial improvement over yesterday's truly atrocious conditions, the suffrage hikers left on an 18-mile trek from Havre De Grace to Belair, Maryland, this morning. Day Eleven of their Newark, New Jersey to Washington, D.C. trek started out in a steady, but not heavy, rain as the "Army of the Hudson" was escorted out of town by the local high school principal and some of his students, all bearing yellow suffrage banners.
But while the weather and the roads have been unfriendly ever since the troops crossed the Mason-Dixon Line, General Jones has been quite pleased by the enthusiastic reception from the people she's meeting along the way. Today was no exception as the hikers went through small villages such as Dogtown, Howling Run, Constantinople and Webster.
In Constantinople, the troops were welcomed by Harvey Jobbins, the one-man band. On his back was a big drum with cymbals, operated with his elbow, and in front an accordion. Though the hikers enjoyed the concert, the same can't be said for Lausanne, the $59.98 suffrage horse, who immediately bolted and nearly overturned the literature ("ammunition") wagon he pulls each day. But after a brief pause in the music so Lausanne could regain his composure and be led out of earshot, the performance continued, much to the delight of the now strictly human audience.
In Webster, half the population turned out for the festivities. At Churchville, the hikers were given lunch, and in return were happy to give speeches, with Elizabeth Freeman doing so while standing on a chair, and General Jones speaking as well.
After lunch, the luck of the troops took a downturn when one snake and six anti-suffragists were encountered. The nearby snake startled General Jones as she was drinking some water from a spring, causing her to remark : "That is the worst fright I have received since the hike began." When passing by six women waving anti-suffrage banners, the marchers merely cheered "Votes for Women !" once and moved on.
The "Regular Army" troops are always supplemented by those who want to show their support - and be able to say that they have been a small part in this unique event. So, tonight a member of the wealthy Biddle family of Philadelphia turned up at the hikers' hotel in Belair, intending to do some walking tomorrow. Representing the other end of the economic spectrum is William Johnson. He wears a "Sons of Veterans" (of the Civil War) uniform, and has re-joined the suffrage army. He began marching in Newark, Delaware, but ran out of money and had to spend two days working at a mill in Elkton, Maryland, to earn enough to continue on to D.C.
It was late afternoon when the little army, accompanied by First Troop, Owl Patrol of the Boy Scouts, straggled into Belair. The hikers were far apart and stretched out over two miles. For the second day, Colonel Craft was the last to arrive. There is now more concern than ever about the condition of her feet, which are now so swollen that she cannot fasten her shoes. But "I am going through," she said tonight, and she fully expects to be ready for duty again tomorrow, when the hikers plan to walk 21 miles to Overlea, and be within five miles of Baltimore. There was some talk of going all the way to Baltimore tomorrow, but a huge welcoming celebration is planned for day after tomorrow, so a delegation from that city came out to ask the hikers to stay on schedule, which they agreed to do.
A message was also received from Police Marshal Farnan reassuring the marchers that the Baltimore police will be out in force, so there will be no repetition of the incident in Philadelphia when only six officers were assigned to escort the hikers through an unruly crowd of 2,000 upon their arrival.
February 23, 1913 : In an unexpected move - and an extraordinary burst of energy and enthusiasm - General Rosalie Jones and most of her suffrage army walked all 26 miles from Belair to Baltimore, Maryland today. This was Day 12 of their journey from Newark, New Jersey to Washington, D.C. But several members of the corps remain in Overlea tonight, the day's original destination.
The highest-ranking member of the Overlea contingent is Colonel Ida Craft, whose feet are in such poor condition that her ability to make even the first 21 miles today is an inspiration to all. But when she finally got to the day's objective, well behind the rest of the column, other members of the "Army of the Hudson" told her that General Jones and most of the other hikers had decided to bypass Overlea and go straight to Baltimore. Colonel Craft was not pleased, and declared that if General Jones did not come back out tomorrow morning to lead the remaining troops into Baltimore for the "official" entry into the city, she would do it herself.
Overlea was also upset that it had been bypassed. The city had planned a feast for the travelers, despite the objections of the elderly Rev. Cyrus Cort, who has opposed women suffrage ever since he had a dispute with Susan B. Anthony 40 years ago. But though the celebration was less elaborate than originally envisioned, Overlea still honored those who stuck to the original route and destination.
Despite Jones' arrival a day early, Baltimore suffragists hurried out to meet the General's forces a mile out of town, suffrage-yellow streamers in hand. As promised, a large squad of police was on duty to provide security, and after meeting the hikers at Hamilton, they cleared a path trough the city, pushing aside a crowd of 5,000. A thousand more waited at Mount Vernon Place, just opposite the Stafford Hotel where the hikers will be spending the night.
Though almost all the hikers have given speeches at one time or another as individuals, General Jones showed her diplomatic skills today by successfully mediating a dispute between would-be speaker Elizabeth Aldrich and "official" orator Elizabeth Freeman, regarding who could speak officially for the "Army of the Hudson" at the Masonic Temple this morning. This prevented a possible last-minute desertion so close to the hikers' goal. Jones' abilities in this area will be critical to reuniting what are tonight two armies, and keeping all the troops happy during the final few days of this grueling campaign.
February 24, 1913 : General Rosalie Jones' suffrage army is reunited and back to full strength again, as Colonel Craft's contingent marched into Baltimore on Day 13 of their hike from Newark, New Jersey, to Washington, D.C. Ida Craft's small detachment of troops enjoyed a big sendoff this morning from the villagers at Overlea, with four-year-old Albert Ayeman and six-year-old Julia Raspe, both wearing suffrage-yellow streamers, leading the procession out of town.
In Raspeburg, they were met by members of the Just Government League, who gave them a luncheon at the home of their president. Though Col. Craft's feet might be in notoriously poor condition after all these days of hiking, her voice is still at its best. After her luncheon speech the listeners were sufficiently motivated to start a suffrage club, and will be presenting Craft with a gold medal in Washington on March 3rd for her courage and devotion to the cause.
As was the case yesterday when the main body of troops arrived, the police were again present in sufficient numbers to give the hikers a pleasant entry into Baltimore. The marchers were joined by a delegation of women from Goucher College as well.
General Jones spent today at her headquarters in the Hotel Stafford, sending hikers out to various speaking engagements, and to sell postcards bearing photos of the hike and individual hikers, while she made plans for the final days of this exceedingly successful campaign.
But nearly two weeks on the road has caused some dissension in the ranks. Col. Craft, still angry about Gen. Jones' decision to push on to Baltimore yesterday, instead of stopping at Overlea, as planned, clearly thinks there should be more time spent socializing with the locals even if it means less hiking. Though a brisk pace was justifiable back in New Jersey, with a couple of hundred miles of marching ahead under unpredictable weather conditions and over unscouted, muddy roads, there's now a full week left until the big parade and pageant in Washington, and only a relatively short distance to go, so a change of pace and priorities seems reasonable. As Col Craft put it :
"I don't believe in rushing about the country. We are now engaged in going at a six-day bicycle race speed, and I am frank to say that I don't like it. There must be consideration shown to both the pilgrims and to those who offer us their hospitality. I will obey the reasonable commands of General Jones, but when Gen. Jones wants to cut out all the social functions, which I think are necessary to the cause, it is going too far. We cannot slight Southern hospitality. I am going on to Washington, and if Gen. Jones cares to push on in this six-day bicycle manner, I will not. I started to Washington, and I intend to get there."
Still, even with some ruffled feelings after yesterday's march, there is no doubt that the hike will go on, and Constance Leupp was sent ahead to Washington to help coordinate plans for the troops' arrival and activities in that city. Leupp will return to Baltimore tonight to march with the troops when they resume their trek.
February 25, 1913 : Proving that they can be as bold indoors as outdoors, the suffrage hikers descended upon two of Baltimore's most patriarchal institutions on this, the 14th day of their journey from Newark, New Jersey, to Washington, D.C.
Their first visit of the day was to Cardinal Gibbons at his residence. Though known for his personal opposition to woman suffrage, he treated his unexpected visitors with great respect, even after General Jones impulsively gave him a handshake as a greeting instead of kneeling and kissing his ring, as is customary for all local visitors, regardless of their religious affiliation.
She then presented the Cardinal with a small "Votes for Women" pennant, which he graciously accepted, though with the friendly admonition that " ...in accepting this souvenir of your march, it is not necessarily a conversion to your cause." He then diplomatically praised the hikers without actually endorsing their goal :
"I hope your mission may commend itself to the judgment and consciences of the legislators. I am sure if they do not form a favorable opinion from your courage and determination their hearts must be harder than the stones that have bruised your feet on the march. I do not wish to bias their judgment, but you certainly deserve well for the efforts you have made and the courage you have shown."
He then asked some questions about their hike, and commented : "It is wonderful that women could have done what you have done. When you have completed your pilgrimage and Washington is reached, I am sure that all will agree with me that you deserve .... a good rest." Though just for a moment during that pause, the suffragists dared hope that he would say "the vote" instead of "a good rest," they were still quite pleased with his friendly tone, and deemed the meeting a successful one, all things considered.
Their next encounter was a luncheon sponsored by the "Sons of Jove." Another breach of local etiquette here, when as cigars and cigarettes were being passed around, chief orator Elizabeth Freeman took one and began puffing away. The sight of a woman smoking in public shocked local suffragists, one of whom quickly told Freeman, "We don't do that in Baltimore." Her action jolted the Jovians as well, one of whom took the cigarette from her hand and extinguished it. But other than that incident, the reception went quite well.
The marchers also called upon Acting Mayor Hubert, who accepted a "Votes for Women" flag and gave the marchers a letter to the Mayor of Laurel, the city they expect to reach tomorrow night after the hike resumes in the morning. Earlier this evening, the hikers went to the New Theater, where they, "Lausanne," the suffrage horse, who pulls Elizabeth Freeman's literature wagon, and "Jerry" the donkey, who pulls a small cart for a woman tourist who's now accompanying the hikers, went on stage to great applause.
The "Army of the Hudson" seems reunited in spirit again as the dispute between General Jones and Colonel Craft over the speed of the march and the priority given to socializing with the locals seems to have been smoothed over. But problems still remain for the General, as the permit for the pilgrims' march and police escort into and through Washington, D.C. has been obtained, but it's for a day too early. Since speeding up the hike to conform to the date on the permit would revive the feud with Colonel Craft, that's not an option, so the permit process will have to be started over again.
But despite the inadvertent breaches of custom during their visits to the Cardinal and the Jovians, plus the misdated permit, the hikers are now well-rested, and eager to be on the road again, with their destination now easily attainable in time for the big march and pageant on March 3rd.
February 26, 1913 : General Rosalie Jones and her suffrage army are on the march again ! After a series of speeches and social events in Baltimore yesterday, they hiked 22 miles today, the 15th day of their trek from Newark, New Jersey, to Washington, D.C. Today's march was to Laurel, Maryland, with several women from the "Just Government League" providing their escort out of Baltimore.
The road led mostly past farms and through tiny villages, with "Votes for Women !" cheers by the hikers greeted by "Howdy !" and tips of the hat from local farmers. But they got big salutes from the Johns Hopkins School for Nurses and the St. Mary's Industrial School as they passed by. Luncheon was taken at a church in Elk Ridge, where the cracker rations mistakenly sent to General Jones' home on Long Island by Alva Belmont finally caught up with the army, and supplemented the tea and milk bought there.
The troops of the "Army of the Hudson" were escorted into Laurel by a number of women bearing yellow suffrage streamers, plus four uniformed members of the Post Office Department. Upon arrival, they were greeted by the mayor.
But not everyone in town was hospitable, and when it was time to rest from the day's long trip, the hikers were told that there were no rooms available for them at the city's two largest hotels. Two prominent local women and the mayor's wife quickly formed a committee to persuade the unsympathetic-to-the-cause hotel owners to change their minds. One reluctantly relented, though only after meeting with the hikers. There was a small suffrage rally held outside a drug store, but as they begin the final approach to Washington, most of the attention of the hikers is now focused on national suffrage politics.
A yellow "Votes for Women" flag was sent to President-elect Wilson today, with a letter which read : "Suffrage Headquarters, Laurel, Md., Feb. 26, 1913. President-elect Woodrow Wilson : We send and beg of you to accept this 'Votes for Women' flag as a memento of our pilgrimage through New York and New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. Yours very truly, Rosalie Gardiner Jones."
But it is internal politics that is most troubling. The National American Woman Suffrage Association has decreed that only the women hikers, and only those who have hiked the full distance from Newark, are authorized by them to march in D.C. But General Jones is fiercely loyal to all those who have played any part in this hard journey, and determined that all must march together into Washington on February 28th and in the big parade and pageant on March 3rd. "That settles that," she said.
Meanwhile, one member of the party, Scout Car driver Olive Schultz, motored into Washington today. She was formally welcomed to suffrage headquarters by Alice Paul, who heads the N.A.W.S.A. committee planning the massive suffrage event on the 3rd.
Though only one person - and in an automobile - Schultz' arrival caused quite a stir in the city. When she visited suffrage headquarters, 30 workers - despite being quite busy preparing for the upcoming festivities - all rushed to meet her. The intense interest that the people of Washington seem to have in the hike, and the enthusiasm shown by their fellow suffragists for the hikers bodes well for the reception that will greet them day after tomorrow.
February 27, 1913 : The suffrage hikers pushed on toward Washington, D.C., this morning despite rain, mud, hecklers, and a growing conflict with NAWSA (the National American Woman Suffrage Association.) General Jones and her "Army of the Hudson" left Laurel about 9:00 a.m. for another day of wading through Maryland's notoriously muddy roads. But they were soon joined by 25 schoolchildren who happily hiked along until someone noted the approach of a Truant Officer, at which point the students scattered and headed for their classroom.
