2009 Silent Sentinel Award Reception

ABC 7 News Reporter Natasha Barrett donated her services as mistress of ceremonies for the Silent Sentinel Award Reception.

Dedication Ceremony

Caitlin Schneiderman playing her guitar at the 2008 TPSM dedication.

Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure

Race participants are briefed about the memorial by a Turning Point Suffragist Memorial Committee member dressed in period clothing.

Upcoming Events

March 25, 2014
Dinner at The Greene Turtle

Please join us for dinner on
Tuesday, March 25, 2014, 5:00 pm until 8:00 pm, at:

The Green Turtle
900 N. Glebe Road
Arlington, VA 22203

Join the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial Association (TPSMA) for dinner at The Greene Turtle (near the Ballston metro) on March 25, 2014, 5-8 PM, as they host the first Suppers for Suffragists fundraising event. A percentage of the night's profits will be donated to the TPSMA.

In 1917, more than 70 suffragists were imprisoned in the Occoquan Workhouse, then part of the Lorton Prison complex, in retaliation for picketing the Woodrow Wilson White House for the right to vote. The reports of inhumane conditions, beatings and force-feeding at the workhouse electrified the country and became the "turning point" in the struggle for the 19th Amendment.  The actions of these women helped bring about the largest expansion of democracy in the history of our nation. Yet there is no national monument to honor them.

The TPSMA is a volunteer group dedicated to honoring the lives of these courageous women who fought for the passage and ratification of the 19th Amendment. The TPSMA seeks to raise awareness and funds to create a memorial that will reflect the strength of these women and the significance of their struggle. The memorial will be located (near the site of the original Occoquan Workhouse) in the Occoquan Regional Park, which is operated by the Northern Virginia Park Authority.

To register go to

For further information go to

Directions from Ballston Metro:  1. Head west on Fairfax Dr. toward N Stuart St, 0.2 mi.  2. Turn left onto N Glebe Rd. 0.1 mi.  3. Turn right onto 9th Street N. Destination on the right  226 ft  

Workhouse Prison Museum’s Spring Lecture Series

The Turning Point Suffragist Memorial Association is pleased to support the 2014 Spring Lecture Series sponsored by the Workhouse Prison Museum which is located at the Lorton Arts Center.

In the summer of 1917, suffragists incarcerated at Northern Virginia’s Occoquan Workhouse initiated what became the final push toward women’s voting rights. The Workhouse Prison Museum’s free public lectures explore the American women’s equality movement from before the Civil War to the present. The first lecture in January summarized the significant steps that led to women’s right to vote. The subsequent three lectures, beginning February 5, will discuss the societal, legislative and economic changes that have taken since then. The final program challenges the consequences of these changes. This lecture series features historians plus women who have experienced these changes first hand.

All lectures are:  7:30-9pm at the Workhouse Arts Center, W-3 Theatre, 9601 Ox Road, Lorton, VA 22079.  All lectures are free with a suggested donation of $10. Please register online at:  Call 703-584-2900 for information.

The schedule for the remainder lectures:

Years of Languish (1920s-1950s)  Wednesday, February 5

Cynthia Harrison, Ph.D., Associate Professor of History, George Washington University, will speak.  Gail Zander, Ph.D., psychologist and Nita Horton, M.S., pharmacist, will be guest panelists.

The intense hardships experienced by women during the Great Depression were followed by unprecedented involvement in what had been exclusively men’s work during World War II.     Women took new jobs outside the home, developed new skills and were afforded new opportunities.  Following the return of men from war however, women once more were forced back into low-paying, low-profile positions.

Years of Hope, Turmoil and Anger (1960s and 1970s)   Wednesday, March 5

Jeffrey McClarken, Ph.D., Associate Professor of History, University of Mary Washington, will speak. Sharon Bulova, Chairman, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and Sherry Hutt, J.D. Ph.D., National Program Manager, North American Grave Protection and Repatriation Act, U.S. Department of Interior, will be guest panelists.

