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Epigraphs: The Vote: Women’s Fierce Fight, Part III, Chapter 8

This statement by Inez Milholland is the epigraph for The Vote: Women’s Fierce Fight,

Chapter 8: Right is Might: 1912 I will never get cold in a cause like this.

In 1912, suffragists scored record-setting victories in woman suffrage amendment referenda—four new equal suffrage states: Arizona, Kansas (two previous defeats), Oregon (five previous defeats), and Michigan (one previous defeat), although the Michigan’s results were not yet final. (Referenda in Ohio and Wisconsin had been defeated; as would be  Michigan’s by 762 votes amidst charges of fraud and trickery.)

Across America suffragists celebrated. In New York City, on November 9, a chilly, Saturday night, 20,000 women and girls and several thousand men and boys marched up Fifth Avenue, dazzling the 400,000 spectators with a “river of fire.” The “river of fire” was created by a novelty imported from Paris, France, that hung from a pole—an orange pumpkin-shaped lantern with a single light bulb inside that was attached to a battery that a marcher carried in a pocket. Ten charioteers, including Inez Milholland, drove snow-white horses that pulled a chariot, one for each of the ten equal-suffrage states. When a reporter asked Milholland, an eloquent and tireless suffragist, whether her flimsy charioteer costume kept her warm enough, she replied, “I will never get cold in a cause such as this.”

Inez Milholland was a lawyer who fought for working women’s rights, and a charismatic suffrage speaker, who newspapers covered with headlines such as MANY TURN OUT TO

HEAR THE BEAUTY. A skilled equestrian, she participated in many suffrage parades. She appears several more time in The Vote: Women’s Fierce Fight until her death at the age of thirty while on an intense speaking tour in 1916.

The first image is Inez Milholland, a student at Vassar College. Next is an image of her mounted on Gray Dawn, a white charger, prepared to lead the 1913 grand “Woman Suffrage Procession” in Washington, D.C. on March 3, 1913. The bottom image is a historic marker dedicated in

2016 in Lewis, New York, near where Inez Milholland lived and is buried. Carl Sandburg’s poem, “Repetitions” honors Inez Milholland: “They are crying salt tears/Over the beautiful beloved body/Of Inez Milholland/Because they are glad she lived,/Because she loved open-armed,/Throwing love for a cheap thing/Belonging to everybody—/Cheap as sunlight,/And morning air.” (Click on images to enlarge them.)

The Vote: Women’s Fierce Fight is widely available in trade paperback and eBook. There are links on my website

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