The students of the Maryland Agricultural College at College Park were not nearly so well behaved, and in addition to jeering the hikers, got into a fist fight with some of the "war correspondents" (reporters) accompanying the marchers. After getting the worst of it, the students retreated back to their campus.
At Beltsville, the hikers got a chance to briefly shed the oilskin tablecloths that were made into ponchos and added to their regular rain gear this morning. There they enjoyed a luncheon of crackers, fruit and apple cider. Back on the road again, some of the marchers, Phoebe Hawn and Mary Baird in particular, were clearly suffering from major foot problems, but are still determined to make it all the way.
The next stop for the troops was Hyattsville, where they were met by former mayor Magruder, who escorted the hikers to the armory. There they were given another luncheon, this courtesy of the Prince George's County Business Men's Association. After reaching the day's goal of Bladensburg, some retired to the George Washington House, which, as the name implies, was once the headquarters of another general on the march for a cause. Others went to the Palo Alto Hotel, where the Manhattan cocktail was invented in 1846.
Genevieve Champ Clark, daughter of the Speaker of the House, journeyed out from Washington to greet the marchers and was given an ovation by those not already in bed tending to their weary feet.
Today's stormy weather matched the relations between the hikers and those in NAWSA. At the beginning of the hike it was made clear that should she make it all the way from Newark, N.J. to Washington, D.C., General Jones was to deliver a letter from prominent suffragists to President-elect Wilson. But NAWSA decreed today that the letter, which Jones has carried and carefully kept dry for 16 days over 240 miles, is to be formally presented to Wilson by a delegation of NAWSA officers and the NAWSA Congressional Committee, though members of the pilgrim army may be "present" as well.
The letter was dutifully turned over to Alice Paul, head of NAWSA's Congressional Committee tonight, with General Jones saying : "If the New York suffragists feel it is better for the Congressional Committee to deliver the letter there seems little else for me to do than to bow to its wishes. As for my feelings on this matter I have little to say, other than that I am willing to make any sacrifice for the cause."
The issue of which hikers are officially recognized by NAWSA remains yet another source of friction. There will be a luncheon tomorrow given by NAWSA, but only women hikers who have walked the entire distance are invited. Since the men and women who walked part way, those in charge of the literature wagon, baggage car and scout vehicle, plus the footsore members of the press contingent are excluded, all the "eligible" marchers have decided to show their solidarity with their comrades by declining the invitation. Still, even with the bad roads, atrocious weather and organizational politics, General Jones remains optimistic tonight, just one day's march from D.C. and the end of the long trail. She summed up her feelings in verse :
"Oh, sisters, my sisters !
The trip is nearly done ;
The hikers slowly plod along,
The towns pass one by one.
The weary miles are left behind,
The Capitol draws near ;
And soon our lengthy march will end,
Amid a deafening cheer.
Oh sisters, my sisters!
The walk was long and hard ;
'Twas up a hill and down a dale,
Across God's dewy sward.
While women laughed and men have jeered,
At us and at our cause ;
Yet every step brought near that time,
When we shall make the laws."
February 28, 1913 : The suffrage hike ended today - and in a spectacularly successful manner ! After 17 days of marching over approximately 250 miles of mostly-muddy roads, and encountering everything from snowstorms to hostile hecklers, General Rosalie Jones and her suffragist "Army of the Hudson" strode triumphantly into Washington, D.C., this morning to a spontaneous and exuberant reception by thousands of cheering Washingtonians.
Not long after they entered the city, enthusiastic crowds began following the hikers. Even the police were unable to prevent the throngs from leaving the sidewalks and flooding into the streets when the marchers turned down Pennsylvania Avenue on their way to the recently-opened headquarters of the National American Woman Suffrage Association's Congressional Committee, at 1420 "F" Street, N.W.
Always able to overcome any obstacle in their path, the hikers changed from a line of 13 who had walked every step, followed by a line of those who had walked part way, into a column of twos with arms locked together, moving forward whenever the police could clear a small space for them to advance. Everyone wanted to salute and congratulate them in whatever way they could, so automobile horns, whistles, and shouts mixed together in a din that must have been quite a change from so many days of walking the lonely roads of rural New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland.
But finally they reached suffrage headquarters, and General Jones addressed the cheering crowd through a megaphone before the "suffrage army" dispersed for a change of clothes, some rest, and numerous events in their honor. Among the listeners to Gen. Jones' speech was her mother. Though a known anti-suffragist, she smiled a number of times and seemed to take pride in her daughter's feat, if not her objective.
To make the day still better, even the dispute over the letter to President-elect Wilson seems to have become somewhat defused. When the National Board of the National American Woman Suffrage Association told General Jones to hand over the letter that she'd been carrying for delivery to Wilson because the Board had decided to deliver it themselves, their edict caused justifiable resentment among General Jones and her troops. But today a telegram arrived which said : "Regret misunderstanding. Board with you from beginning. Delegation to present letter to consist of national officers, Congressional Committee and pilgrims, if interview with Wilson is arranged." It was noted that the "pilgrims" were mentioned last, despite having been the ones whose shoe leather had brought the message to D.C., but at least General Jones and her loyal band of hikers are assured of an audience with the incoming Chief Executive should the meeting occur.
Jones' attendance, of course, would require her to accompany the NAWSA Board to the interview, something she is presently not inclined to do. However, Alice Paul, head of NAWSA's Congressional Committee, personally praised the marchers : "We are doing all that we can to entertain the women, and I can assure you that we do appreciate the wonderful walk that they have made, and the great aid they have given the cause by their efforts and bravery."
That the hikers have greatly advanced "The Cause" was a clear consensus here today. Though a massive parade and pageant featuring thousands of suffragists and coordinated by NAWSA three days from now will be a far larger event, the impact made by General Jones' small band on the struggle for the vote has already made it clear that this is a new era in the suffrage movement.
Sixty-five years have gone by since winning the vote was adopted as a goal of those attending the first women's rights convention at Seneca Falls. But the realization of their goal now seems only a small fraction of that time in the future thanks to bolder tactics by some of the younger suffragists in the newer organizations, plus more imaginative ideas by dedicated suffragists like Rosalie Jones and her hardy band of pilgrims.
February 29, 1920 : How times have changed ! Eight years and two Presidential elections ago, the issue of woman suffrage was still so controversial that neither the Republican or Democratic parties or their Presidential nominees would endorse it, and only Teddy Roosevelt and his Progressive (Bull Moose) Party spoke in favor of equal suffrage. Four years ago, both major parties edged forward slightly, and endorsed suffrage on a State-by-State basis, but while Republican Presidential nominee Charles Evans Hughes endorsed nationwide woman suffrage, sitting President and Democratic nominee Woodrow Wilson did not favor enacting it by a Constitutional Amendment.
But this year, it's apparently as acceptable to favor full nationwide suffrage for women as to endorse apple pie or motherhood, because five leading contenders for each major party's nomination have given personal statements of support for "Votes for Women" to the National Woman's Party, and today those statements were made public.
The Woman's Party is hopeful that the support of these influential individuals will help in their drive to win the three more State ratifications which are needed to put the Anthony Amendment in the Constitution, and many of the politicians are presumably eager to get on the bandwagon and be on the winning side of the suffrage issue if women vote nationwide in November.
According to Senator Warren G. Harding of Ohio, Republican hopeful : "I very much hope for the ratification of the women's suffrage amendment in ample time for the women of the Republic to have full participation in the election of the next President and the next Congress as well."
General Leonard Wood said : "I heartily indorse immediate ratification of the woman suffrage amendment, and hope it is ratified in time to enable women to vote in the upcoming Presidential primaries."
Governor Frank Lowden of Illinois took pride in his State's record when he endorsed the Anthony Amendment : "I am in favor of granting full suffrage to women. When the amendment to the Federal Constitution was adopted, I recommended its ratification by the Illinois Legislature, and Illinois was the first State to ratify that amendment."
Senator Miles Poindexter of Washington State said : "It is of great importance, in my judgment, that the suffrage amendment be ratified in time to enable women to vote in all the States in the Presidential election of 1920."
Senator Hiram Johnson of California believes : "Justice as well as political expediency would dictate the immediate ratification of the suffrage amendment by thirty-six States and the placing of the ballot in the hands of the women of our country."
Support among the Democratic candidates is also quite enthusiastic, and since it was Southern Democrats who delayed passage of the Anthony Amendment by the Senate for so long, and most States that have ratified so far have Republican majorities in their legislatures, Democrats have a lot to prove to women, and not much time left to do it.
According to William Jennings Bryan, three-time Presidential nominee : "The suffrage amendment should be ratified first in order that the Democratic Party may be able to make a successful appeal to women voters, and second, because we need the conscience of the women to aid the moral causes to which Democracy is pledged."
Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer says : "Women should be permitted to have a voice in the Presidential election and assume their part of the responsibility of determining America's future."
Former Ambassador James W. Gerard stated : "No more important question is before the public than the speedy ratification of the Federal suffrage amendment."
Recent Secretary of the Treasury William McAdoo has said he supports nationwide suffrage, and Senator Robert Owen of Oklahoma supported ratification when the Anthony Amendment was before his State's Legislature, and said that he favors suffrage because it will "promote good government."
The goal of the National Woman's Party is to get the Anthony Amendment into the Constitution before the Presidential election, so the fact that this many of the leading contenders for the Presidential nomination favor it means that it's a virtual certainly that both major party nominees will be pro-suffrage, and that this year the Anthony Amendment should be formally endorsed at the national conventions of both parties, thus putting intense pressure on State legislators of both parties to ratify.
March 1, 1961 : The battle for nationwide legalization of birth control may soon be won if some questions asked, and comments made, in the Supreme Court today are any indication of a Court majority's views. The case (Poe et al. v. Ullman) involves Dr. C. Lee Buxton, head of Yale Medical School's Obstetrics and Gynecology Department. He is challenging Connecticut's 1879 law which prohibits anyone - even physicians - from giving advice on birth control, and totally bans contraceptives themselves.
Chief Justice Earl Warren was particularly concerned with the harm that such a law could cause to "Jane Doe," the pseudonym of one of Dr. Buxton's two patients involved in the case. "Pauline Poe" is the other. It is the physician's professional opinion that another pregnancy would threaten Doe's life, but he cannot legally give her information about birth control or prescribe contraceptives.
Connecticut's Assistant Attorney General, Raymond J. Cannon, defended the law as Warren engaged him in a dialogue :
"If the diagnosis of Mrs. Doe is accurate, and her life is to be endangered unless she receives the treatment prescribed, do you believe the state would prevent her getting such treatment ?" asked the Chief Justice.
"It is up to the Legislature to determine what is for the greater good," Cannon replied.
"Even if it is conceded the lady would die, you still hold that the state has the right, for the reasons you give, to prevent her from getting needed care ?" asked Warren.
"Yes," replied Cannon, "plus the added factor that when seeking the advice she was not suffering diseases that affected her health. Pregnancy was not involved. He [the physician] may advise that if she became pregnant she might injure her health, but he can't tell her or advise her to use artificial contraceptives to prevent conception."
Justice Stewart gave further encouragement to birth control advocates by making this observation : "That's like telling a patient he has appendicitis and will die unless it is removed, but not allowing its removal."
The Comstock Act, passed by Congress in 1873, included birth control devices and contraceptive information in its definition of "obscene" items banned from the mails. Many states then passed - and enforced - their own anti-birth-control laws as well. But a Federal Appeals Court ruled in 1936 (U.S. v. One Package of Japanese Pessaries, 86 F.2nd 737) that the Federal Government could not interfere with licensed physicians importing contraceptives - and by implication distributing them - to their married patients. Today, almost 50 years after the long and difficult battle to re-legalize contraception began, only Connecticut and Massachusetts still retain absolute bans on birth control.
Section 53-32 of Connecticut law provides : "Any person who uses any drug, medicinal article or instrument for the purpose of preventing conception shall be fined not less that fifty dollars or imprisoned not less than sixty days nor more than one year or be both fined and imprisoned." Section 54-196 states : "Any person who assists, abets, counsels, causes, hires or commands another to commit any offense may be prosecuted and punished as if he were the principal offender."
March 2, 1970 : In what is hoped will be a major advance for women's rights, the Supreme Court agreed for the first time today to hear a case alleging sex discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The plaintiff is Ida Phillips, who was denied a position as an assembly-line trainee in 1966 because the Martin Marietta Corporation has a rule against hiring women - but not men - who have pre-school-age children.
The initial trial court ruled against her. On appeal, a three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Court also ruled for Martin Marietta on the grounds that Phillips wasn't being discriminated against solely because she was a woman, but because she was a woman AND had young children (411 F.2d, 1). Their ruling gave an apparent "seal of approval" to Martin Marietta's assumption that mothers had greater family responsibilities than fathers, which could make them less reliable employees. As they put it, the judges did not believe Congress intended to "exclude absolutely any consideration of the differences between the normal relationships of working fathers and working mothers to their pre-school-age children, and require that an employer treat the two exactly alike in the administration of general hiring policies."
When the entire Fifth Circuit Court was asked to hear the case, it refused to do so. One of the judges who voted not to hear the case was G. Harrold Carswell, nominated six weeks ago by President Nixon to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by the resignation of Justice Abe Fortas. As a result of Carswell's opposition to hearing the Phillips case last October, N.O.W. President Betty Friedan and Rep. Patsy Mink (D-HI) appeared at his confirmation hearings on January 29th to oppose the nomination of someone who could not see that discrimination against mothers, but not fathers, was discrimination based on sex, and who was unwilling to even listen to the arguments in the Phillips case.