During these decades deep cultural changes altered the role of women in American society.  Women reached out for greater fairness and equality in the work place and at home.   They pushed to take control of their reproductive rights and to eliminate legal inequalities. 

Breaking the Glass Ceiling (1980s-present)    Wednesday, April 2

These years saw invisible barriers holding women back from senior management positions began to crumble and access to more traditionally male roles increased.  Younger women entering the work force faced fewer barriers and more career opportunities.

Equality: What Does It Really Mean? Wednesday, April 30

Join a discussion with three panelists about the differing ways men and women now think and feel about their work and home life.  Should there still be gender-specific roles in contemporary society?

Past Events

December 11, 2013
Turning Point Suffragist Memorial Association 2013 Annual Meeting 

The Turning Point Suffragist Memorial Association (TPSMA) Board of Directors‘ Annual meeting is a time for the Board and supporters to reflect on the accomplishments of the past year and discuss plans for the next year in our efforts to build a memorial to the women whose harsh incarceration at the Occoquan Workhouse was a turning point in the effort to secure voting rights for all American women.  This year the Board is holding the Annual Meeting on Wednesday, December 11, 2013 at 7 pm at the Pohick Regional Library, 6450 Sydenstricker Road, Burke VA. 

The program will include Todd Hafner, Director of Development for the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority, presenting plans for a major upgrade to the Occoquan Regional Park where the Memorial will be located.  Also on the agenda are an overview of our capital fundraising plans and highlights of our 2013 accomplishments.  Participants in the meeting will have an opportunity to provide input on potential sources of funds and to make general suggestions to the TPSMA Board for future efforts.  The agenda follows:

7:00 pm - Refreshments
7:30 pm -Meeting

Development Plans for Occoquan Regional Park 
Capital Fundraising Plans
Recognition Awards
Future Outreach and Fundraising Plans 
Suggestions to the Board

Centennial Celebration Activities - March 1-3

Suffrage Centennial Celebration is an organization whose mission is to bring people together in new ways to learn, honor and grow from the history of America’s suffragists, and proudly pass on their remarkable legacy—women’s right to vote—to educate and inspire women and men, girls and boys.  Turning Point Suffragist Memorial Association is a Participating Partner is the weekend's activity and will be visible throughout all events, including re-enactment of the Silent Sentinels each day of the weekend.  Click here for more information.

Among the planned activities is Take What Is Yours, the (too) little-known (true) story of how American women fought and won the right to vote. Composed in the words of Alice Paul, the National Woman's Party and documents of the time, this stunning new production weaves virtuoso performances with striking visuals and a richly-layered sound score into a moving and inspiring story. This performance will be at the Lizner Auditorium at the George Washington University. Click here for more information on this specific event.

May 30, 2012
Silent Sentinel Award

The Silent Sentinel Award is an award honoring those who have been instrumental in advocating for women's equality in the United States of America.

The Turning Point Suffragist Memorial Committee honored this year’s recipient, historian Ann Gordon, at a special event held from 7-10 pm on May 30th, at the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority’s 95-acre, Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna, Va. Proceeds from this event will support the construction of the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial, which will be dedicated to the suffragists who were harshly imprisoned at the Occoquan Workhouse in Lorton, Va., in 1917 after picketing the White House in support of women's suffrage. For more information on the event honoring Ms. Gordon, click here.

August 21, 2010
90th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment

On Saturday, August 21st we celebrated the 90th anniversary of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote.  The festivities began at 3:30 p.m. at the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton, Va., with educational talks and activities for children and adults about the suffrage movement and the struggles that led up to passage of the Amendment. The focus was on Inez Milholland Boissevain, the iconic woman on the white horse who led the 1913 suffragist parade through the streets of Washington, D.C.  After the Workhouse activities, participants went “next door” to the future site of the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial (TPSM) in Occoquan Regional Park for a mini suffragist parade led by a woman on a white horse. At the site, we planted a  tree and a time capsule in commemoration of the 90 anniversary.  Ten years from now we’ll dig up the time capsule at what we hope will be the newly constructed Turning Point Suffragist Memorial.

