In the Library … the Sunburnt Queen


The Sunburnt Queen is an extraordinary narrative. The writing’s fresh immediacy brings history to life.”—The Sunday Independent (South Africa)

In the late 1730s, the local inhabitants of South Africa found a seven-year-old girl called Bessie, washed ashore on the beach of the Wild Coast. Bessie was brought up by them, growing into a young woman of legendary beauty and wisdom, and marrying one of the most important tribal chiefs in the area.

Using oral histories and written accounts by early missionaries, Hazel Crampton traces the extraordinary story of Bessie and the turbulent history of the Eastern Cape.

Resource: amazon.com

Congress Approves Nineteenth Amendment -Women’s History


On June 4, 1919, Congress, by joint resolution, approved the woman’s suffrage amendment and sent it to the states for ratification. The House of Representatives had voted 304-89 and the Senate 56-25 in favor of the amendment.

National Woman’s Party activists watch Alice Paul sew a star onto the NWP Ratification Flag… National Photo Co., Washington, D.C., ca. 1919-1920. Women of Protest: Photographs from the Records of the National Woman’s Party. Prints & Photograph Division

Disagreement on whether the best strategy was to pursue enfranchisement through a federal amendment or by individual state campaigns had divided the women’s suffrage movement in 1869. Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony worked for a federal amendment under the banner of the National Woman Suffrage Association, while Lucy Stone led the American Woman Suffrage Association’s state-by-state battle for the vote.19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: Women's Right to Vote

19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: Women’s Right to Vote

Joint Resolution of Congress proposing a constitutional amendment extending the right of suffrage to women, May 19, 1919; Ratified Amendments, 1795-1992; General Records of the United States Government; Record Group 11; National Archives.

In 1890, the two groups united to form the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). NAWSA combined both techniques to secure voting rights for all American women. A series of well-orchestrated state campaigns took place under the dynamic direction of Carrie Chapman Catt, while the new National Woman’s Party, led by Alice Paul, used more militant tactics to obtain a federal amendment.

In his 1916 book Woman’s Suffrage By Constitutional Amendment, Congressman Henry St. George Tucker of Virginia argued that enfranchising women by constitutional amendment would violate the Constitution:

For three-fourths of the States to attempt to compel the other one-fourth of the States of the Union, by constitutional amendment, to adopt a principle of suffrage believed to be inimical to their institutions, because they may believe it to be of advantage to themselves and righteous as a general doctrine, would be to accomplish their end by subverting a principle which has been recognized from the adoption of the Constitution of the United States to this day, viz., that the right of suffrage — more properly the privilege of suffrage — is a State privilege, emanating from the State, granted by the State, and that can be curtailed alone by the State.

Woman’s Suffrage By Constitutional Amendment, by Henry St. George Tucker. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1916. p 4. National American Woman Suffrage Association Collection. Rare Book & Special Collections Division

Henry Wade Rogers, a Yale University law professor, offered a different perspective in “Federal Action and State Rights,” an essay within the 1917 collection Woman Suffrage by Federal Constitutional Amendment, compiled by Carrie Chapman Catt. He argued that previous constitutional amendments set a precedent for the demands of suffragists:

…the Fifteenth Amendment provides that “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color or previous condition of servitude…” If woman suffrage is a sound principle in a republican form of government, and such I believe it to be, there is in my opinion no reason why the States should not be permitted to vote upon an Amendment to the Constitution declaring that no citizen shall be deprived of the right to vote on account of sex.

“Federal Action and State Rights,” by Henry Wade Rogers. In Woman Suffrage by Federal Constitutional Amendment. New York: published by the National Woman Suffrage Publishing Co., Inc., 1917. p 67. National American Woman Suffrage Association Collection. Rare Book & Special Collections Division

Rogers’s position prevailed. Women’s active participation in the war effort during World War I and their broadening role in society highlighted the injustice of their political powerlessness. On August 18, 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment was ratified.

National Woman’s Party activists watch Alice Paul sew a star onto the NWP Ratification Flag… National Photo Co., Washington, D.C., ca. 1919-1920. Women of Protest: Photographs from the Records of the National Woman’s Party. Prints & Photograph Division
Disagreement on whether the best strategy was to pursue enfranchisement through a federal amendment or by individual state campaigns had divided the women’s suffrage movement in 1869. Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony worked for a federal amendment under the banner of the National Woman Suffrage Association, while Lucy Stone led the American Woman Suffrage Association’s state-by-state battle for the vote.