There is good reason for optimism in regard to the High Court's eventual ruling in the Phillips case, because women have won recent victories in sex bias cases in appeals courts. A three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals - Judge Carswell not on the panel - ruled last March 4th in the case of "Weeks vs. Southern Bell Telephone" (408 F.2d 228) that weight-lifting limitations on women, but not men, were illegal under Title VII. On September 26th, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in "Bowe v. Colgate Palmolive Company" (416 F.2d 711) that if there are weight-lifting tests, they must apply to all employees, and that any employee must be allowed to "bid on and fill any job for which his or her seniority entitled him or her."
There are other gender-bias cases working their way through the courts, so if the Supreme Court issues a clear and strong ruling in the case, it could make the battle for equality a lot easier in the nation's courtrooms.
March 3, 1913 : Any doubts about the courage, dedication or organizational skills of suffragists that may have existed in the minds of some a few hours ago must certainly lie discarded along Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., tonight. Had today's massive suffrage parade and pageant been done on a quiet street and with ample police protection, it still would have been an incredible feat. But when the National American Woman Suffrage Association and the event's chief organizers, Alice Paul and Lucy Burns, successfully pulled off today's spectacle with almost every imaginable obstacle thrown in their way, they furnished undeniable proof that the late Susan B. Anthony was right when she predicted that "failure is impossible" for woman suffrage.
Somewhere between six and eight thousand costumed marchers from all 48 States, and other nations as well, plus 26 floats, 10 bands, 6 golden chariots and numerous women on horseback gathered together today to support the cause of "Votes for Women." The march began at the Peace Monument, led by two equestrians, Inez Milholland, the Herald, and May Jane Walker Burleson, the Grand Marshal.
But when the marchers turned down Pennsylvania Avenue, an unruly mob was encountered. They fought their way, foot by foot, toward the Treasury Building amid a raucous crowd of over 500,000, many drawn to the city for President-elect Wilson's inaugural tomorrow. So great was the battle that at one point it took three hours to march just one mile.
At times, for as far as the eye could see, there was nothing but a solid mass of people between the buildings lining the sides of Pennsylvania Avenue. The few police who had been assigned to crowd control either had no interest in doing their duty or knew they were hopelessly outnumbered and simply gave up trying to protect the marchers from aggressive harassment by the disorderly throng. But the suffragists kept their tempers, and like a well-disciplined army, steadily advanced.
The parade was an organizational triumph, with separate sections vividly illustrating each point suffrage advocates wished to make. "Women of the World, Unite" was the banner that led women representing countries where they can presently vote. Another section saluted women's progress over more than seven decades. A thousand college women paraded together under their school banners, while others represented women in various organizations and occupations.
There were club women, clergywomen, State delegations and pro-suffrage Members of Congress in the line of march as well. Even amid the heckling and disruptions, there was some cheering, though, with the biggest ovation of the day going to General Rosalie Jones and her suffragist "Army of the Hudson" that hiked here from Newark, New Jersey, to be in today's parade.
But the parade was only one part of the spectacle. At the other end of the marchers' route, a colorful pageant was taking place on the steps of the Treasury Building. While their sisters fought rowdy crowds, the performers' courage was tested battling the cold weather in their thin costumes worn for an allegory about women striving for equality through the ages. Because the parade was held up for so long, they had to spend time after their well-applauded finale shivering in the frigid weather waiting for the long-delayed marchers to arrive.
Finally, near the end of the parade route, the 15th Cavalry came charging in from Fort Myer to do the job the police should have been doing all along. They cleared the street for the marchers by riding directly toward the hecklers at full gallop, causing them to scramble for the sidewalk with more speed than might be thought possible for drunken hooligans.
After the last of the marchers completed the route, two thousand suffragists filled Continental Hall to share their experiences and feelings about this historic day. Certainly there was indignation and anger expressed at the police, but there was also justifiable pride in the conduct of the participants.
Rev. Anna Howard Shaw, who has been President of the National American Woman Suffrage Association since 1904, said :
"I was never so proud in all my life. I never was so thankful to be one of your members. I have never seen greater dignity under trying conditions ; greater coolness under insult and oppression than was displayed by the marchers for suffrage today."
The battle for the vote is far from over, but these seasoned veterans will now return to work in their home States, secure in the knowledge that they have presented their case to a national audience in the most positive and persuasive manner possible, and that they can overcome any challenge that may be encountered in the future.
March 4, 1918 : A major victory today for Alice Paul and 217 other women arrested last year for picketing the White House. The Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia has just declared their arrests illegal, and voided all convictions of the "Silent Sentinel" pickets handed down by the local Police Court. The picketing began on January 10, 1917, the day after a delegation of 300 suffragists met with President Wilson.
Alice Paul and a number of others were sufficiently offended by the President's general attitude, and his unwillingness to either officially endorse the Susan B. Anthony (nationwide woman suffrage) Amendment, or help the woman suffrage cause despite his personal support for it, that they took the unprecedented step of posting pickets, dubbed "Silent Sentinels" by Harriot Stanton Blatch, outside the White House gates. Though choosing not to speak, they made their message clear through large banners emblazoned with questions such as : "Mr. President, What Will You Do For Woman Suffrage ?" and "Mr. President, How Long Must Women Wait For Liberty ?"
Though relations between the Sentinels, the White House, passers-by and the police were quite friendly at first, U.S. entry into the present war with Germany last April 6th sparked hostility from many on the street toward those who would criticize our President in time of war. Also, the pickets' daily reminders of President Wilson's hypocrisy in extolling the virtues of democracy overseas while doing nothing to bring its benefits to the women of America proved quite embarrassing to the Administration, so the atmosphere grew increasingly hostile.
Arrests began on June 22nd, with Lucy Burns and Katherine Morey charged with "blocking traffic" on the sidewalk. The picketing - and arrests - continued, with 41 take into custody on one day alone. Convictions, and sentences from a few days to seven months in the District Jail and infamous Occoquan Workhouse followed. Those sent to Occoquan on November 14th were subjected to the most brutality and indignities by the guards. The "Night of Terror" when they arrived was the worst, with, among other things, Burns manacled to the bars of her cell with her arms above her head, and some women thrown into their cells so forcefully that they struck their head on the wall or metal bed frame.
They immediately began a hunger strike protesting the denial of "political prisoner" status. Lucy Burns, considered the strike's "ringleader" was transferred to the District Jail where she joined Alice Paul in being force-fed three times a day. Finally, in late November, the prisoners were released due to public outrage over their treatment, and on December 4th, eight lawsuits for $ 50,000 each were filed against the wardens of the Occoquan Workhouse and the District Jail, as well as the Commissioners of the District of Columbia, charging assault, illegal detention and false imprisonment.
Today's court decision will allow all 218 to sue the District over their illegal arrests. It also affirms the right to peacefully assemble and protest in the future. In the words of the Court :
"So far as the information enlightens us, the defendants may have assembled for a perfectly lawful purpose, and though to a degree obstructing the sidewalk, not be guilty of any offense ....Neither is a peaceable assembly, under the present statute, unlawful. The statute does not condemn the mere act of assembling on the street, but prohibits assembling and congregating, coupled with doing of the forbidden acts. It would hardly be contended that if the defendants had met on one of the spacious sidewalks of Pennsylvania Avenue to conduct a peaceable conversation, though in a degree inconveniencing pedestrians, they would be guilty under the statute of crowding and obstructing the free use of the walk."
The National Woman's Party will continue to put pressure on President Wilson to use his considerable influence on reluctant Democrats to help the Anthony Amendment. He finally endorsed it on January 9th, a year to the day after the meeting with suffrage supporters which launched the "Silent Sentinel" campaign. The next day the Anthony Amendment got exactly the required 2/3 majority in the House. But Wilson still needs to be prodded into helping suffragists convert enough Southern Democratic opponents to the cause to win passage by 2/3 of the Senate. The Amendment can then be sent to the States for ratification, with approval by 36 of the 48 State Legislatures required to become part of the Constitution.
March 5, 1919 : The "Prison Special," carrying women who have served time in the Washington, D.C., District Jail or Virginia's Occoquan Workhouse for demonstrating in favor of woman suffrage in front of the White House, arrived tonight in Chicago. The special railroad car, chartered by the National Woman's Party, left the nation's capital on February 15th and has given these brave activists a chance to state their case to huge crowds and numerous reporters around the country. They have used this opportunity to detail their prison ordeals and explain why they have had to resort to ever more militant - though non-violent - tactics, such as burning President Woodrow Wilson's speeches in large ceremonial urns in front of the White House fence.
The tour has been a big hit ever since its first stop in Charleston, South Carolina, where it generated the biggest mass meeting in the city's history. The purpose of militant actions, from picketing to "Liberty Bonfires," is to secure action in Congress on the stalled Susan B. Anthony (nationwide woman suffrage) Amendment, center the attention of the country on the struggle for the vote, and remind people that President Wilson and his Democratic Party are responsible for the failure of the Anthony Amendment to gain approval by the required 2/3 of the House and Senate before being sent to the States for ratification.
Upon arriving here tonight, Lucy Burns recounted her experience with force-feeding :
"I had been fasting for six days and nights when they started in on me. It was a terrible experience, a horrible attempt to break my will. Five men and two women were employed in doing it. The men would pin me to the floor, several of them holding my arms by my sides. If I struggled they would sit upon me. And while the men held me the women would insert a tube in my mouth through which a fluid of egg and milk would be forced into my stomach. I was weak from the fasting, but whenever I was strong enough I would refuse to let them insert the tube into my mouth. At such times they would insert it in the nose and force the fluid into my stomach that way. Food so taken is not nourishing. It was not meant to be. It was done simply to break my will."
Their experiences certainly didn't rob the suffrage prisoners of their sense of humor, however, as can be noted from the songs they sang in prison. This one, appropriately enough, is to the tune of "I've Been Working on the Railroad" (S.B.A. is the Susan B. Anthony Amendment, Zinkham was the D.C. Jail's warden, and "Woodrow" refers to the President.) :
"We've been starving in the workhouse, all the live long day.
"We've been starving in the workhouse, just to pass the S.B.A.
Don't you hear old Zinkham calling,
Rise up so early in the morn ;
Don't you see the Senate moving ?
Woodrow, blow your horn !"
The other women on the train also have compelling stories, and will tell them at a mass meeting in the Congress Hotel tomorrow night, though some will make a quick trip to Milwaukee in the afternoon. Meanwhile, the National Woman's Party's struggles continue.
Last night in New York City, some N.W.P. members who were attempting to peacefully demonstrate outside the Metropolitan Opera House, where President Wilson was speaking, were assaulted by police, soldiers and sailors. The women had gathered from all around the nation to express indignation that the President was leaving the country to campaign for democracy abroad while letting the Constitutional Amendment that would bring democracy to America's women languish. It failed by a single vote in the Senate on February 10th, which Wilson could surely have coaxed from a member of his own Democratic Party had he chosen to exert his full influence.
Fortunately, the 65th Congress has now ended, and as a result of the National American Woman Suffrage Association's targeting of anti-suffrage Senators for defeat in the November elections, and Alice Paul's National Woman's Party targeting the entire Democratic Party as the "party in power" and therefore responsible for the failure of the Anthony Amendment to pass, there now appear to be enough votes in both Senate and House in the new Republican-controlled 66th Congress for passage of the Anthony Amendment.
But even though there is reason for optimism that there is now a sufficient Republican majority to overcome Southern Democratic opposition, nothing is being taken for granted, and the campaign will go on at full force until passage is achieved.
March 6, 1913 : Though today's parade of 20 witnesses before a Senate subcommittee was far fewer than the 6,000 to 8,000 suffragists who fought their way down Washington D.C.'s Pennsylvania Avenue three days ago, the respect and courtesy this smaller group received was infinitely greater. Their eyewitness accounts of the March 3rd suffrage parade and pageant were such a scathing indictment of police inefficiency, indifference, hostility and even abuse that Senator Wesley Jones, Republican of Washington, who is in charge of the hearings, indicated that no more testimony on the events of that day is needed, and the job of the subcommittee will now be to fix responsibility for the disgraceful performance of the police.
Major Richard Sylvester, Chief of the District Police, spent the day in the back of the hearing room taking notes in preparation for the grilling he's certain to receive when it's his turn to testify. Though the parade participants had expected some jeers from the crowd, and a certain degree of pushing and shoving is inevitable when thousands of marchers and half a million spectators compete for space, what the suffragists encountered went far beyond that.
Police under-deployment and outright hostility were illustrated by examples. When the crowds became so dense at Ninth Street & Pennsylvania Avenue that one of the parade floats was unable to move, one of only three nearby officers inexplicably arrested one of the float's drivers instead of clearing a path. Indifference was the only alternative to hostility among police, with Julia Lathrop describing them acting "like spectators." Helena Hill Weed testified that though the jeers made by the crowd went well beyond the usual ribald jests and into the vilest obscenities, the police chatted in a friendly manner with those in the mob's front ranks, and even contributed a few insults of their own, thus encouraging the remarks to escalate. Even attempts by some in the crowd to pull women off floats were ignored by the officers, with women such as 17-year-old Verna Hertfield having to fight off the attacks by themselves.
Outrage over the mishandling of parade security is not confined to the halls of Congress or suffrage groups. Even the staunchly anti-suffrage New York Times denounced the behavior of both spectators and police in an editorial yesterday.
If the goal of the police and hecklers was to heap disrespect upon the marchers and their cause, they not only failed when the marchers showed great dignity, perseverance and restraint, but brought disgrace upon themselves and the entire anti-suffrage movement. The parade's successful completion was therefore a double triumph, and two steps forward toward the day when nationwide woman suffrage is an accomplished fact, and "Votes for Women" marches will no longer be necessary.
