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Epigraphs: “The Vote: Women’s Fierce Fight,” Part V, Chapter 13

This statement by Olympia Brown is the epigraph for The Vote: Women’s Fierce Fight, Chapter 13, Silent Sentinels: January-April 1917—Patience ceases to be a virtue.

Olympia Brown, the first woman to graduate from an established theological school, had been fighting for the vote since 1867 when she gave 300 speeches in four months in the first state to hold a woman suffrage amendment referendum campaign—Kansas. The first image is an article, “Rev.

Olympia Brown/The Life and Work of a Famous Woman Preacher,” that appeared in a Wichita, Kansas, newspaper, The Wichita Daily Eagle, June 3, 1890.

A former vice president of the National America Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA), Olympia Brown joined the Congressional Union (CU), impressed by Alice Paul’s vigorous tactics, including pioneering the tactic of picketing the White House. “Patience ceases to be a virtue,” Olympia Brown declared. “We cannot allow our cause to rest, or to be overlooked or over-shadowed. (In March the two organizations founded by Paul, the CU and the Woman’s Party, merged under the name the National Woman’s Party (NWP).)

In 1917, eighty-two-year old Olympia Brown came from Wisconsin to join the picket line of suffragist-banner-bearers silently standing in front the White House.  On January 10, Paul had led the first team of pickets, twelve women, each wearing a purple, white, and gold “Votes for Women” sash across her coat and

carrying a large banner inscribed with a slogan such as Inez Milholland’s last words: MR. PRESIDENT/HOW LONG/MUST/WOMEN WAIT/FOR LIBERTY? Valiantly, the stalwart women had marched the short distance from their headquarters on Lafayette Park to the White House, where they stood in silence. WOMEN BEGIN SILENT PICKET read the front-page headline in an Ogden, Utah, newspaper. (Second image is Olympia Brown) Day after day, regardless of the weather, side by side, a kaleidoscope of pickets from across America (more than 2,000 women over two and a half years) took

their place. The third image is a line of Silent Sentinels picketing the White House. (Click on images to enlarge them.)

Chapter 13 includes many other events, including a dramatic demonstration on a day of “high wind and stinging, icy rain,” and the election of the first women to the U.S. Congress. The next three chapters—14, 15, 16—cover events in 1917, including “Arrests!” and “Night of Terror.

The Vote: Women’s Fierce Fight, adult nonfiction, 444 pages, 35 images, epilogue, bibliography, notes, index, is widely available in trade paperback and eBook.

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