Historian Ann Gordon Honored with Silent Sentinel Award
Tributes Offered by Filmmaker Ken Burns and Journalist Lynn Sherr
Another trailblazer has been recognized with the Silent Sentinel Award – an award honoring those who have been instrumental in advocating for women’s equality in the U.S. Historian Ann Gordon is this year’s recipient, chosen by the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial (TPSM) Association for her work....more.....
Suffragists Come to Washington to Lobby Connolly
Congressman Gerry Connolly Press Release
Congressman Gerry Connolly was met on the Capitol steps today by women of a different era to celebrate Women’s History Month. In a scene that looked more like 1917 than 2012, Connolly was lobbied by a group of women wearing bonnets and toting protest banners. More...
TPSM Press Release
A little bit of history is now buried in Occoquan Regional Park in Lorton, Va. A time capsule was placed in the ground on Saturday, August, 21st, at the future site of the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial. The ceremony was held to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the 19th Amendment legalizing the right of women to vote . . . . More...
May 21, 2010
Conceptual Design for Suffragist Memorial Unveiled
May 13, 2009
Remembering the Ladies Who Fought for the 19th Amendment
TPSM Press Release
The League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area and the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority have launched an initiative to memorialize the suffragists who were arrested as the first picketers at the White House in 1917, and imprisoned at the Occoquan Workhouse in Lorton, Va. More...
April 14, 2009
League of Women Voters “Silent Sentinel” Award,
TPSM Press Release
Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton has been selected as the first recipient of The League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area's "Silent Sentinel Award" which recognizes trailblazers for voting equality. Congresswoman Norton was nominated by Linda Talbot-Cunningham Goldstein with the American Association of University Women, "because of her selfless, determined, ongoing work to obtain the right to vote for the over 600-thousand taxpaying citizens of the United States who reside in Washington, DC." More...
June 14, 2012
Friends of the Guest House -- Silent Sentinels-The Right to Vote. More...
June 6, 2012
Connection Newspapers -- Celebrating Women's Rights. More...
March 29, 2012
Connection Newspapers -- Honoring the Past, Empowering the Future. More...
March 23, 2012
LortonPatch -- Lorton's Silent Sentinels Descend on Washington. More...
August 20, 2010
Representative Gerald E. Connolly offers a statement in the Congressional Record on the 90th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment. More...
beInkandescent -- The Suffragist Movement is Alive and Well in Fairfax. More...
The Turning Point Memorial Honors Helen Thomas, The South County Chronicle
Helen Thomas, widely regarded as the dean of the Washington press corps, and often called the First Lady of the Press . . . . More...
Turning Suffragist Memorial Committee Plans Meadowlark Gardens Fundraiser, Fairfax Voter
Plans are in full gear for the second annual Silent Sentinel Award reception which will be held at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna on Wednesday, May 12 from 7-10 pm. More...
VIENNA, Va. (May 19, 2010) - Plans for a national suffragist memorial at Occoquan Regional Park in Lorton, Va. are a step closer to reality. The conceptual design for the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial was unveiled by architect Robert Beach of Robert E. Beach Architects, LLC, during a fund-raising event at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna, Va. The purpose of the memorial is to pay tribute to the more than 120 women who were arrested as the first picketers at the White House in 1917, and imprisoned at the Occoquan Workhouse in Lorton, Va. The women's courage while enduring abusive treatment at the Workhouse softened public sentiment toward women's suffrage and served as a turning point in the battle for the 19th Amendment.
Remembering the Ladies Who Fought for the 19th Amendment
Fairfax Va. (May 13, 2009) - The League of Women Voters and the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority have launched an initiative to memorialize the suffragists who were arrested as the first picketers at the White House in 1917, and imprisoned at the Occoquan Workhouse in Lorton, Va (pictured above). Their courage while enduring abusive treatment at the Workhouse served as a turning point in the battle for women’s right to vote. The goal is to have the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial in place by next year, the 90th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment.
Newsweek contributing editor and keynote speaker, Eleanor Clift, attended the kickoff event held at the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton, and said it will be wonderful to have a memorial dedicated to “these women who prevailed for all of us.” Clift, who wrote a book about the suffragists (“Founding Sisters and the 19th Amendment”), told a crowd of more than 160 invited guests and dignitaries that the suffragists were upper class women who, if they weren’t protesting in front of the White House, would have been having tea somewhere. She called the treatment of the women at the workhouse an “outrage” and “astounding” saying that prison guards went out of their way to abuse them. She also told stories of the women standing as “silent sentinels” on heated bricks at the White House gates in the dead of winter, hoping to peacefully advance their cause. But they continually faced conflict, and during a protest march on the eve of President Woodrow Wilson’s inauguration in 1913, Helen Keller was among those injured when onlookers – mostly men – threw tomatoes and lighted cigarettes at the women.