March 7, 1910 : The accomplishments of the 30,000 women who took part in the recently-ended strike against all of New York City's shirtwaist manufacturers were celebrated tonight at the annual meeting of the Women's Trade Union League. Helen Marot summed up the gains that had been made since last year's walkouts, and discussed future efforts to expand the union movement and women's participation in it. There are now signed contracts with over 300 firms granting the shorter 52-hour workweeks demanded, increased pay, better sanitary conditions, and recognition of committees of workers in their shops. In addition, all the former strikers, including the leaders, are now working again, so no one is unemployed due to having exercised their right to protest.
Meaningful gains such as these are now causing women in all the trades to think about unionizing. Future organizing may be among corset makers, hat rimmers, children's jacket makers and "white goods" workers. A more immediate, and pleasant task, however, is promoting the firms who made the most favorable settlements. The two who now put union labels on their goods will get the biggest boost.
The union has ambitious plans for empowering the workers. It will be giving classes in English to new immigrants, as well as lessons in debating and singing. Debating skills will come in handy for mass meetings or negotiating with employers, and the singing of union songs helps with bonding.
The battle began with a strike call last September by Local 25 of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union against the Triangle Shirtwaist Company, arguably the worst employer in an industry infamous for its abuses. It is common in garment shops for employees to be required to furnish their own needles, thread, knives, irons and other necessities. Many shops also "sweat" every last penny of profit out of their workers by charging them for the use of company electricity and equipment, from clothing lockers to chairs, and fining them for even the briefest tardiness or slightest flaws in their work. But among the additional degradations and safety risks inflicted on employees at Triangle are a lack of indoor bathrooms, and the necessity to ask a foreman to unlock a steel door to leave the building for this "interruption of work." All their nearly 1,000 employees answered the strike call.
The strike went citywide on the night of November 22nd, thanks to Clara Lemlich. After listening to two hours of standard speeches by noted, but somewhat cautious, male labor leaders at a mass meeting of shirtwaist workers called by the I.L.G.W.U., the young woman demanded the opportunity to speak as well. Her impassioned recounting in Yiddish of the daily exploitations and frustrations encountered by she and her fellow workers stirred the audience at Cooper Union to enthusiastically support her unprecedented call for a general strike against all shirtwaist manufacturers. Over 20,000 of the city's 32,000 shirtwaist workers walked off their jobs the next day, with up to 10,000 more eventually joining them.
Their struggle over the next three months was extremely trying, but has paid off. A number of things were accomplished even beyond the wage and hour settlements. At first, picketers had to contend with violence from strikebreaking thugs hired by companies, as well as arrests by the police and sentencing by hostile judges. But growing public sympathy for the workers caused Mayor Gaynor to use his influence to end the policy of arresting pickets and ignoring violence against them. I.L.G.W.U. Local 25 has gone from 100 members to 10,000.
The Women's Trade Union League has also gained a number of valuable supporters. There are now among their ranks 11 volunteer lawyers, 13 writers, 31 speakers, and several wealthy women such as Anne Morgan and suffragist Alva Belmont prepared to contribute whatever money may be needed.
Of course, victory - even in just this one industry and in one city - is far from complete. Not all shops have signed agreements and Triangle is still a major holdout. But the battle for workers' rights - and women's rights - will go on, energized by these recent hard-won victories.
March 8, 1913 : Alice Paul, organizer of the massive suffrage parade and pageant five days ago, and District of Columbia Chief of Police Major Richard Sylvester, who failed to protect it, gave sharply contradictory views to a Senate subcommittee today about where responsibility should lie for the near-riot conditions on March third. Major Sylvester testified first, and was unwilling to accept any responsibility whatever, claiming that he did everything he should have, and that it was a failure to carry out his instructions that caused the assault on the parade by the mob :
"I did my duty. I exhausted every effort I could command as an official, the head of the Police Department, to furnish the parade with the protection which should have been accorded. My conscience is clear."
He read a series of instructions he supposedly issued to the D.C. Police prior to the parade. He then read a number of reports he asked his captains to write for the committee. Every captain reported that he and his men had done their duty, and nowhere was there the slightest indication of the trouble vividly described to the subcommittee day before yesterday by witness after witness. Audience members who had participated in the parade made no secret of their skepticism and ridiculed the reports.
Sylvester claimed he was "shocked" when he arrived at Pennsylvania Avenue and saw that crowds had breached the security lines not just where he was, but all along the parade route. In one of the few things that the suffragists in the audience heard from him that they could applaud, he said : "The failure of the police to protect was contrary to discipline, contrary to law, contrary to justice, contrary to my express orders, and the man who failed to do his part toward protecting these women should be immediately dismissed."
He provided no examples of discipline toward any officers, however. Though he claimed that he believed the force he had deployed was sufficient, Alice Paul furnished testimony that he should have known it was not, and that he had been repeatedly "bombarded" for over a month with requests to insure sufficient protection for the parade. Sylvester had been negative from the time Paul had first asked for a parade permit, and said that he had too few men to provide security for such an event due to huge crowds that would be drawn to the city for the next day's Presidential inaugural.
After the parade permit was issued, she reminded Sylvester of his remarks, and asked him to contact the War Department to provide additional help from the Army. He failed to do so, and even on the day of the march the Secretary of War was told by the authorities that no trouble was expected. Fortunately, Secretary Stimson "strained the law" a bit, and though Federal troops are not supposed to be used except to suppress an insurrection or riot, he wisely ordered a troop of cavalry from Fort Myer to be placed on the edge of the city as a precaution should they be needed quickly. When finally called into action, they charged down Pennsylvania Avenue, and were able to clear the street ahead of the marchers for the last few blocks of the procession.
The day concluded with more testimony about the indignities and assaults endured by the marchers. One of the contingents in the parade, this one composed entirely of men, was led by retired Major General Anson Mills. He described crowds of "hoodlums" making remarks specifically insulting to them as men, and expressing their intent to break up the ranks of the marchers. The police did nothing to stop what he described as their "vicious" verbal and physical attacks. The General's wife, also in the parade, told of similar incidents, and said that if she'd had a police billy club, she would have gotten the crowd back. It was that kind of suffragist spirit and fortitude on the part of the marchers that enabled the parade to successfully finish without the help of Major Sylvester and his officers.
March 9, 1910 : Clear proof of a revitalized suffrage movement was evident in Albany today at the New York State Senate and Assembly Judiciary Committees' joint hearings on changing the State Constitution to enfranchise women. Today's unprecedented turnout encouraged all who support woman suffrage to believe that the goal of striking just one word from the Empire State's Constitution, which grants voting rights to its "male" citizens, is within reach.
The feeling of optimism was encouraged by Assembly Member Toombs, who said that there is much more support for suffrage in the Legislature this year than ever before, and a glance around the room offered ample proof that interest among the public is at a peak as well. The hearing room was so packed today that many speakers were unable to move, and delivered their arguments from wherever they happened to wind up sitting or standing. Committee members had reserved seats, but were surrounded by those on both sides of the issue who had come here from all around the State. Many suffrage advocates arrived here on a special train this morning, but others have been busy lobbying for several days.
Mary Garrett Hay was the leader of the 130 suffragists present, and Mrs. George Phillips the 115 anti-suffragists. Those in support of suffrage could easily be distinguished by big yellow "Votes for Women" buttons.
The "antis" stated their case first, and in their usual manner presented themselves as protectors of women, the home and society. According to Mrs. Francis M. Scott : "Were we so presumptuous as to think we could take up men's work we should have to take it up in addition to our own, and while the Legislature might make us voters, it could not make you men mothers," she said, bringing forth the desired laugh from all present. But she then solemnly warned :
"Women, if they become voters, will succumb to the nerve-racking brain strain, and it will have decidedly bad effects. The birthrate has been lowered in those countries where the restlessness of women has taken the most acute form. We whose unique responsibility is to furnish the State with citizens have a right to demand protection from these dangers which threaten to atrophy the mother instinct."
After numerous other speeches along the same lines, it was the pro-suffrage side's turn. Attorney Samuel Untermeyer noted that : "Women are eligible with men for the electric chair, the prison and the tax roll. It seems intolerable that they should be ineligible for the ballot, the jury box, and to have their part in framing the laws under which they are required to live."
Untermeyer then went on to refute the myth that women have equal rights now, using the plight of wives as one example. In divorces, he said : "The almost barbarous inadequacy of the allowances made by the court in such cases are a recognized evil in or profession." Even widows are afflicted by the present statutes, as "the law seems to proceed on the utterly intolerable and indefensible theory that the wife has no interest in the property accumulated during marriage" and that "the law does not give to the wife as a right any part of the husband's estate in case of his death unless he happens to own land. He can leave her penniless if he sees fit."
Anna Etz spoke for many when she said women are tired of having to use indirect influence on the political system, and Carrie Chapman Catt appealed to the legislators not to let New York State be left behind in the rush to democracy around the world. One-fifteenth of the world's area now has woman suffrage, and the gains over the past decade have been more substantial than those in the previous five, she noted.
Whether this is the year New York will join the States of Wyoming, Colorado, Idaho and Utah, and the nations of New Zealand, Australia and Finland in assuring that women can vote on the same basis as men is uncertain. That suffragists stated their case well today, and are determined to continue doing so for as long as may be necessary to achieve the goal of equal suffrage is in absolutely no doubt tonight.
March 10, 1919 : A worthy finale to a spectacularly successful 23-day nationwide rail tour by the "Prison Special" tonight, as 3,500 people greeted the formerly imprisoned suffragists at a gala in New York's Carnegie Hall. An elaborate pageant of color and light opened the ceremonies in which "Justice," played by Vida Milholland, received the women of the nations in which equal suffrage has already been achieved, and was then approached by a woman in chains and twenty black-garbed mourners. They represented America, and pled for a place in the light of true democracy. The pageant concluded with "Justice" holding aloft her torch and singing "The Women's Marseillaise."
Speeches from several of the ex-prisoners then followed, each heartily applauded by an audience which included former Governor Whitman, William Randolph Hearst, and a number of other prominent New Yorkers.
"The militants are here, and we haven't broken anything, not even broken down," said Louisine Havemeyer, who then outlined the successes of the trip. There was even more applause when she announced that the National Woman's Party, sponsors of the tour, now had enough pledges of support from members of the new, and now Republican-controlled Congress to pass the Susan B. Anthony (nationwide woman suffrage) Amendment and send it to the State Legislatures for ratification by 36 out of 48.
Mary Winsor, who served time in the infamous Occoquan Workhouse, told of her experiences with the brutality there, and then noted : "The United States fought for democracy, and who got it ? Our enemies. Women fought for democracy and received mockery. The German women have been fully enfranchised and 34 of them are seated in the German Parliament."
Thanks to Ann Martin's eloquence, the program was successful in raising a good deal of money for what appear to be the final battles ahead in the suffrage struggle. An unexpected, but welcome event occurred near the end of tonight's program. A sailor asked to take the stage, and on behalf of the Soldiers' Sailors' and Marines' Protective Association and 24 other men in uniform who accompanied him to the gala, he denounced the brutal treatment given by fellow service members to the suffragists peacefully protesting outside a hall where President Wilson was giving a speech on March 4th.
Tonight's meeting capped a final busy day of activity. In the morning the train stopped in Hartford, Connecticut, where the ex-prisoners were greeted by a large group of banner-bearing citizens and escorted to City Hall, where Mayor Kinsella welcomed them. Katharine Hepburn - suffragist, birth-control advocate and head of the Connecticut branch of the National Woman's Party - opened a rally in their honor on the City Hall steps. She praised the courage of the women, then questioned the double standard used by many in condemning woman suffrage "militance" by contrasting Woman's Party actions such as picketing the White House, and burning the President's speeches, with the violent revolutions of men seeking a voice in their government :
"The reason you do not apply the same reasoning to the woman's case is that you have become used to looking upon women as naturally servile and second rate. You are willing to have them beg politely for their freedom but not demand it. Well, there are some women in this country who are neither servile nor second rate and who have the spirit to protest against the present position of American women until it is changed. They are among the most worth while women in this country, the kind you men really like in spite of all your old fashioned notions."
Since the arrests of suffragists continue, sixteen having served time in the Charles Street Jail following a Boston demonstration just two weeks ago, the courage Hepburn spoke of is still needed. But it's clearly in abundance as the battle for the vote finally seems about to move from winning approval of 2/3 of Congress to gaining ratification by 3/4 of the States.
March 11, 1912 : Though suffragists have many popular themes for speeches and meetings, tonight's choice to address 25 objections to woman suffrage has outdone them all in terms of drawing a crowd. Less than half of those who wanted to attend were able to pack themselves into New York City's spacious Metropolitan Temple, but the crowd out on Seventh Avenue was assured that remarks made at the meeting would be repeated at an overflow gathering. The attendance apparently surprised the police, who initially sent only one rather overworked officer, assigned to enforce the fire codes limiting the number of audience members.
Mary Jenney Howe presided at the meeting, using a large gavel to maintain order. She was ably assisted by a young woman who employed a cow bell to strictly enforce the five-minute limit on speakers, a necessity caused by the large number of myths that needed to be addressed.
Tonight's principal orators were well known to the public, and equally well prepared to defend the cause. They included author and Broadway performer Fola La Follette, daughter of "Fighting Bob" La Follette and Belle Case La Follette ; labor lawyer Inez Milholland ; writer and editor Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and English suffragist Elizabeth Freeman. It was Freeman who generated the most controversy by defending her fellow British militants :
"Militancy hurts the cause, does it ? No, I don't think it does. You have only to read the history of the United States to get the answer to this question. You read in the newspapers of the destruction of property in London. In Boston they destroyed the tea. In London we broke the windows." She then reminded her listeners of the violence and brutality inflicted on the militants by the British Government through the police, and explained that the reason they don't simply work to replace the men who run the government is because their goal is to change the system itself.
To the charge that "women don't understand politics," Frederic Howe asked how they could, having never been given a chance to participate in it : "Most men can't cook, either, for the very sufficient reason that they have never had a chance to learn how to do it."