November 7, 2009
Fairfax County History Conference

Historians attending the Fairfax County History Conference on Nov. 7, 2009, now know a little more about the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial.  The memorial was represented at the conference by several committee members who spoke to attendees about the project and the history of the suffragists who were incarcerated in the county’s Occoquan Workhouse in 1917.  An expanded exhibit now displays the most current site plans for the Memorial and copies of the existing wayside markers.   

The Fairfax County History Conference, in its fifth year, was held at the James Lee Community Center in Falls Church.  In addition to the exhibits and displays, the Conference hosted book signings, talks and panel discussions on the local history of Fairfax County.   The event was sponsored by the Fairfax County History Commission and Architectural Review Board,  the Fairfax County Park Authority and the Fairfax Museum and Visitor Center.  


TPSM Committee Chair, Jane Barker, at the Fairfax County
History Conference on November 7, 2009.


October 11, 2009
Clifton Days Festival

The word is spreading about the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial.  Many learned about efforts to build the Memorial during the Clifton Day Festival in Clifton, Va., on October 11, 2009.  The streets were lined with vendors and bustling with Civil War re-enactors and local families. The TPSM shared a booth with partner, the League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area.  Lynne Garvey Hodge, holding a parasol, attracted attention while dressed as one of the suffragists held at the Occoquan Workhouse, Mrs. Robert Walker. TPSM Committee members manned a display, collected e-mails for our planned newsletter, and distributed brochures at the event. Nestled next to the bulldog rescue tent, the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial display attracted a wide age range as well.

TPSM Committee Chair, Jane Barker, and LWVFA member,
 O.G. Harper, stand by the booth at Clifton Day 2009.

June 6, 2009
Celebrate Fairfax!

Turning Point Suffragist Memorial committee members participated in Celebrate Fairfax to help raise awareness of the memorial and the history of the suffragists. 



May 1, 2009
Silent Sentinel Award Reception

Newsweek columnist Eleanor Clift served as keynote speaker (for the Silent Sentinel Award Reception) and told stories from her book about the suffragists, "Founding Sisters."

The Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton, Va. was transformed back to the early 1900s on Friday evening, May 1, 2009, when women re-enactors, picketing for the right to vote, welcomed attendees at a reception for the League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area's inaugural Silent Sentinel Award.  The annual award honors women who exemplify the traits of the women suffragists who were held at the Occoquan Workhouse in 1917.  D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton was recognized as a trailblazer for voting equality.  Special guests included several descendents of noted suffragists, including Raymund Nolan, the great-grandson of the oldest woman held at Occoquan, Mary Nolan; and Dr. John Tepper Marlin, the great-nephew of iconic suffragist Inez Milholland Boissevain.  Eleanor Clift, Newsweek contributing editor and author of "Founding Sisters and the 19th Amendment" gave the keynote address.  ABC 7 News reporter Natasha Barrett served as the mistress of ceremonies.  Invited guests also learned about plans for the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial which will be located across the street from where the suffragists were held.

July 27, 2008
Occoquan Regional Park - Dedication Ceremony

2008 TPSM dedication with President Wilson and suffragist re-enactors.

The official dedication of a new memorial to honor the women suffragists who were imprisoned at the Occoquan Workhouse during their fight for women's right to vote. The program included a ribbon cutting ceremony and speakers from various organizations discussing this time in history, and its significance as it relates to voting rights today. 

October 3, 2008
Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure

A Turning Point Suffragist Memorial committee member briefs walkers at the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. The walkers were camping at the Occoquan Regional Park where the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial will be located. Informational brochures about the memorial were distributed while the walkers took a break.