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Monday, April 29, 2013

Do You Know Alice Paul? by Morgan Summerfield


If you are a woman, you should. Alice Paul was a feminist, suffragist, and political strategist, and helped to bring about some of the most relevant political achievements for women in the 20th century. She was born in 1885, to Quaker parents, which in itself speaks volumes. She was raised to believe in gender equality, working for the betterment of society, and staying in tune with nature.
She started Swarthmore College in 1901 graduating in 1905 with a degree in Biology. She went to Birmingham, England, in 1907 to study social work at the Woodbrook Settlement. While there, she joined a militant suffragette group and was incarcerated several times for breaking windows to draw attention to the cause of women.
On her return to America in 1910, she brought her newly found aggressive tactics and lit a fire under the women’s movement in this country. She was part of the organizing committee that had women marching up Pennsylvania Avenue as Woodrow Wilson was being inaugurated. The women were attacked while police looked on and did nothing. If one could say any good came out of this bad situation, it was the fact that it made headlines and elevated the cause of women to a national level.
Paul suffered more arrests and brutality along with her fellow suffragettes. When their mistreatment in prison found its way into the media, the public outcry caused President Wilson to reverse his position and announce his support for a suffrage amendment, calling it a "war measure." It was ratified in 1920. Women finally had the right to vote.
Acquiring three law degrees and still not satisfied with the limitations of the 19th amendment, believing it did not speak clearly enough to equality, Alice Paul penned what we know as the Equal Rights Amendment. "Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex." This amendment took years to find a life. In 1972, the Senate and the House of Representatives passed the amendment, and it went to the states for ratification. It still has not been ratified.
Alice Paul died on July 9, 1977, having devoted her life to the cause of equal rights for women. She was inducted, posthumously, into the National Women's Hall of Fame In 1979. This woman was a hero, and we all owe her much.
For more information on the ERA: http://www.equalrightsamendment.org/
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Morgan Summerfield grew up an avid reader and by her teens was a hobby writer. As an adult she has been a teacher, a technical writer, an instructional designer, a consultant, and a freelance writer. Her recently published first novel, Blood and Magnolias, was a dream fulfilled. In a recent contest, the characters in Blood and Magnolias were given a 5 out of 5 rating. When she is passionate about something, it shows. Beyond her writing, Morgan is a painter and works with a domestic violence shelter and education council.



2 comments:

  1. Amazing!! Thank, Morgan, for sharing this story!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Very cool! Thanks for sharing about this amazing woman:O)

    ReplyDelete

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