Hutchins Hapgood addressed the charge that voting would make women less attractive by saying that just the opposite was the case, as women would become even more interesting, and "will gain richer and deeper charms."
The myth that "woman's place is in the home" was particularly offensive to Inez Milholland :
"If her place is in the home, why is it that 9,000,000 women are now out of the home and at work in the mills, factories and workshops of the land ? What are you going to do about these women if this objection is right ? Are you going to pension them so they can stay home, or are you going to let them starve ?"
Milholland was just getting into full stride when the cow bell sounded, causing her to comment : "I haven't begun to talk on this subject yet ..." as she went back to her seat.
Inez Haynes Gillmore was equally vehement regarding the old argument that "the ballot means the bullet." She noted that there was no military service requirement for male voters, and that 2/3 of the men who fought in the Civil War were denied the vote at the time because of their youth. She then recalled fighting women like Joan of Arc and Molly Pitcher. She pledged that : "If it is necessary for us to fight in order to vote, why, then, we will fight," but added that "when women get the ballot, war will be as extinct as the dodo."
Would enfranchised women take offices away from men ? Only if they were more competent to hold them, according to Fola La Follette, and since "municipal government, after all, is only municipal housekeeping," that might be a good thing on those occasions when it occurs.
Bertha Rembaugh, one of the final speakers, gave a whimsical reassurance to the males in the audience when she promised that if women got the vote they would not try to "make men good" in "too great a hurry."
Now armed with facts and logical responses to the most common arguments against woman suffrage, the audience members can now go forth as well-trained "Votes for Women" advocates to lobby their own family members, friends and neighbors, whose support will be critical to winning the battle for woman suffrage in New York State.
March 12, 1954 : Durriya Shafik, founder and president of the Bint al-Nil ("Daughter of the Nile") Party, announced today in Cairo that she would be undertaking a fast to protest the exclusion of women from the elections for a Constituent Assembly, which will meet on July 23rd to draft changes to the Egyptian Constitution. She has sent telegrams to General Naguib, President and Prime Minister, as well as members of the ruling junta, and the nation's religious and political leaders. In her message she said :
"I have taken a firm resolution to go on a hunger strike until my last breath, or until Egyptian women attain their constitutional rights, without any conditions. I demand that the women of Egypt be admitted to the Constituent Assembly. I demand their admission because we are convinced that the women who form more than half the Egyptian nation must not, at any cost, be governed by a Constitution in the making of which they played no part."
In her strike headquarters at the Cairo Press Syndicate, she repeated her pledge : "I am going to fast until I get a written promise from someone in authority that under the new constitution women will have the same political rights as men." One of the proposals under consideration would bar women from holding office, and would grant suffrage to women on an individual basis, and only if their request was approved by the government.
This is not Durriya Shafik's first protest. On February 19, 1951, she and nearly 1,500 women were meeting at the American University. She declared :
"Our meeting today is not a congress, but a parliament. A true one ! That of women ! We are half the nation ! We represent here the hope and despair of this most important half of the nation. Luckily we are meeting at the same hour and in the same part of town as the parliament of the other half of the nation. They are assembled a few steps away from us. I propose we go there, strong in the knowledge of our rights and tell the deputies and senators that their assemblies are illegal so long as our representatives are excluded, that the Egyptian Parliament cannot be a true reflection of the entire nation until women are admitted. Let's go and give it to them straight. Let's go and demand our rights. Forward to the Parliament !"
After a four-hour demonstration inside the building's gates, she was given an assurance from the President of the Senate that the demands of the women would be taken up by Parliament. These demands were for permission to participate in politics, limitations on polygamy and divorce, and equal pay for equal work. The politicians soon went back on their promise, however, and she was arrested for her rebellion. But support for her was so strong that when her trial opened, it was quickly adjourned and "postponed," never to resume again.
She has continued to fight for women's equality despite provoking great hostility from religious leaders, with political leaders eventually following their lead. After a revolution deposed the monarchy, she formed the Bint al-Nil Party, which was recognized by the Ministry of the Interior, and held its first convention on December 11, 1952. But the new military regime has since proved to be no more sympathetic to women's equality than the old king and parliament, and so it is time to protest again.
Durriya Shafik, born in 1908, has studied at the Sorbonne, where she wrote her doctoral dissertation on "Egyptian Women and Islam." Upon her return to Egypt in 1945, she founded a magazine entitled "Bint al-Nil," which eventually included a section on political issues. In 1948 she founded the "Bint al-Nil Union" which focuses on literacy and political rights for the country's women.
March 13, 1961 : Former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt called on President Kennedy at the White House today and gave him a three-page list of women he should consider for top jobs in his now 52-day-old Administration. Thus far only 9 of his 240 appointments have been to women, and none of the nine have been chosen for Cabinet rank or high policy-level posts. They had an extended discussion, lasting half an hour, but she did not reveal what else they discussed.
When asked by a reporter if Kennedy had failed to appoint enough women, Roosevelt diplomatically answered : "Some people feel that way." One of those who has expressed that view is Emma Guffey Miller, Democratic National Committee member since 1932. Last month she wrote to the President saying : "It is a grievous disappointment to the women leaders and ardent workers that so few women have been named to worthwhile positions."
Roosevelt told reporters that the reason for the low number of female appointments might simply be that the President didn't have a list of the many qualified women who could serve, and that sometimes men need to be reminded that there are so many able women. She then noted that President Franklin D. Roosevelt had a list of women to consider for high office, supplied by an official of the National Education Association.
Eleanor Roosevelt is one of the President's nine female appointees since he took office a little over seven weeks ago on January 20th. She has been reappointed a member of our delegation to the United Nations. Two other women have been appointed to U.N. posts as well, Marietta Tree to its Human Rights Commission and Gladys Avery Tillett to their Status of Women Commission. Kennedy's other female appointees are : Dr. Janet Travell, the first woman White House physician ; Reva Bosone, judicial officer of the Post Office Department ; Elizabeth Rudel Smith, U.S. Treasurer ; Esther Peterson, to head the Labor Department's Women's Bureau, Frances Willis as Ambassador to Ceylon, and Marie McGuire is the new Commissioner of Public Housing.
March 14, 1916 : The resilience of the suffrage movement was never more in evidence than today. Just over four months after the biggest setback in its 68-year history, when suffrage referenda in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York and Massachusetts went down to defeat between October 19th and November 2nd, the campaign in back on track and well on its way to another vote on the issue in New York next year !
Today the Assembly of the nation's most populous State agreed to put such a referendum on the ballot, and did so not by a razor-thin margin, but by an overwhelming vote of 109-30. Though the State Senate must still consent, and the Senate Judiciary Committee is blocking the bill, vigorous lobbying of legislators and large public protests are expected to dislodge it, and with passage, all energies can be turned toward working for a victory in 1917.
Assembly Member Harry E. Brereton, co-author of the bill, opened the debate by saying that the Legislature owed it to the thousands of male voters who endorsed woman suffrage, and to the voteless women of New York as well, to put the question on the ballot again. He immediately ran into a storm of protest from anti-suffrage colleagues. Assembly Member McCue called resubmission "an insult to the voters of this State," and suggested that the suffragists might wait a while. Mr. Shiplacoff, a supporter of suffrage, then asked how long they should wait. "Oh, about 5,000 years," said O'Hare, of Queens, joining the debate.
Mr. Welch of Albany viewed the resolution as "nothing more than an attempt to heckle the voters," even though other issues that went down to defeat in November have already been approved for the 1917 ballot. Mr. Pratt then began to recite the familiar maxim, "If at first you don't succeed ..." at which point the entire body loudly intoned : "Try, try again ..." The vote was finally called, and one by one the members of the Assembly gave their votes and their reasons for support or opposition.
Assembly Member Bush's statement of conditional approval gave evidence of just how intense the lobbying had been : "I'm going to vote for this, because the majority of my constituents want it. But I want to serve notice right here that if these women keep pestering me around this Capitol, it'll be the last time I'll vote for the resolution." As might be expected, there was great cheering and waving of flags and suffrage pennants in the galleries when the final vote was announced.
With this battle won, all two hundred suffrage supporters immediately went to camp out in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee's room. After waiting several hours, it was learned that the room was now empty and that members had gone out a side door to another hearing. Everyone continued to sit for two and a half hours until the other hearing was over and committee members returned to their regular meeting room. Finally, about 6:00, it was announced that there would be no action on the bill today.
Immediately following the announcement, Vira Boarman Whitehouse of the New York State Woman Suffrage Party climbed up on a chair to say that there would be a mass meeting at Cooper Union to protest this delay, and a demand to know who was bottling up the bill and why. A great cheer went up, followed by another example of our side's persistent lobbying.
One member of the Senate Judiciary Committee was cornered by a group of "Votes for Women" advocates while attempting to make his way down the crowded halls to his office. When his explanation for the delay proved inadequate, one member of the group asked : "What's your name ?" "Gilchrist, Madam," he replied. "Where are you from ?" she asked. "Kings," he said. "Thanks, Mr. Gilchrist of Kings. We have got your number," she said while solemnly writing on a pad.
Most observers expect the suffrage referendum bill to pass the Senate as well, and if so it will certainly be signed by Governor Whitman, whose wife was among those lobbying for suffrage here today. Then, building on the base of 533,348 votes won during the 1915 campaign, woman suffrage will hopefully be on its way to a major victory in New York that will provide additional momentum to get Congress to pass the Susan B. Anthony Amendment, which if then ratified by 36 of the 48 States will enfranchise women nationally.
March 15, 1912 : Suffragists in both New York and Philadelphia let it be known today that they are not to be trifled with. One example of this policy occurred at the Woman's Industrial Exhibition in the new Grand Central Palace in New York City, where the New York State Woman Suffrage Association battled for booth space.
Yesterday afternoon about 3:00, Emma Ivins noticed that nowhere among all the exhibitions was there a booth devoted to woman suffrage, and decided to remedy this obvious oversight. She quickly signed a contract, went to pick up a plentiful supply of literature, banners and signs, and by 6:00 the "Votes for Women" booth was doing a brisk business. But not for long. This morning Frances Lang was just setting up when workers came in, returned Ivins' check, began taking down the signs and told Lang that she could no longer distribute literature. This incensed her, as well as many of the women in adjoining booths.
Mary Dreier, President of the Women's Trade Union League, in the Woman's Insurance Company booth then asked for suffrage banners, while a number of others put on yellow "Votes for Women" sashes and marched around the auditorium. This irritated exhibition officials, who had guards tell the women to either remove their sashes or return to the suffrage booth. They did neither, and simply turned the sashes into ties.
Josephine Dodge, noted anti-suffrage leader and a vice president of the exhibition, confronted the now-unsanctioned suffrage booth's staffers, accusing them of getting in under false names, which was not the case. This only escalated the conflict, as women in other booths now defiantly pledged that if the suffragists were ejected, they would leave, too. The entire stock of yellow sashes quickly disappeared from the suffrage booth and was soon found prominently displayed on women all over the hall.
But just as tensions were peaking, there was a stunning turnaround by exhibition authorities. The New York State Woman Suffrage Association had gotten a judge to issue an injunction prohibiting the exhibition from ousting them, and not long after, just as reporters were beginning to sense a newsworthy event in the battle, the management quickly reassured everyone that this had all been a "misunderstanding" due to an initial ruling by the board that the show would be "nonpolitical." Workers then returned to the suffrage booth, this time carefully putting up the banners and signs they had taken down just hours before.
Meanwhile, in Philadelphia today, Rev. Anna Howard Shaw, president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, repeated a call she made last night to an audience at the New Century Club that the time has come for greater militance. She said that her remarks were not made in the heat of the moment, and she is willing to stand by her speech on "Militant Suffrage in America."
Rev. Shaw is displeased with the way she and other suffragists have been treated in Washington, D.C., with day before yesterday's hearings on the Susan B. Anthony (nationwide woman suffrage) Amendment being only the most recent example of the attitudes she finds insulting. She justified more assertive tactics by saying : "If we are played with, made fun of, just tolerated, greeted with supercilious smiles by members of Congressional committees, there is nothing for us to do but to resort to militant methods. We hope we will not be driven to measures as severe as those used in England, but if it does come, the daughters of old English sires will be ready to suffer here as women are suffering in England."
Speaking of English militants, hunger-strikers Emmeline and Sylvia Pankhurst were released from Holloway Jail in London yesterday due to their deteriorating physical condition, while other militants used hammers to smash windows in the Home Secretary's residence, succeeding in breaking every pane of glass on the ground floor. All were arrested, quickly convicted and sentenced to two months' imprisonment at hard labor.
Calculating the exact degree of militance that will produce the maximum results in America is no easy task, but a variety of strategies, both conventional and more aggressive, will probably be needed to achieve the goal of national woman suffrage. Rev. Shaw's endorsement of more assertive tactics is therefore likely to be a helpful development, and Americans such as Alice Paul and Lucy Burns, who already have some personal experience with the suffrage struggle in England, could be quite useful in implementing this new philosophy.
March 16, 1970 : The publishers of "Newsweek" now have more confirmation than they might want that their current cover story entitled "Women in Revolt," which hit the newsstands today, is both accurate and timely. Instead of merely reporting on the now re-energized struggle against sexism, "Newsweek" has itself become an example of that battle when forty-six women who work for the publication announced today that they have filed a complaint against the magazine with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charging sex bias.
They said : "We allege that women at Newsweek are systematically discriminated against in both hiring and promotion and are forced to assume a subsidiary role simply because they are women ... We think it especially important that so highly visible and ostensibly open-minded an institution should not be permitted to continue a blatant policy of discrimination against women."
