On that night long ago, 33 women were thrown into the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia on a trumped-up charge of obstructing sidewalk traffic. The warden looked the other way while four guards wielding clubs beat the women; some so badly that they almost died.
Dora Lewis was tossed into a dark cell. Her head hit an iron bed and knocked her unconscious. The woman sharing the cell with her was Alice Cosu. She thought Doris had been killed and had a heart attack.
The guards tied Lucy Burns to the bars of the cell with her hands above her head. She was left hanging there all night. She could barely breathe and was bleeding.
President Woodrow Wilson and his cronies attempted to have Alice Paul declared insane and wanted her to be placed in an insane asylum. The psychiatrist would have no part of it. He told the men that brave, strong women were often looked upon as being insane.
US women won the right to vote in 1920 with the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution. Warren G. Harding was President.
In Canada, the suffrage movement was lead by women like Dr. Emily Stowe and Nellie McClung. Dr. Emily Stowe lead the movement in Ontario, while Nellie McClung lead it in the West. In 1917, women who were related to men actively fighting overseas during WWI were allowed to vote by the War Time Election Act. A hue and cry went up for equality.
Nellie McClung actively fought for the right for women to vote in 1916. Women who lived in Manitoba were granted the right to vote that year and Alberta and Saskatchewan also granted their women the right to vote. However, women in other provinces didn't get the same consideration.
In 1918, the ability to vote in a federal election was granted to all Canadian women over 21 years of age. Still, some provinces didn't allow women to vote in provincial elections. By 1922, all provinces allowed women to vote, except Quebec. It wasn't until 1940 that Canadian women across the nation were granted the right to vote in both federal and provincial elections.
If you are a women of voting age, please practice your right to vote. It doesn't matter who you vote for. Thank God we are free to vote for whom we choose. However, to honor these brave women who fought for the right for us to cast a ballot, be sure to do so. This year the US will elect a new President and there is a federal election in Canada on October 14th. Honor those women who lead and participated in the suffrage movement. It's your right!