In 1890, the two groups united to form the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). NAWSA combined both techniques to secure voting rights for all American women. A series of well-orchestrated state campaigns took place under the dynamic direction of Carrie Chapman Catt, while the new National Woman’s Party, led by Alice Paul, used more militant tactics to obtain a federal amendment.
In his 1916 book Woman’s Suffrage By Constitutional Amendment, Congressman Henry St. George Tucker of Virginia argued that enfranchising women by constitutional amendment would violate the Constitution:
For three-fourths of the States to attempt to compel the other one-fourth of the States of the Union, by constitutional amendment, to adopt a principle of suffrage believed to be inimical to their institutions, because they may believe it to be of advantage to themselves and righteous as a general doctrine, would be to accomplish their end by subverting a principle which has been recognized from the adoption of the Constitution of the United States to this day, viz., that the right of suffrage — more properly the privilege of suffrage — is a State privilege, emanating from the State, granted by the State, and that can be curtailed alone by the State.
Woman’s Suffrage By Constitutional Amendment, by Henry St. George Tucker. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1916. p 4. National American Woman Suffrage Association Collection. Rare Book & Special Collections Division

Henry Wade Rogers, a Yale University law professor, offered a different perspective in “Federal Action and State Rights,” an essay within the 1917 collection Woman Suffrage by Federal Constitutional Amendment, compiled by Carrie Chapman Catt. He argued that previous constitutional amendments set a precedent for the demands of suffragists:

…the Fifteenth Amendment provides that “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color or previous condition of servitude…” If woman suffrage is a sound principle in a republican form of government, and such I believe it to be, there is in my opinion no reason why the States should not be permitted to vote upon an Amendment to the Constitution declaring that no citizen shall be deprived of the right to vote on account of sex.

“Federal Action and State Rights,” by Henry Wade Rogers. In Woman Suffrage by Federal Constitutional Amendment. New York: published by the National Woman Suffrage Publishing Co., Inc., 1917. p 67. National American Woman Suffrage Association Collection. Rare Book & Special Collections Division
Rogers’s position prevailed. Women’s active participation in the war effort during World War I and their broadening role in society highlighted the injustice of their political powerlessness. On August 18, 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment was ratified.

What was the Night of Terror 1917 – Women’s History


 
 
After peacefully demonstrating in front of the White House  on the 28th of August 1917, 33 women endured a night of brutal beatings, called a Night of Terror in November

Dorothy Day was described by her fellow suffragists as a “frail girl.” Yet on the night of November 14, 1917, prison guards at the Occoquan Workhouse, did not hold back after she and 32 other women had been arrested several days earlier for picketing outside the White House.

“The two men handling her were twisting her arms above her head. Then suddenly they lifted her up and banged her down over the arm of an iron bench—twice,” recalled 73-year-old Mary Nolan, the oldest of the prisoners, in an account published by Doris Stevens.

As members of the National Woman’s Party, the women and their fellow “Silent Sentinels” had been peacefully demonstrating in the nation’s capital for months, holding banners and placards calling on President Woodrow Wilson to back a federal amendment that would give all U.S. women the right to vote.

Now, these 33 women would endure the most harrowing night in the long history of the suffrage movement.

“Never was there a sentence like ours for an offense such as ours, even in England,” Nolan wrote.

Suffragist Alice Paul, leader of the National Woman's Party.

 

 

Suffragist Alice Paul, leader of the National Woman’s Party.

Bettmann Archive/Getty Images

Suffragists Divided

In 1913, frustrated by the lack of progress toward a federal women’s suffrage amendment, some younger members of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) decided to step up their efforts. Led by Alice Paul and Lucy Burns, they organized a suffrage parade held in Washington, D.C. on March 3, the day before Wilson’s inauguration as president. Police stood by when spectators attacked the demonstrators as they made their way down Pennsylvania Avenue, and army cavalry troops eventually had to be dispatched to restore order. Some 100 women were hospitalized with injuries.

Suffragists on picket line in front of the White House, circa 1917. One banner reads: "Mr. President How Long Must Women Wait For Liberty". 

 

 

Suffragists on picket line in front of the White House, circa 1917. One banner reads: “Mr. President How Long Must Women Wait For Liberty”.