The complaint was sent directly to Elizabeth J. Kuck at the E.E.O.C. in Washington, day before yesterday, and the text was made public and read aloud at a news conference this morning at the A.C.L.U. office in New York by Eleanor Holmes Norton, the employees' attorney. She noted that although the Newsweek cover story was written by a woman, they chose an outside freelance writer to do it, a virtually unprecedented action. The magazine is normally written entirely by the staff. According to Patricia Lynden : "There seems to be a gentleman's agreement at Newsweek that women are researchers and men are writers, and the exceptions are few and far between."
Osborn Elliott, Newsweek's editor-in-chief, denies that there is discrimination, but admits that most researchers are women because this is a "news magazine tradition" that goes back 50 years. Norton offered to drop the complaint if the magazine would immediately integrate women into the correspondence, writing and editing positions, and men into the research jobs. The job of a researcher - classified as an "editorial assistant" in the masthead - is to check the stories for factual accuracy. At the moment, 51 of 52 writers are male, and 35 of 36 researchers female. There are no women editors, and 64 of 76 reporters and news bureau correspondents are men.
The employees have also sent a separate letter to Katharine Graham, whose Washington Post Company owns Newsweek, deploring what they call "the day-to-day atmosphere that discourages women as professional journalists," but also saying that they want to continue to make Newsweek a better magazine.
March 17, 1937 : Amelia Earhart is airborne ! Over five thousand cheering fans and husband George Palmer Putnam were on hand to see her off from Oakland, California, on her record-breaking around-the-world-flight. Early reports are that all is going well on this first leg of the journey, with Hawaii as her initial goal. As grueling as today's 2,392-mile flight may be, it is merely the first of three days of long-distance, over-the-water flying. Her next hop will be to tiny Howland Island, and then on to Lae, New Guinea, 6,500 miles from Oakland.
She is attempting to become the first pilot to circle the globe as closely as possible to the Equator, Earth's widest point. Her 27,000 mile route will be nearly twice the distance of the late Wiley Post's two 15,000 mile flights around the world at far more northern latitudes.
Though the flight is universally described in the press as a "great adventure," Earhart insists that it is really a practical exercise to further the cause of aviation and test out new navigational instruments and radio devices to expand passenger and cargo routes. Either way, she's in the air now in her "Flying Laboratory," accompanied by navigator Fred Noonan, who has flown the Pacific many times for Pan American, and will do the navigating from Hawaii to Howland ; Harry Manning, whose knowledge of the South Seas as a ship's captain will be useful for navigating from Howland to New Guinea and Australia ; and technical advisor Paul Mantz.
Though she has done long flights over water previously, locating a small island in a huge ocean is a lot riskier than aiming for a continent, so she says she will be taking every possible precaution. She will use four means of navigation : Dead reckoning, which is estimating one's position based on heading and speed ; radio bearings from ships at sea and shore stations ; a radio directional finder ; and celestial navigation, calculating one's position based on the stars.
Her present project is a logical progression of her career in flying. As she explains it :
"Pilots are always dreaming dreams, I think. After being just a passenger on the Atlantic flight of 1928, I wanted to duplicate the crossing alone in my own plane. I pursued the dream of a solo flight for four years before it became a reality in 1932. One ocean naturally led to another and two years later, through hard work and planning and generous help, the opportunity came to try the Pacific.
"One day last summer President Edward C. Elliott [of Purdue University] asked my husband what most interested me beyond immediate academic matters. Mr. Putnam, a practicing believer in wives doing what they do best is an approving and helpful partner in all my projects. So he divulged my suppressed pilot's yearning for a bigger and better airplane."
Once this most advanced airplane, a Lockheed Electra 10-E, was financed and outfitted for her by Purdue, and then combined with her desire to do more pioneering work in aviation, this ultimate-distance light was the inevitable result.
Today is a great day for both aviation and women's rights. As an active member of the National Woman's Party and a strong supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment, Earhart's contributions to the struggle for equality for women have already been substantial, whether made on the ground or in the air, so we should all wish her the best of luck on this latest adventure !
March 18, 1970 : Just 48 hours after 46 women filed an E.E.O.C. complaint against Newsweek charging sexism, another and far more radical action took place today against a second mainstream media giant. "Never underestimate the power of a woman" is the motto of the Ladies Home Journal, so when over 100 women occupied its offices today demanding a more relevant and liberated publication, there was clear confirmation of that old saying.
Initially planned by Media Women, whose Ladies Home Journal Sit-In Committee is chaired by Signe Hammer, the siege began at 9:15 this morning when Media Women was joined by members of Redstockings, the West Village-One consciousness-raising group, New York Radical Feminists, Older Women's Liberation, the National Organization for Women and Barnard College students. Among the more well-known feminists present today : Susan Brownmiller, Ti-Grace Atkinson and Shulamith Firestone.
The action was called to protest L.H.J. articles that are "irrelevant, unstimulating and demeaning to the women of America." Bearing a banner that renamed the second-largest "women's magazine" in the U.S. "The Women's Liberated Journal," protesters quickly packed into editor John Mack Carter's office to present their arguments and demands. The demonstrators made concrete suggestions and even came with a mock-up for a cover and 20 pages of specific ideas for articles. As Carter looked on, their statement was read :
"We demand that the Ladies Home Journal hire a woman editor-in-chief who is in touch with women's real problems and needs. We demand that all editorial employees of the magazine be women. We demand that the magazine use women writers for all columns and freelance assignments because men speak to women through the bias of their male supremacist concepts. We demand that the magazine hire non-white women at all levels in proportion to the population statistics. We demand that all salaries immediately be raised to a minimum of $ 125 a week. We demand that editorial conferences be open to all employees so the magazine can benefit from everyone's experience and views.
"Since this magazine purports to serve the interests of mothers and housewives, we demand that the Journal provide free day care facilities on the premises for its employees' children, and that the policies of this day care center be determined by employees.
"We demand an end to the basic orientation of the Journal toward the concept of Kinder, Kuche & Kirche [children, kitchen and church] and a reorientation around the concept that both sexes are equally responsible for their own humanity.
"We demand that the magazine cease to further the exploitation of women by publishing advertisements that degrade women, and by publishing ads from companies that exploit women in terms of salary and job discrimination.
"We demand that the magazine cease to publish 'Can This Marriage Be Saved ?' and all contributions by Drs. Bruno Bettelheim and Theodore Rubin. We demand an end to all celebrity articles, all articles oriented toward the preservation of youth (implying that age has no graces of its own), and an end to all articles specifically tied in to advertising : e.g., food, make-up, fashion, appliances.
"We demand that service articles perform useful services : e.g., real information along the lines of Consumer Reports, telling whether consumer goods really work.
"We demand that the Journal publish fiction on the basis of its merits, not specially slanted, romantic stories glorifying women's traditional roles. The Women's Liberation Movement represents the feelings of a large and growing mass of women throughout the country. Therefore we demand that as an act of faith toward women in this country, the Ladies Home Journal turn over to the Women's Liberation Movement the editorial content of one issue of the magazine, to be named the Women's Liberated Journal. We further demand a monthly column."
It was a long, and trying day for all. But media coverage was good, and although there was a close call when Shulamith Firestone made a lunge at Carter, but was prevented from reaching her target by Karla Jay, it was peaceful. Finally, after 11 hours of confrontation and debate, Carter has now agreed to some demands, and the occupation is now ending. Among the things he has endorsed are day care programs for the employees, editorial training programs for women, and a special section on Women's Liberation in the August issue.
March 19, 1937 : Dozens more women were arrested today both inside and outside the 34 West 14th Street Woolworth store in Manhattan on this third day of their strike. The strikers, members of Local 1250 of the Department Store Employees Union, American Federation of Labor, are seeking a 40-hour week for $ 20 pay, and company recognition of their union.
The battle began day before yesterday at 11 a.m., when organizers blew whistles as a prearranged signal, and 50 of the 100 women at the counters stopped work and began a "sit-down strike." This is a new and effective tactic pioneered by United Auto Workers at the General Motors plant in Flint, Michigan, back on December 30th. Instead of walking out and being replaced, they sat at their work stations and stopped production.
By 6 p.m., Woolworth's management had posted private guards at all entrances to keep any supplies from reaching those inside. But at 1 a.m. the next morning, 100 pickets suddenly climbed onto a ledge, opened some windows and began passing in cots, blankets, oranges, butter and other food items to their colleagues. Management's attempt to isolate the workers had failed, and after business had been disrupted for the day by pickets stationed at entrances and by strikers in the store, they called in the police at 7 p.m. Fifty-nine strikers were arrested and dragged off to patrol wagons as the store was cleared.
Today an attempt was made to replace the strikers, with management escorting 40 women into the store at 9 a.m. But to their surprise, many of the women folded their arms and refused to wait on customers. The women were then given three choices by the store manager : Work, leave, or be arrested. Most ignored him, and all who stayed were arrested. At 10:00 an attempt was made by other strikers to re-take the store, with 41 arrests resulting.
The strikes at a number of Woolworth stores, and those of the H. L. Green Company as well, have become sufficiently disruptive that Mayor La Guardia sent telegrams today to both sides volunteering to mediate the dispute after a three-hour conference between union representatives and company officials produced no results. Protests outside the store will continue. Expressions of public support for the strikers are appreciated, and will help them win their demands.
March 20, 1937 : Amelia Earhart's skill as a pilot prevented a potentially fatal disaster today during her unsuccessful attempt to fly to Howland Island, the second stop on her around-the-world flight. But despite the setback, she immediately assured everyone that once her plane is repaired, she will be airborne again. She was barreling down the runway at Hawaii's Luke Field at 7:30 this morning, when as she calmly put it later : "Something went wrong."
Though the crash took place near the end of the long runway, far from those who witnessed it, there is speculation that the plane first began to sway under the sloshing of its heavy load of fuel for the long flight, then a tire blew out about the time it hit a wet patch of grass. The convergence of these events caused the plane to veer, and as a wing began to dip precariously, Earhart adjusted the throttles to try to level the ship. For a second it looked as if she had succeeded. But the swaying caused by the shifting fuel increased, became too much, and when the weight of the plane rested on a single landing gear, it gave way. A wing slashed into the ground, spinning the ship as it skidded along the runway. Only her quick cutting of the ignition switches kept a fire from breaking out that would have been fed by 900 gallons of gasoline easily capable of instantly engulfing the aircraft and its passengers.
There was great praise for her courage and skill among the Army officers who witnessed the attempted takeoff. "I never saw anyone with cooler nerve," said General Barton Yount, commander of Hickam Field.
This was actually her second near-disaster during the two flying days of the trip. Though she set a record for the fastest crossing from Oakland, California to Hawaii of 15 hours, 51 and a half minutes, it was found upon landing that the propeller bearings were almost dry. Had this not been discovered, and this morning's takeoff been successful, she and her crew might have been forced down at sea somewhere between Hawaii and Howland, over 1900 miles away, and never heard from again.
Her "Flying Laboratory" is presently being dismantled, and will be sent by ship back to the Lockheed factory in Burbank, California, where it will be fully and expertly repaired. Wasting no time, she and her crew, Harry Manning, Paul Mantz and Fred Noonan, boarded the "Malolo" at 11:30 this morning and are already heading back to the mainland, planning their next attempt to be the first aviators to circumnavigate the world via the Equatorial route. "This action means postponement only. It is my full intention to go ahead with the adventure as soon as possible," she said earlier today.
March 21, 1938 : Jubilation today among Equal Rights Amendment supporters when after an almost 15-year struggle, the E.R.A. has now been reported to a branch of Congress for the first time. The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 9 to 9 - a tie being sufficient - to report Senate Joint Resolution 65 to the full Senate for action. It reads : "Men and women shall have equal rights throughout the United States and every place subject to its jurisdiction."
Written by Alice Paul, the E.R.A. was first introduced into Congress on December 10, 1923, sponsored by two Kansas Republicans : Representative Daniel Read Anthony, a nephew of Susan B. Anthony, and Senator Charles Curtis. It has been the subject of hearings since February 6, 1924.
Over the years, the National Woman's Party has eloquently testified in the amendment's favor, and though alone at first, it has now been joined by many other groups. Today, the amendment's supporters include the National Association of Women Lawyers, the National Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs, and the American Federation of Soroptimists.
When celebrating today's victory, Sarah Pell, head of the National Woman's Party, said of the nine Senators : "In every crucial period of history, there are those of clear vision who balance the scales in favor of justice and who stand for fundamental principles such as the Equal Rights Amendment."
Democratic National Committee member Emma Guffey Miller, who coordinated the proponents' testimony at the recent hearings, said :
"Of course I am glad that the amendment is now before the Senate. It is the first time the full Committee of the Judiciary has acted on it. I realize that reactionary forces and the old prejudice of the Dark Ages against equal rights between men and women are still abroad in the land, and it is significant that there are nine members of the committee who are convinced of its justice."
Senator Edward R. Burke, Democrat of Nebraska, whose Judiciary Subcommittee reported the amendment to the full Judiciary Committee last June 23rd, said : "I have become even more firmly convinced than I was at the start that this is an essential amendment to the United States Constitution."
With ominous events such as Germany's annexation of Austria nine days ago, and our nation's growing need for preparedness in mind, Burke noted an additional reason to support the E.R.A. : "In view of the troubled condition elsewhere in the world it seems to me that in the United States we should call on all the resources of our country, men and women alike."
Though it's clearly a long journey from a Senate committee report to a 2/3 supermajority of both houses of Congress and ratification by 36 of the 48 States, today's vote is a major and crucial step toward the goal of making the E.R.A. the 22nd Amendment to the United States Constitution, and achieving the goal of equality for women set forth at Seneca Falls 90 years ago.
March 22, 1972 : Full legal equality for women and men, once considered among the most radical of ideas, has now received the overwhelming endorsement of both Houses of Congress in the form of an Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution :
Section 1 : "Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex." Section 2 : "The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article." Section 3 : "This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification."
