Fairfax County, Virginia is the site of possibly the most significant moment in the fight for women’s suffrage in the United States.
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 Turning Point Suffragist Memorial Association is working with the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority (NVRPA) to raise funds to erect a suffragist memorial to commemorate the struggle of these women and educate future generations.
Help us build a memorial to honor these suffragists, and to educate and inspire current and future generations.
The Turning Point Suffragist Memorial Association is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and donations in support of the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial are charitable contributions deductible to the maximum extent permitted by law. Thank you for your support.
Prefer to donate by mail? Click here for mailing instructions. For questions you may telephone 571-765-0234.
Suffragist of the Month - October 2014
Natalie Gray was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado in 1894 and was the daughter of the treasurer of Colorado branch of the National Woman’s Party (Doris Stevens, 360). At the age of 22, Gray’s mother sent her to the National Woman’s Party headquarters in Washington D.C. and told the party, “I have no son to fight for democracy abroad, and so I send my daughter to fight for democracy at home” (Irwin, 480).
This is the historical marker identifying the original site of the Occoquan Workhouse in Lorton, Va. According to The Virginia Historic Landmarks Commission, this marker was the first to recognize civil or women's rights. Championed by the League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area, it was initially erected in 1982 in celebration of the first national Women's History Week. It now stands at the entrance of the Griffith Water Treatment Plant that occupies the former workhouse site.
The Turning Point Suffragist Memorial will be located across the street in Occoquan Regional Park.
Learn more about the history of the suffragist movement.