Library of Congress

The Silent Sentinels

By 1916, nine U.S. states had given women the right to vote. Though he supported suffrage on a state level, President Wilson opposed the federal amendment, and Paul and the NWP decided to aim their protests directly at him. In January 1917, right before Wilson’s second term began, women began gathering outside the White House every day, regardless of the weather. They wore distinctive purple, white and gold sashes and held signs with slogans like “Mr. President, How Long Must We Wait for Liberty?”

“The picketing strategy really unfolds over quite a long time,” says Susan Ware, a feminist biographer and author of the forthcoming book Why They Marched: Untold Stories of the Women Who Fought for the Right to Vote. “By the time you get to that November night, the Silent Sentinels have been picketing outside the White House for more than 10 months.”

At first, Wilson tolerated the women’s protests, smiling at them as he passed and even inviting them in for coffee (they turned him down). But things began to change after the U.S. entered World War I in April 1917, and the NWP chose to continue picketing the White House, even as the mainstream suffrage movement, led by NAWSA’s Carrie Chapman Catt, threw its support behind the war effort.

National Woman's Party members being arrested as they picket with banners before the White House East Gate, in August 1917.

 

 

National Woman’s Party members being arrested as they picket with banners before the White House East Gate, in August 1917.

Library of Congress

A Cat-and-Mouse Game

Amid the wartime furor, many people began viewing the Silent Sentinels as unforgivably unpatriotic. Onlookers sometimes attacked the women and ripped their signs from their hands, while Wilson himself wrote to his daughter in June that the suffragists “seem bent on making their cause as obnoxious as possible.”

That same month, police began arresting the suffragists for obstructing traffic. At first, the women were released quickly, and without penalty, but soon the courts began handing out prison time. But the women kept coming back.

“One of the things that we need to give them credit for is that they knew, after June, that when they were on the picket line they could be arrested, and they could go to jail,” Ware points out. “This was something that respectable white women didn’t usually do.”

Tensions were running much higher by August, when the Sentinels rolled out a new banner accusing “Kaiser Wilson” of autocracy, followed by three days of attacks by an angry mob and police and the sentencing of six women to 60-day prison terms. When Paul, who had stayed off the picket line for much of that summer, returned in October, she was immediately arrested and given the longest sentence yet: seven months in Occoquan.

“They’re in this kind of cat-and-mouse game with the Wilson administration and with the police,” says Ware. “The arrests keep going on, the prison terms keep getting longer, the stakes keep getting upped.”

Suffragist Lucy Burns in a cell at the Occoquan Workhouse after women's rights protests in November 1917.

 

 

Suffragist Lucy Burns in a cell at the Occoquan Workhouse after women’s rights protests in November 1917.

Library of Congress

The Night of Terror

Faced with brutal treatment by guards and horrendous living conditions at Occoquan, including worm-ridden food and filthy water and bedding, Paul and others began demanding to be treated as political prisoners. After going on a hunger strike, Paul was repeatedly force-fed and transferred in early November to the District Jail’s psychiatric ward.

The 33 women brought to Occoquan on the night of November 14 also demanded to be treated as political prisoners. Instead, prison superintendent William H. Whittaker called on his guards to teach the women a lesson. Bursting into the room where the women were waiting to be booked, the guards dragged them down the hall and threw them into dark, filthy cells.

Burns had her hands shackled to the top of a cell, forcing her to stand all night; the guards also threatened her with a straitjacket and a buckle gag. Day (the future founder of the Catholic Worker Movement) was slammed her down on the arm of an iron bench twice. Dora Lewis lost consciousness after her head was smashed into an iron bed; Alice Cosu, seeing Lewis’ assault, suffered a heart attack, and didn’t get medical attention until the following morning.

Nolan’s account of the Night of Terror, as well as pages from a diary Burns kept while at Occoquan, was later published by Doris Stevens in Jailed for Freedom, her book about the NWP.

Suffragist Mary Winsor holding a banner that reads: "To Ask Freedom for Women is Not a Crime. Suffrage Prisoners Should Not be Treated as Criminals," circa November 1917.

 

 

Suffragist Mary Winsor holding a banner that reads: “To Ask Freedom for Women is Not a Crime. Suffrage Prisoners Should Not be Treated as Criminals,” circa November 1917.

