Lafayette Square circa 1918

Title

Lafayette Square circa 1918

Description

The National Woman’s Party had its headquarters on Lafayette Square, equidistant from the White House and St. John’s Episcopal Church.

August 6, 1918 protest thread.

A few months after the Woman’s Party moved into its building, Congress passed the Sedition Act of 1918, making it illegal to “willfully utter, print, write, or publish any disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language about the form of the Government of the United States.”

The National Woman’s Party planned its next protest for maximum impact. I’ll let @tinacassidy2 describe it:

“At half past noon, one hundred suffragists emerged from headquarters and fell into single-line formation, carrying purple, gold, and white banners. J

“Crowds cheered and saluted as Hazel Hunkins, holding a US flag, led the group across the park toward the eponymous bronze statue of France’s Marquis de Lafayette.

At the statue, on the corner closest to the east gate of the White House, two women stood on the pedestal and held their banners so President Wilson might see them.”

One banner said: HOW LONG MUST WOMEN WAIT FOR LIBERTY?

The other: WE PROTEST AGAINST THE CONTINUED DISENFRANCHISEMENT OF AMERICAN WOMEN, FOR WHICH THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES IS RESPONSIBLE.

WE CONDEMN THE PRESIDENT AND HIS PARTY FOR ALLOWING THE OBSTRUCTION OF SUFFRAGE IN THE SENATE. WE DEPLORE THE WEAKNESS OF PRESIDENT WILSON IN PERMITTING THE SENATE TO LINE ITSELF WITH THE PRUSSIAN REICHSTAG BY DENYING DEMOCRACY TO THE PEOPLE.

WE DEMAND THAT THE PRESIDENT & HIS PARTY SECURE THE PASSAGE OF THE SUFFRAGE AMENDMENT THROUGH THE SENATE IN THE PRESENT SESSION.

Dora Lewis spoke first. ‘We are here because when our country is at war for liberty and democracy--’ She was arrested before finishing the sentence.

Hazel Hunkins spoke: “Here, at the statue of Lafayette, who fought for the liberty of this country, and under the American flag, I am asking for the enfranchisement of American women!” She was arrested next.

48 women were arrested that afternoon in Lafayette Square. #Suffrage100




@elbgwn Generally, all US activists used the term suffragist. Suffragette developed in the UK to distinguish radical activists from the staid old-timers. It was initially derisive, but they adopted it proudly. Suffragette was rarely used in the US; it's often used now, inaccurately. 

Creator

Daily Suffragist

Date

02/06/2020

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Citation

Daily Suffragist, “Lafayette Square circa 1918,” Daily Suffragist, accessed October 19, 2021, https://dailysuffragist.omeka.net/items/show/401.

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