The fundraising launch for the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial, was held on Friday, May 1st, in conjunction with a reception for the first Silent Sentinel Award recipient, D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton. She was honored by the League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area for being a trailblazer for voting equality. Secretary of the Commonwealth of Virginia, Kate Hanley, accepted the award for Delegate Norton who was unable to attend the event. Hanley applauded Norton for “not only working to expand suffrage but she herself in the role she has now, understands what a handicap the lack of a vote is.”
Also in attendance at the event were relatives of the suffragists, including Dr. John Tepper Marlin, the great nephew of Inez Milholland Boissevain who led parades sitting on a white horse wearing a flowing white gown and became the first woman to lie in state at the Capitol; Raymund Nolan, the great grandson of Mary Nolan, the oldest suffragist held at Occoquan; and Morag Cole, the granddaughter of Scottish suffragette, Morag MacFadyen MacIntyre. Elected officials included State Senator George Barker, Prince William County Supervisor Mike May, Fairfax County School Board member Liz Bradsher and Occoquan Mayor Earnie Porta. Cathy Smith, the wife of U.S. Congressman Gerry Connolly also attended.
League of Women Voters Silent Sentinel Award
Lorton, Va. (April 14, 2009) - Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton has been selected as the first recipient of The League of Women Voters’ "Silent Sentinel Award" which recognizes trailblazers for voting equality.
The annual award honors women who exemplify the traits of women suffragists who were imprisoned and endured harsh treatment at the Occoquan Workhouse in Lorton, Va., in 1917 after picketing the White House for the right to vote.
Congresswoman Norton was nominated by Linda Talbot-Cunningham Goldstein with the American Association of University Women, "because of her selfless, determined, ongoing work to obtain the right to vote for the over 600-thousand taxpaying citizens of the United States who reside in Washington, DC." A nominating committee of the League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area agreed that Congresswoman Norton is an outspoken advocate for the voting rights of all, as well as an inspiration and educator to the general public.
An award recipient also exemplifies the mission of the League to encourage, inform and participate in government, and educate the public about candidates and major public policy issues.
The award will be presented during a reception at the Lorton Arts Workhouse in Lorton, Va., on Friday evening, May 1, 2009. Newsweek columnist Eleanor Clift will be the keynote speaker. Clift wrote about the suffragists in her book, "Founding Sisters and the Nineteenth Amendment (Turning Points in History) ." WJLA/News Channel 8 anchor and reporter, Natasha Barrett will serve as the Mistress of Ceremonies.
Attendees also will learn more about plans for the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial which will be located just steps from the site of the suffragists’ imprisonment in 1917. The League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area is working with the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority to create this tribute to the women whose sacrifices contributed to the ratification of the 19th Amendment. The goal is to have the memorial built by 2010, the 90th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment.
In Honor of the Heroines of the Vote -- Translation from El Tiempo Latino
Lorton, VA, looking to build a memorial for the women who fought for women's suffrage
By Milagros Melendez-Vela
El Tiempo Latino
It's been 90 years since women won the right to vote in the U.S., after a struggle of over half a century. However, although the Washington area is distinguished by its monuments, there is no reminder to honor the memory of the group that fought for in the Constitution Amendment 19, about to face the abuse and torture.
That could change if the project of an activist group in Northern Virginia is really to build a memorial plaza in the Lorton area.
The activist Jane Barker leads the initiative to raise $4 million construction cost of the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial in Occoquan Regional Park in Lorton, Fairfax County belongs to.
"We recognize the sacrifice of these women get the right to vote. History books rarely detail the abuse and humiliation of these women lived to get Amendment 19, "said Barker in El Tiempo Latino, Friday 3.
The construction is planned in Lorton, where a group of women from various states, were jailed in 1917 after a demonstration outside the White House. As the movement for women sugragio in Lorton prison, 33 women experienced abuse and torture.
"Usually it is believed that women in prison in Lorton were local, but no. Ladies were treated to several cities in the country, tired of waiting for action from politicians decided to come to Washington to protest and lobby, but were battered, "said the journalist Nancy Sargeant, who is part of the initiative to build the monument.
The memorial plaza, designed by Robert E. Beach Architects, will include an entry that resembles the lattice of the White House. "These women were the first in history to make a picket at the White House," said Barker. It will also feature a waterfall.
By now it has raised $1 million and is expected to be inaugurated Square in 2020, when the centenary of Amendment 19, which allows women to vote.
"This is history and we want all communities, including Hispanic, honor these women who allowed us to exercise that right," Barker said.
ABUSE AND TORTURE (Separate Text Box in El Tiempo Latino)
The bitter episode in the struggle is lived in Lorton and is known as the "night of terror":
The Washington area has a glut of memorials. There are the ones you all know, like Lincoln and Jefferson, and the statues of Einstein and Gandhi. There’s a Sonny Bono Park and a Maine Lobster Memorial and a very graphic remembrance of a D.C. fireman who was crushed to death in 1856. In Meridian Hill Park, there’s even a massive memorial to James Buchanan, considered by many historians to have been the very worst president of the United States.
There are, however, few memorials to women, and those that do exist, like the Vietnam Women’s Memorial, tend to honor their often-overlooked military service, not the long struggle women had -- and continue to have -- for full equality.