19th Amendment Passes

In the aftermath of the attack, many of the women began hunger strikes, as Whittaker denied them counsel and summoned U.S. Marines to guard the workhouse. But news of their mistreatment reached the suffragists outside Occoquan, as well as well-placed allies like Dudley Field Malone, an attorney who resigned his post in the Wilson administration in solidarity with the suffragists (he later married Doris Stevens).

In late November, under increasing public pressure, federal authorities agreed to release Paul, Burns and the other suffrage prisoners.

In early 1918, the D.C. Court of Appeals ruled that women had been illegally arrested, convicted and imprisoned. Within months, President Wilson had begun publicly calling on Congress to act on the federal suffrage amendment, a change of heart that was probably due not only to the NWP’s protests but also NAWSA’s more traditional lobbying strategies.

Meanwhile, the Silent Sentinels continued their protests. In early 1919, the women started lighting what they called “Watchfires of Freedom” outside public buildings, setting fire to Wilson’s speeches mentioning freedom and democracy. More women were arrested, more went on hunger strikes and were force-fed, though there were no more incidents as dramatic as the Night of Terror.

Finally, in June 1919, the U.S. Senate followed the House’s lead in passing the 19th Amendment. Over the next year, both the NWP and NAWSA worked tirelessly to win ratification in the necessary 36 (out of 48 states). On August 18, 1920, after a down-to-the-wire fight in Nashville, Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the 19th Amendment.

Though representatives of the NWP and NAWSA were both on hand in Nashville to celebrate the long-awaited victory, the divisions in the women’s rights movement would continue long after the 19th Amendment’s passage. Still, after more than a century, the Night of Terror stands as a potent reminder of female solidarity and resistance, and just how much some women were willing to sacrifice to win the right to vote.

“They’re determined,” Ware says, recalling the Silent Sentinels on that notorious night in November 1917. “It’s pretty amazing what they were willing to go through, and what they had to endure.”

 

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history… March 1


1498 – Vasco de Gama landed at what is now Mozambique on his way to India.

1562 – In Vassy, France, Catholics massacred over 1,000 Huguenots. The event started the First War of Religion.

1692 – In Salem Village, in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, the Salem witch trials began. Four women were the first to be charged.

1781 – In America, the Continental Congress adopted the Articles of Confederation.

1784 – In Great Britain, E. Kidner opened the first cooking school.

1790 – The U.S. Congress authorized the first U.S. census.

1803 – Ohio became the 17th U.S. state.

1810 – Sweden became the first country to appoint an Ombudsman, Lars August Mannerheim.

1811 – Egyptian ruler Mohammed Ali massacred the leaders of the Mameluke dynasty.

1815 – Napoleon returned to France from the island of Elba. He had been forced to abdicate in April of 1814.

1845 – U.S. President Tyler signed the congressional resolution to annex the Republic of Texas.

1862 – Prussia formally recognized the Kingdom of Italy.

1864 – Louis Ducos de Hauron patented a machine for taking and projecting motion pictures. The machine was never built.

1867 – Nebraska became the 37th U.S. state.

1869 – Postage stamps with scenes were issued for the first time.

1872 – The U.S. Congress authorized the creation of Yellowstone National Park. It was the world’s first national park.

1873 – E. Remington and Sons of Ilion, NY, began the manufacturing the first practical typewriter.

1879 – The library of Hawaii was established.

1890 – “Literary Digest” was available for the first time.

1896 – The Battle of Adowa began in Ethiopia between the forces of Emperor Menelik II and Italian troops. The Italians were defeated.

1900 – In South Africa, Ladysmith was relieved by British troops after being under siege by the Boers for more than four months.

1907 – In Odessa, Russia, there were only about 15,000 Jews left due to evacuations.

1907 – In Spain, a royal decree abolished civil marriages.

1907 – In New York, the Salvation Army opened an anti-suicide bureau.

1911 – Industrialist Henry Frick acquired Velasquez’s “Portrait of King Philip IV.”

1911 – Jose Ordonez was elected President of Uraguay.

1912 – Captain Albert Berry made the first parachute jump from a moving airplane.

1924 – Disney released the first Alice Comedy entitled “Alice’s Day at Sea.”

1927 – The Bank of Italy became a National Bank.

1932 – The 22-month-old son of Charles and Anne Lindbergh was kidnapped. The child was found dead in May.

1937 – U.S. Steel raised workers’ wages to $5 a day.

1937 – In Connecticut, the first permanent automobile license plates were issued.

