Posted on July 14, 2022
This is an update of my post published on July 14, 2011:
She fought long and hard for women's right to vote in the United Kingdom (England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland).
Emmeline Pankhurst, born on this day in 1858,* went to her first suffrage meetings when she was still a child. (Both of her parents were political agitators.) And universal suffrage (votes for men and women over age 21) was not achieved in the U.K. until the year of Pankhurst's death, 1928. So working for women's votes took up almost the entire span of her long life!
There was a surprising amount of violence toward suffrage activists - and even by suffrage activists! I read about women protestors having rocks in their kid gloves, wearing proper gowns but carrying hammers, going on hunger strikes, and even smashing windows. I read about women demonstrators being beaten, imprisoned, and force-fed. Pankhurst's radical strategies brought a lot of attention to the universal suffrage cause—but not all of the attention was the good kind!
I noticed that a lot of photos of Pankhurst captured
moments during a speech when she had extended
her arm, with her hand either palm up or palm down,
so I thought it was cool that a sculptor captured that
When the suffrage activists sing in the movie Mary Poppins, "Take heart, for Mrs. Pankhurst has been clapped in irons again," they are referring to the fact that Pankhurst was jailed numerous times during protests and political activism, including 12 times in one year!
* By the way, although almost everybody, including Emmeline herself, reported (and continue to report) Pankhurst's birthday on July 14, her birth certificate claims that she was born the next day, July 15, 1858. Still, the commemoration follows the traditional date.
Also on this date:
Birthday of archeologist / spy / etc. Gertrude Bell
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