Following a vote of 354-23 last October 12th in the House, and an 84-8 Senate vote today, the measure now goes to the state legislatures, where 38 out of 50 must ratify by March 22, 1979. Hawaii took the honor of being first, just 32 minutes after the Senate vote, and ratified unanimously.
Here in Washington, D.C., there was a great celebration in the Senate galleries, despite visitors being told beforehand that such outbursts would not be permitted. Rep. Martha Griffiths (D-MI), who two years ago used a rare parliamentary maneuver to dislodge the E.R.A. from the House Judiciary Committee where it had been bottled up since 1949 by its Chair, Rep. Emanuel Celler (D-NY), was permitted to be present on the floor for the Senate vote, as was Rep. Bella S. Abzug (D-NY).
Senator Sam Ervin (D-NC), who has almost single-handedly blocked Senate action on the E.R.A. for years as Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, led the opposition during four days of heated debate. He made numerous attempts to weaken it, but support for the amendment in its "pure" form was so strong that none of his "riders" got more than the 18 votes for his proposal to exempt women from the draft, should it ever resume.
Much of the credit for today's victory goes to intense lobbying by groups such as the National Organization for Women, the National Women's Political Caucus and National Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs, plus, of course, Alice Paul and the National Woman's Party. It was the N.W.P. who officially kicked off the drive for the E.R.A. in 1923, while commemorating the 75th anniversary of the 1848 Seneca Falls convention. After the last champagne is sipped at tonight's celebrations, the hard work of gaining 37 more ratifications will begin.
March 23, 1895 : The plight of women and girls who work in New York City's dry goods stores was the subject of compelling testimony at a hearing today. Members of the New York State Assembly heard detailed accounts of oppressive working conditions, but also learned of measures being implemented by women determined to improve them.
Alice Woodbridge was an early witness who testified that : "It is nothing unusual for the girls to work from ten to sixteen hours a day." When asked if she could name specific stores in which this was the practice, she said it was customary in all stores, except for three : Arnold & Constable, B. Altman & Co. and Lord & Taylor.
Woodbridge said the pay is as deplorable as the hours : "The average wages of women in dry goods stores of this city is $ 4.50 a week." For "cash girls," (Who carry change and parcels and act as floor messengers) the average wage is $ 1.50 a week. Even some of the saleswomen at Macy's get only $ 2.00 a week, a store which also compels employees to take unpaid vacations.
Dr. Jane Robbins has many patients who are "cash girls" and they complain not only about wages and hours but about the way they are treated in large retail stores. The older ones say the small ones are also subject to "corruption" by male employees. The details of this practice, and where it occurs, were not described in public, but Dr. Robbins said this will be discussed privately with the head of the committee later.
Dr. Robbins described one patient, "under fourteen years of age, who is slowly murdered by overwork in a 14th Street dry goods store. But it takes a long time to kill a little girl who comes of good stock .... I could show you a great many children in this city who ought to be playing tag, but who are in charge of counters in retail dry goods stores at $ 2 a week." She would like to see employment of girls under 14 banned, and endorsed an extension of the factory law. The worst-paid and hardest-working girls Dr. Robbins sees are employed in flower factories, where they must run up and down stairs all day for one dollar a week.
Another witness was Josephine Shaw Lowell, President of the Consumers' League. Her organization has compiled a list of firms who practice what they call the "standard of a fair house," and whom their members will patronize. Among the things that Lowell has done recently is to make the rounds of stores at various times of the day to see if the law that mandates seats for women employees is being implemented.
At some stores there were no places to sit at all, and the managers stated quite frankly that they had no intention of complying with the law. Another witness corroborated this attitude. When she complained to the manager that he provided no seats, she was told : "This is a business house and not a hospital." The manager did finally agree to put a couple of seats at the side counters, but they were mainly used to stand on when the women reached for the shelves. Even in the stores where there were a number of seats, such as Macy's, virtually none were being used, even during times of the day when business was slack, so women were clearly discouraged or prohibited from using them.
Thanks to activist women like Woodbridge, Robbins and Lowell, organizations like the Consumer's League, and unions, it is hoped that working conditions will improve over time. The Consumers' League traces its origin to 1888 when Leonora O'Reilly asked Josephine Shaw Lowell to work with the New York Working Women's Society to improve conditions for the city's female workers. Five years ago the League was formally organized and circulated their first "White List" of companies with fair employment practices.
March 24, 1919 : Though celebrating its Golden Jubilee tonight, the National American Woman Suffrage Association looked forward rather than back. While honoring the founders of the National Woman Suffrage Association and American Woman Suffrage Association for their pioneering work 50 years ago, and whose groups merged into NAWSA in 1890, most of the day’s attention was happily focused on what to do after national woman suffrage is finally achieved.
The most controversial idea was suggested by NAWSA president Carrie Chapman Catt. She envisions her present group being succeeded by a kind of alliance or league of women voters that will be a non-partisan organization in which former suffragists will band together for an initial “enlistment” of five years and use their influence to bring about legislation that will better the nation.
She outlined three priorities for her proposed group : First, to finish the job of enfranchising women here in the U.S., then to aid the women of other countries in their struggle for suffrage. Second, to remove all remaining traces of bias against women in the legal codes. Third, to stabilize democracy in our country, and “to make our democracy so safe that every citizen may feel secure, and great men will acknowledge the worthiness of the American Republic to lead.”
The “non-partisan” aspect evoked the skepticism of Elizabeth Bass, the Democratic Party’s most prominent woman, and an active suffragist for many years. She attacked the idea as impractical, because the women of the West had already been voting for some time and were well embedded in the political parties. Another opponent expressed the opinion that parties were the only logical way of getting anything done.
One other controversy briefly bubbled up today as well. A New York paper reported that what Catt was actually planning was the formation of a new woman’s political party to help women run for office, something already done by the rival National Woman’s Party. A secret session was held with senior officers at which Catt is reported to have strongly denied this allegation.
March 24, 1972 : According to a poll released today, American women are becoming much more supportive of the feminist movement and its goals, though many still remain skeptical. Just a year ago, women who were surveyed for the Virginia Slims Women's Opinion Poll by Louis Harris and Associates opposed efforts "to strengthen and change women's status in society today" by 42% to 40%. But in this year's Virginia Slims survey, Harris found support has increased dramatically, with 48% in favor and just 36% opposed.
Though the women's rights groups responsible for this changing of consciousness are not yet supported by a majority of women, opposition has decreased significantly. Last year 51% thought "few or none of these organizations" were helpful, while 34% thought they were. This year, 43% find them useful and 44% do not, with the 1% gap being well within the poll's margin of error.
Of course, there are still attitudes that need to be changed, especially in regard to women in politics. Sixty-three percent of women think men are more emotionally suited for politics, though seventy-four percent think women in public office can be as logical and rational as men. If given a choice between a male and female candidate with identical qualifications and views, about 40% of women would be more likely to vote for the male candidate, while only 17% would prefer the female, and 37% say that a candidate's gender would make no difference.
But political inequality is now being noticed, and hopefully will be challenged. By 40% to 34%, those surveyed thought there were too few women delegates to the Presidential nominating conventions, and 32% think half the delegates should be women. As for attaining the Presidency itself, 27% think the country will never be ready to elect a female President, but 37% think it will happen in the next ten years.
According to Harris, women's political views will become increasingly decisive, especially if they vote differently from men. Women voters almost tipped the 1968 election to Hubert Humphrey, and would have done so if they had cast a majority of the votes. In that election, 46% of women voted for Democrat Hubert Humphrey, 43% for Republican Richard Nixon and 11% for American Independent Party candidate George Wallace. Forty-four percent of men voted for Nixon, forty percent for Humphrey, and sixteen per cent for Wallace. At a press conference yesterday, Harris said : "There is every chance that women will pass the 50% mark in 1972," and "it is entirely likely that women will continue to be a majority of the voting constituency for the rest of the century."
According to the pollsters : "A feminist 'pro-change' constituency is solidifying among specific groups of women. The most conspicuous increases in support for efforts to change women's status have occurred among women who are single (from 53% last year to the present 67%), in the 18-29 age group (from 46% to 56%), college graduates (from 44% to 57%), and suburban residents (from 41% to 51%). Strong support for status-changing efforts persists among Blacks (62%), the divorced and separated (57%) and city residents (52%). Strongest opposition to change is found among women who are widows, over 40 and residents of rural areas. But, even among these groups, opposition to feminist ideas is diminishing."
Among the more encouraging signs the survey found were that 48% of women now agree that "it's time they protested the real injustices they've faced for years," with 43% disagreeing. Last year 52% rejected this view, and only 38% supported it. But actual protesting seems to still be unpopular. Any question that involved the word "liberation," "picket," or "protest" drew unsympathetic responses, with only about a third favoring protests and picketing as a way to win equality, though this would still represent tens of millions of women who could potentially be recruited for actions.
The pollsters concluded their survey results with an optimistic prediction which validates the impression that feminists have made a good deal of progress, and that there will be more to come if we continue our efforts :
"It is highly probable that women of the future will have vastly different pictures of themselves from women of today. According to the Virginia Slims study, younger women are rejecting many cherished stereotypes of their sex and frequently express opinions and life-style preferences quite different from older women."
March 25, 1942 : It was officially confirmed today that twenty-five of America's best women pilots are going to Britain to help with the Allied war effort. After learning that our Army Air Forces had no immediate plans to use women, Jacqueline Cochran began recruiting women pilots about six weeks ago for duty in the British Air Transport Auxiliary. According to Air Commodore H. R. Thornton, the women will ferry light aircraft from factories to the field after first going to Canada for physical examinations, training and flight tests.
Though Americans are quite supportive of our British allies, today's move is controversial because experienced pilots will be needed here to train new pilots for our own rapidly expanding war effort. But a number of qualified women pilots will remain in the U.S. in order to do training if called on to do so. In America, women pilots can currently serve only in the Civil Air Patrol and as instructors.
Cochran learned to fly in three weeks, earned her pilot's license in 1932, and has been flying competitively since 1934. In 1938 she became the first woman to win the prestigious Bendix Transcontinental Air Race. On September 28, 1940, just over a year after the war began in Europe, she wrote to First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt suggesting the establishment of a women's flying division of what was then the Army Air Corps. Last June she proved that women could perform useful tasks in military aviation by becoming the first woman to fly a bomber across the Atlantic.
March 26, 1878 : A large audience was in attendance earlier this evening in New York's Union League lecture room for a meeting called by the Association for the Advancement of the Medical Education of Women. This new organization would like to increase the quality of education women physicians in the U.S. receive.
As of the most recent Census in 1870, there were only 525 women physicians in the country, with just 137 enrolled in medical schools at the time. Though both figures have undoubtedly increased in the past eight years, and there are clear signs of progress, such as Dr. Sarah Hackett Stevenson's becoming the first woman admitted to the American Medical Association two years ago, women are still far too few in number, and have too little influence in the profession.
According to former Representative Robert B. Roosevelt, Democrat of New York, one of the reasons that women are discriminated against by the public is that it is thought they do not have the same degree of education as male physicians, so the purpose of the new organization is to assure that women have the same opportunities and training as men. Though Roosevelt believes some of women's health problems can be blamed on mountains of head gear, thin-soled shoes and shape-destroying corsets, he thinks most of women's ill-health in the U.S. can be blamed on a lack of female physicians with whom they might feel more comfortable, and be more open and honest about their ailments.
The next speaker was Dr. Emily Blackwell, the third woman to earn a medical degree in the U.S., who reviewed the history of women physicians here. Her sister, Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, got her training at New York's Geneva Medical College, where upon graduation in 1849, she became the first woman to earn a medical degree in the U.S. (Despite her graduating at the top of her class, the college ended its "experiment" and began admitting only men again.)
After Elizabeth applied for a position at a dispensary and was refused, she, her sister Emily, and Marie Zakrzewska established a small twelve-bed women's hospital, now known as the New York Infirmary. By this time there were two or three small medical colleges for women, but no facilities for clinical training, and their infirmary filled this need. Some of those who trained there went on to found the three largest women's hospitals in the country. In 1868, Elizabeth Blackwell founded the Women's Medical College, adjacent to her New York Infirmary.
Though some wonder whether women who graduate from medical schools will use the learning they have acquired, a look at the history of those first W.M.C. graduates should dispel any doubt. Most of the 46 are still in the profession : 6 are wives of physicians and in practice with their husbands ; four are in practice with their fathers ; five are missionaries, one of whom has established a hospital for women in Eastern Asia ; seven are now studying at universities in Europe ; two have passed examinations for hospital appointment, and one is a member of Mount Sinai's medical staff.
According to Dr. Dorman P. Eaton, the new society to advance the medical education of women is not the first such organization. There was one formed in Boston in 1848, and another in Philadelphia in 1850. But this one should have much greater success, because times have changed, and there is greater acceptance of women in medicine now. Women have been admitted to many prestigious medical schools in Europe, and the battle for acceptance in New York is virtually over. But there is still a long way to go in other parts of the country, and so those who believe in equality for women - in medicine and elsewhere - must continue to work toward that goal until it is achieved.
March 27, 1922 : In a show of solidarity not seen since winning the battle for Statewide suffrage four and a half years ago, local women are protesting tonight's first attempt to enforce a New York City law passed on March 14th which now bans women - but not men - from smoking in public places.
Mary Garrett Hay, a non-smoker, veteran of the suffrage movement and presently head of the New York City League of Women Voters, expressed the view of many feminists that the issue is not smoking, but male legislators imposing restrictions on women only : "If they are telling the women they must not smoke in public they should tell the men not to also. It is perfectly ridiculous. Women should not be discriminated against in any way."