1941 – FM Radio began in Nashville, TN, when station W47NV began operations.

1941 – Bulgaria joined the Axis powers by signing the Tripartite Pact.

1941 – “Duffy’s Tavern” debuted on CBS Radio.

1947 – The International Monetary Fund began operations.

1947 – Chinese Premier T.V. Soong resigned.

1949 – Joe Louis announced that he was retiring from boxing as world heavyweight boxing champion.

1950 – Klaus Fuchs was convicted of giving U.S. atomic secrets to the Soviet Union.

1954 – The United States announced that it had conducted a hydrogen bomb test on the Bikini Atoll in the Pacific Ocean. It was the first U.S. test of a dry fuel hydrogen bomb under Operation Castle.

1954 – Five U.S. congressmen were wounded when four Puerto Rican nationalists opened fire from the gallery of the U.S. House of Representatives.

1959 – Archbishop Makarios returned to Cyprus from exile.

1961 – The Peace Corps was established by U.S. President Kennedy.

1962 – Pakistan announced that it had a new constitution that set up a presidential system of government.

1966 – The Soviet probe, Venera 3 crashed on the planet Venus. It was the first unmanned spacecraft to land on the surface of another planet.

1966 – Ghana ordered all Soviet, East German and Chinese technicians to leave the country.

1969 – Mickey Mantle announced his retirement from major league baseball.

1971 – A bomb exploded in a restroom in the Senate wing of the U.S. Capitol. There were no injuries. A U.S. group protesting the Vietnam War claimed responsibility.

1974 – Seven people were indicted in connection with the Watergate break-in. The charge was conspiring to obstruct justice.

1983 – The New Jersey Transit strike began. It ended on April 2.

1984 – The U.S.S.R. performed a nuclear test at Eastern Kazakhstan, Semipalatinsk, U.S.S.R.

1987 – The Boston Celtics defeated Detroit 112-102 to post their 2,235th NBA win.

1987 – S&H Green Stamps became S&H Green Seals. The stamps were introduced 90 years earlier.

1988 – Soviet troops were sent into Azerbaijan after ethnic riots between Armenians and Azerbaijanis.

1989 – In Washington, DC, Mayor Barry and the City council imposed a curfew on minors.

1990 – In Cairo, 16 people were killed in a fire at the Sheraton Hotel.

1992 – Bosnian Serb snipers fired upon civilians after a majority of the Moslem and Croatian communities voted in favor of Bosnia’s independence.

1992 – King Fahd of Saudi Arabia announced major political reforms that ceded some powers after 10 years of disciplined rule.

1992 – Bosnian Muslims and Croats voted to secede from Yugoslavia.

1993 – The U.S. government announced that the number of food stamp recipients had reached a record number of 26.6 million.

1994 – Israel released about 500 Arab prisoners in an effort to placate Palestinians over the Hebron massacre.

1995 – The European Parliament rejected legislation that would have allowed biotechnology companies to patent new life forms.

1995 – Yahoo! was incorporated.

1996 – In Kuala, Lumpur, construction was completed for the Petronas Towers.

1999 – The Angolan Embassy in Lusaka, Zambia, exploded. Four other bombs went off in the capital.

1999 – In Uganda, eight tourists were brutally murdered by Hutu rebels.

1999 – Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones began their attempt to circumnavigate the Earth in a hot air balloon non-stop. They succeeded on March 20, 1999.

2002 – Operation Anaconda began in eastern Afghanistan. Allied forces were fighting against Taliban and Al Quaida fighters.

2003 – In New York, a $250,000 Salvador Dali sketch was stolen from a display case in the lobby at Rikers Island jail. On June 17, 2003, it was announced that four corrections officers had surrendered and pled innocent in connection to the theft. The mixed-media composition was a sketch of the crucifixion.

2003 – In the U.S., approximately 180,000 personnel from 22 different organizations around the government became part of the Department of Homeland Security. This completed the largest government reorganization since the beginning of the Cold War.

2003 – Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was captured by CIA and Pakistani agents near Islamabad. He was the suspected mastermind behind the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001.

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1942 – The Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC) was established by an act of the U.S. Congress.


See the source image

FDR signs WAAC Act, May 14, 1942. On this day in 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt approved legislation establishing the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps. The act, signed into law some five months after the United States entered World War II, created a voluntary enrollment program for up to 150,000 women to join the war effort in noncombat roles.

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