Recently, Patty and I toured the Minnesota History Center’s exhibit on World War I. It was very moving and very well done. The exhibit not only chronicled the events leading to war and the battles fought and the soldiers who fought them (especially those with a Minnesota connection), but it also focused on events in the home front during the conflict. These included the discrimination in and out of the service of African American soldiers, and the fight, on the home front, for women’s right to vote.
I have written previously of the crackdown on dissent, under the guise of national security, during the Great War. This crackdown on constitutional rights extended to suppression of women who sought to secure suffrage (the right to vote) during the war.
Ten Suffragists Arrested While Picketing at the White House
August 28, 1917
August 28, 1917
Women started parading in front of the White House for "woman suffrage," women's right to vote, during January 1917. On August 28 of that year, 10 suffragists were arrested. The women wanted President Woodrow Wilson to support the proposed Anthony amendment to the Constitution, which would guarantee women the right to vote. They started off standing silently, holding picket signs reading, "Mr. President, what will you do for Woman Suffrage?" and "How Long Must Women Wait for Liberty?" Riding through the White House gates, his wife by his side, President Wilson customarily tipped his hat to the protestors.
Between June and November 1917, 218 protestors from 26 states were arrested and charged with "obstructing sidewalk traffic" outside the White House gates. During that time, messages on the picket signs became more demanding. …
The leader of the National Woman's Party, Alice Paul, staged a hunger strike in jail after her arrest. Prison doctors [force-fed] her and others. With all the pressure from publicity generated by the White House pickets, the arrests and forced-feedings of women protestors, President Wilson finally lent his support to the suffrage amendment in January 1918. Congress approved it, and on August 18, 1920, with the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment, women achieved the right to vote. That date is now commemorated as Women's Equality Day.
It is hard to believe that women were so blatantly discriminated against in the 20th Century. Women still are, though they have the right to vote and many other rights guaranteed by statute and law.
October is National Domestic Violence Awareness month. While it is certainly true that men can be victims of domestic violence, it is indisputable that the vast majority of domestic violence victims are women. This is the most obvious example of gender discrimination and I will have more to say on that later this month.
 See the Blog entry for May 2.