That could change if the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial is constructed in Lorton, Va. WTOP reported that funds are being raised for the project, expected to cost about $4 million, with hopes of completion by 2020, the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote.
What happened in Lorton, and what was the “turning point”? It was a neglected bit of history called the “Night of Terror” that so shocked the nation that many who had been ambivalent about women’s suffrage got behind the movement.
After the U.S. entered World War I in 1917, activists from the National Woman’s Party took to picketing outside the White House, highlighting the hypocrisy of President Woodrow Wilson’s call to make the world safe for democracy when one-half of his own nation was disenfranchised. It was the first time daily picketers appeared outside the White House, and the women were repeatedly arrested. After being released, many returned to picketing.
On Nov. 14, 1917, 33 of the demonstrators were arrested on charges of obstructing traffic, and taken to the Occoquan Workhouse, which was then part of a Lorton prison complex. Many had been held there before, denied visitors and medical care, but this arrest would be different. Occoquan superintendent W.H. Whittaker ordered his 44 guards to teach the uppity women a lesson.
Lucy Burns was beaten and then left hanging through the night by her hands chained to cell bars above her head, nearly suffering asphyxiation. Dora Lewis was thrown against an iron bed, knocking her unconscious. One woman was stabbed in the face with the broken pole of her own protest banner. Others were kicked, beaten, and choked; one suffered a heart attack. The abuse continued for days.
Alice Paul went on a hunger strike. She was tied to a chair, where a tube was forced down her throat so she could be force-fed. When word of her treatment was leaked to the media, government officials tried to have Paul declared insane so she could be permanently institutionalized -- and removed from the women’s movement.
About two weeks after the “Night of Terror,” the women were finally given a court hearing. Some had to be carried into the courtroom because of the impact of the long period of abuse. A judge found that they had been terrorized for simply exercising their constitutional right to protest. Worldwide outrage helped push Wilson, until then an opponent of votes for women, to back passage of the amendment.
The planners of the memorial call the sad episode “possibly the most significant moment in the fight for women’s suffrage in the United States,” which “became the ‘turning point’ in the struggle for the 19th Amendment.”
Proceedings and Debates of the 111th Congress, Second Session
WASHINGTON, D.C. August, 2010
House of Representatives
Statement by Representative Gerald E. Connolly
In Recognition of Women’s Equality Day and the 90th Anniversary of Women’s Right to Vote
MR. CONNOLLY: Madam Speaker, I rise today to recognize Women’s Equality Day and the 90th Anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the United State Constitution granting women the right to vote.
The call for women’s right to vote was first heard at the inaugural women’s rights convention in 1848, in Seneca Falls, New York. Over the course of the following 72 years, this battle for the most basic of equal rights was waged by tens of thousands of brave women – grandmothers to mothers to daughters – united to win the right to vote. Sadly, three of the earliest pioneers for women’s suffrage, Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Susan B. Anthony, did not live to see the enactment of this law.
In 1917, this battle for voting rights escalated. Between 1917 and 1919, more than 200 women were imprisoned at the Lorton Workhouse for their participation in peaceful protests at the White House. Some of these women endured beatings and torturous treatments, and they were forced to live in deplorable conditions. But with these wrongful imprisonments came a proverbial silver lining: Public opinion began to shift in favor of the suffrage movement. In June, 1919, the United States Congress passed the 19th Amendment, and women finally won the right to vote when this law was enacted in August 1920.
Since 1919, tremendous progress has been made in the struggle for equality for women. Today, women account for more than 50% of the nation’s workforce. More than half of students in law and medical schools are women. Women serve honorably and with distinction in our U.S. military, both as enlisted servicemembers and officers. Women serve as CEOs or other executives of some of the nation’s largestcorporations. Women have been elected to every level of public office from school boards to the United States Congress; 76 women currently serve in the U.S. House of Representatives, 17 in the Senate. In 2008, there were women candidates for the two highest offices in the land, president and vice president. Women vote and they understand the power of their vote.
In Lorton, Va., in the heart of the 11th Congressional District and very near the site of the original imprisonment of those brave women, the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial is being constructed to commemorate the Suffrage Movement. On August 21, 2010, a ceremony will be held at the site of this planned memorial. The event will include a partial reenactment of the famous parade of 1918 that featured Inez Milholland on a white horse. The memorial ceremony also will include a tree planting and the burial of a time capsule, which will include a copy of this Congressional Record submission and will be opened on the occasion of the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment in 2020. Will there be, by 2020, a woman President? Will pay parity finally be achieved so that women no longer earn only 78 cents to each dollar earned by a male in a comparable position? A great deal of progress has been made but there is still work to be done to achieve complete equality. I pledge to do my part to ensure full equality for all Americans regardless of gender, race or religion.
Madam Speaker, I ask my colleagues to join me in recognizing the 2010 Women’s Equality Day and the 90th Anniversary of Women’s right to vote. I also would like to commend the organizers and supporters of The Turning Point Suffragist Memorial for their work in commemorating the struggle and victory of the brave women who fought for their basic rights as American citizens.