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Epigraphs: The Vote: Women’s Fierce Fight, Part III, Chapter 9

This statement by a suffrage marcher is the epigraph for The Vote: Women’s Fierce Fight, Chapter 9, Breakthrough: 1913 Girls, get out your hatpins, they are going to rush us.

There are two breakthroughs in Chapter 9. The cliff-hanging passage of the Presidential and Municipal Suffrage Act in Illinois was an outstanding victory: A non-western state east of the Mississippi River had granted more than a sliver of voting rights to women. The right of vote for presidential electors gave Illinois women voting power on a national level.

Suffragists across the country added what became known as “The Illinois Bill” to their arsenal of tactics in the fight for the vote. The Illinois campaign fierce fight was led by Grace Wilbur Trout, president of the Illinois Equal Suffrage Association, whose recently deceased son had exhorted her when her energy had flagged— “you can do a work that no one else can do.”

The second breakthrough was a spectacular parade and pageant in Washington, D.C. on March 3, 1913. An estimated 5,000 to 8,000 women from every state and many countries marched. Across America, newspapers covered the dramatic event. WOMEN IN MAMMOUTH SHOW declared the front-page headline in an Hawaiian newspaper, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, March 3, 1913.

A line of Boy Scouts and some male college students along the march did their best to restrain men determined to disrupt the parade. But, they were overwhelmed while many police officers stood idly by. Rampaging men blocked the parade, forcing marchers to fight their way through. A girl on a float was grabbed and kicked in the face. Women were spat on and manhandled. Men shouted ribald jeers and vile insults. Suffragists on horseback, including Inez Milholland, bravely rode into the mob, pushing it back to the

sidewalk. Confronted by a menacing line of twenty men with their arms locked, a young woman, who “was really terrified,” braced herself and shouted: “Girls, get out your hatpins, they are going to rush us.” The men backed off.

The top image is a picture that appeared in newspapers across America—the signing ceremony by Governor Edward Dunne of Illinois of the Presidential and Municipal Suffrage Act. The caption begins: “This picture is a part of the suffragist history of America.” (The image appeared in The Bridgeport Evening Farmer, Bridgeport, Connecticut, July 2, 1913, 11.)  Grace Wilbur Trout is standing above the seated woman. She is flanked by co-leaders in the campaign Antoinette Funk (on her right) and Elizabeth Booth. (The number above each person matches the numbered name in the caption.) The middle image is a float in the Washington, D.C. parade carrying a sign printed with “The Great Demand,” an iconic suffrage statement—WE DEMAND AN/AMENDMENT TO THE/CONSTITUTION OF THE/UNITED STATES/ENFRANCHISING THE/WOMEN OF THIS COUNTRY. The bottom image is a front-page article from The Washington Herald, Washington, D.C., March 3, 1913. The violent treatment of the women, according to Grace Trout, “aroused the indignation of the whole nation and converted many men to the suffrage cause.” (Click on each image to enlarge it.)

The Vote: Women’s Fierce Fight is widely available in trade paperback and eBook.

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