Ruth Hale, who last year founded the Lucy Stone League, which fights for the right of married women to use their birth names, thought this law might be a follow-up to alcohol prohibition, but : "You may be sure there will be strenuous resentment on the part of women generally. They can be counted on to mobilize to fight such an ordinance. Members of women's clubs, political leaders, women who do things and women who don't, most certainly will join forces to resist any such infringement on their liberties."
At the "T.N.T. Tea Room" in Greenwich Village, plans are under active consideration to send groups of women smokers to various places in the city to disobey the ordinance as a protest, as well as to see if it is being enforced in all areas equally.
As to the reason why such an ordinance would be sought, its author, Alderman McGuinness, explained his concerns at the time of the bill's introduction :
"The morals of our young girls are menaced by this cigarette smoking .... young fellows go into our restaurants to find women folks sucking cigarettes. What happens ? The young fellows lose all respect for women and the next thing you know the young fellows, vampired by these smoking women, desert their homes, their wives and children, rob their employers and even commit murder so that they can get money to lavish on these smoking women. It's all wrong and I say it's got to stop."
The new law is identical to the Sullivan Ordinance, passed by the New York Board of Aldermen on January 21, 1908. It, too, banned women from smoking in public places by punishing owners of establishments that allowed it with fines up to $ 25 and imprisonment of up to 10 days. The 1908 law was vetoed by the mayor soon after its passage, however.
March 28, 1931 : Efforts by the National Woman's Party to fight bias against women in the workforce - something which has been escalating since the current Depression began - have now gotten some support from a few of the nation's governors. Today's announcement at National Woman's Party headquarters was a rare, encouraging development in the midst of increasing attacks on employed women, especially those who are married. One major offensive in that war on working women was launched by the Cotton-Textile Institute last year when they urged all of their mill executives to stop employing women for night work as of March 1, 1931. On that day, it was announced that 83% of the industry had complied.
Telegrams were then sent by the N.W.P. to the governors of all 48 States saying :
"National Woman's Party calls your attention to nationwide effort to throw women out of night work and otherwise handicap them by legislation or regulation restricting their conditions of labor but not those of their men competitors. We urge you to oppose every such effort in your own State. Women work because of necessity and should have equal opportunity with men to get and hold a job."
Several governors, including those of Florida, Virginia and New Mexico, have now pledged themselves to oppose any kind of legislation based on sex rather than the nature of the work. Unfortunately, most are still non-committal. A typical response came from Governor Philip LaFollette of Wisconsin, who replied : "Thank you for your telegram of today. I appreciate your suggestions and assure you that they will have my careful consideration."
In 1921, Wisconsin became the first State to pass an amendment to its Constitution assuring women equal rights. However, it exempted laws that give women "special protection and privileges," and thus is not a true Equal Rights Amendment, and cannot be used to challenge labor laws that restrict the jobs women can do or the hours the can work, because these regulations are considered by some to be "protective."
Laws and individual company practices restricting women's employment clearly predate the current economic crisis, but have been on the increase recently as a way of trying to give more work to unemployed and underemployed men. In 1924, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the right of States to prohibit women from working after certain hours. In the case of Radice v. New York (264 U.S. 292), the High Court held that it was constitutional to prohibit women from working in restaurants between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. in large cities because the loss of a restful night's sleep was more harmful to women than men due to a woman's "more delicate organism."
The National Woman's Party has been fighting these kinds of stereotypes and restrictions for many years, and launched a major campaign on December 26, 1927, to equalize New York State's labor laws. Though restrictive legislation is often called "protective," a member of the Women's Press Club disagreed with that description a year ago when testifying at hearings before the New York State Senate and Assembly Committees on Labor and Industry. Ida Slack said : "We are being 'protected' in this matter by the very same influences that 'protected' us against the suffrage, a college education and a place in the professions."
As economic conditions continue to deteriorate, the "fire a woman / hire a man" philosophy is becoming even more widespread, with women's rights advocates valiantly fighting an uphill battle against those who discriminate against women in general and married women in particular. But as Anna Kelton Wiley noted in September, when launching the N.W.P.'s latest campaign for workplace equality, this strategy cannot be a real solution to the current crisis :
"It is ridiculous to attempt to solve the unemployment problem by taking work away from one group and giving it to another, for that will not decrease the number of unemployed. The theory that women work for 'pin money' was long ago exploded. They work for the same reason men work, and that reason is economic necessity. Studies made in the United States reveal that as between single men and single women who are gainfully employed, women contribute in larger proportion than men do to the support of dependent relatives."
Hopefully, efforts by groups like the National Woman's Party will allow reason, equality and justice to eventually prevail despite the trying economic challenges we face today, and will undoubtedly have to endure for some time to come.
March 29, 1875 : The Supreme Court ruled today that American women are "persons" and "citizens," but not persons or citizens entitled to vote by virtue of the 14th Amendment. The ruling in Minor v. Happersett (88 U.S. 162), could have ended the 27-year struggle for woman suffrage had it been decided differently. But though disappointed, suffragists are not discouraged or defeated.
Virginia Minor, the plaintiff, certainly has no intention of giving up her struggle. She has been an active suffragist since founding the Woman Suffrage Association of Missouri eight years ago. After the 14th Amendment was ratified on July 9, 1868, she decided that the best and quickest route to national woman suffrage was to bring a case under its provisions, noting in 1869 that : "The Constitution of the United States gives me every right and privilege to which every other citizen is entitled."
Casting a ballot seemed the most obvious right or privilege of citizenship, but the Missouri Constitution ordains that only "Every male citizen of the United States shall be entitled to vote." A test case was clearly in order, so on October 15, 1872, Minor went to register to vote for the November 5th Presidential election. Registrar Reese Happersett turned her down solely on account of her sex.
After losing in the trial court, then the Missouri Supreme Court, Minor finally appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, where it was argued that : "There can be no half-way citizenship. Woman, as a citizen of the United States, is entitled to all the benefits of that position, and liable to all of its obligations, or to none."
But the High Court ruled that " ... the Constitution of the United States does not confer the right of suffrage upon any one" so it could not confer it on women. There was no doubt that women were both persons and citizens, and always had been. But though the 14th Amendment says : "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges and immunities of citizens of the United States," the Constitution does not define what the privileges and immunities of U.S. citizens are. They have to be inferred.
The Court's view is that history shows voting is not a privilege of U.S. citizenship bestowed by the United States Government. It has always been conferred by the individual States, each of which has its own rules, such as age, length of residency, property requirements - and sex - regarding which of its citizens may vote. In no State have all citizens had an automatic right to vote, so U.S. citizenship and suffrage have never been identical. Therefore women - and other groups of citizens - can be denied a right to vote by their States, unless the Constitution specifically says otherwise.
But even in their rejection of the 14th Amendment argument, the Justices have shown some sympathy for the suffrage movement. In the ruling, Chief Justice Morrison Waite said : "Our province is to decide what the law is, not to declare what it should be ...If the law is wrong it ought to be changed ... No argument as to woman's need of suffrage can be considered. We can only act upon her rights as they exist. It is not for us to look at the hardship of withholding. Our duty is at an end if we find it is within the power of a State to withhold."
Despite today's setback, the battle will go on. Women already vote in the Territories of Wyoming and Utah, and whether national suffrage is achieved on a State-by-State basis or by a Constitutional Amendment, laws barring women from the polls ARE wrong and WILL be changed.
March 30, 1970 : A frustratingly close near-win for abortion rights advocates today, as the New York State Assembly came within just a few votes of passing a bill that would replace the state's 140-year-old law, which makes abortion for any reason except to save the life of the woman a criminal offense, with a law that would make it strictly a matter between a woman and her doctor through the 24th week of pregnancy. But due to a questionable parliamentary maneuver, the old law still remains on the books.
After the State Senate passed a liberalization bill last week, 30-26, it looked as if it might get a 76-vote majority in the 150-member Assembly as well, and that Democratic Assembly Member Albert H. Blumenthal's campaign for abortion reform might finally meet with success in its fourth year. Republican Assembly Speaker Perry B. Duryea had even announced that if 75 votes were cast in favor and 75 against, and he would then be allowed to cast the tie-breaking vote, he would support the measure.
But today, after an emotional eight-hour debate and roll call vote, Duryea declared that "absentee votes" (those cast by members who left the chamber before the roll call) would not be counted. This was a departure from his usual custom of allowing any legislators who had listened to the full debate to record their votes with the clerk, then leave the floor. Duryea's ruling dropped the number of votes in favor of the bill from 75 to 73 and caused it to fail.
After the vote, Republican Assembly Member Constance Cook, one of only four women in the Assembly, said she would try to get the measure reconsidered next week. During the debate, Cook spoke on the issue of "abortion on demand" :
"I submit to you, we are not considering here today abortion on demand - we have that already. The only question is how abortions are to be had. Right now if you have $ 25 you get an abortion in the back alley under the most abominable conditions, but if you have $ 2,500 then you can go elsewhere and get a proper abortion. I hope we, in our debate, never lose sight of that fact. We now have abortion on demand ... and what we are here to do is put the illegal abortionist out of business."
Over the past three years, many states have liberalized the anti-abortion laws they had passed in the 19th Century : Colorado, California and North Carolina in 1967, Georgia and Maryland in 1968, with Arkansas, Kansas, Delaware, Oregon and New Mexico following suit last year. So despite this setback, the momentum is clearly with supporters of reform. Hopefully, the goal of providing both reproductive choice and quality care to women will soon be fulfilled, not just in New York, but nationwide, with re-legalization.
March 31, 1915 : Today, Alice Paul's "Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage" became a national organization, adopted a constitution, and launched a suffrage campaign that puts it into direct competition with another effort by the more conservative National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA).
The result of the all-day meeting of the Congressional Union's Advisory Council makes it clear that there are two very different philosophies among national suffrage groups in regard to attaining their common goal of nationwide woman suffrage. But the willingness to work for that goal is reassuringly high in both groups.
The Congressional Union was formed two years ago by Alice Paul as a local Washington, D.C. organization to help support NAWSA's Congressional Committee, which she led at the time. Congressional Union activists have always taken a more aggressive approach to the suffrage battle than NAWSA officers felt advisable. The C.U. has engaged in activities ranging from colorful parades, motorcades and other spectacles to public confrontations with Democratic Party candidates over their party's failure to use their majority status in Congress to pass a nationwide suffrage amendment.
Though both NAWSA and the C.U. have the same goal of enfranchising women nationwide, NAWSA still favors a State-by-State approach, while the C.U. sees a Federal amendment as the only realistic solution. The primary goal of the new organization is to pass the Susan B. Anthony (nationwide woman suffrage) Amendment, sometimes called the Bristow-Mondell Amendment after its current sponsors in Congress. If approved by 2/3 of both Houses of Congress and ratified by 3/4 of the States, it would immediately enfranchise women in every State on the same basis as men.
NAWSA favors State campaigns, and currently endorses the Shafroth-Palmer Amendment, which if it became part of the Constitution would mandate a State referendum on woman suffrage if 8% of the registered voters of a State signed petitions requesting it. It would obviously be less controversial, and therefore easier to get Congress to pass, and the States to ratify, but would directly enfranchise no one. NAWSA sees nationwide suffrage coming about only after women have won the vote in a large number of States, and have enough power to directly influence members of Congress.
As might be expected, relations between the two rival groups have not been cordial since Alice Paul was ousted from leading NAWSA's Congressional Committee after refusing their demand that she resign from the Congressional Union. An attempt at reconciliation in early 1914 failed, and the two organizations have been engaging in a kind of "family feud" ever since. NAWSA has referred to the C.U. as an "unruly child" for its work against Democrats during last year's midterm elections. (Democrats have the Presidency, and control both House and Senate, but have failed to advance the Anthony Amendment. Like the British militants, Alice Paul believes that the party in power should be held responsible for keeping women disenfranchised.)
Today NAWSA, gearing up for a campaign to pass a suffrage referendum in New York State in November, issued a scathing letter signed by Katharine Dexter McCormick, NAWSA Vice President, denouncing C.U.'s actions :
"The officers of the National American Woman Suffrage Association agree with Mrs. Carrie Chapman Catt and Mrs. Harriot Stanton Blatch that this is not the time nor is New York the place for reopening of the discussion as to the best way to bring about a Federal amendment for suffrage.
"It would have shown more imagination, more consideration from the women in New York, had the conference, with its appeal for funds and help, been held in some other State, but perhaps that is asking too much of an organization which is interested only in Federal suffrage. We see, usually, only what we are interested in.
"But I do want to say, in all generosity, that the Congressional Union is to be heartily congratulated on giving up its policy of attacking the Democratic Party as the sole obstacle to suffrage. This was a short-sighted policy which we all deplored. It was based upon a romantic desire to imitate English tactics rather than upon a realization of the political situation in this country. We are glad to learn that the union has abandoned it, and we only wish that step had been taken before the union's policy had misled and antagonized thousands of Democratic voters last Fall in Nebraska, Ohio, Missouri, and the two Dakotas."
In response, Lucy Burns advised fellow C.U. members who might still be in NAWSA to resign and stop supporting it in any way as long as NAWSA favors the Shafroth-Palmer Amendment.
After a vigorous discussion, it was decided that the new group's membership will be composed of women only, though men are welcome at the meetings, and the work of Marsden J. Perry, in attendance today, was praised. The main work of the day was planning how to expand the group's presence into every State, though no Congressional Union meeting would be complete without a discussion of plans for some massive public event. The one presently being planned is the Susan B. Anthony Pageant, scheduled for just before the opening of the next Congress, and it is hoped this will be the biggest suffrage event ever staged.
Despite the obvious friction between the two suffrage groups, the movement is now more powerful than it has ever been, and all suffragists are united and committed to the goal of "Votes for Women" everywhere. And though the "how" and "when" of victory cannot be predicted, a major step in that direction was taken today.