Press Releases

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... 



 March 13, 2012
Remembering the Vote During Women's History Month--Picketing the White House

TPSM Press Release
Step back to an important moment in American history, as women dressed in period clothing commemorate Women's History Month, on March 21st, from 11-12:30 p.m. by picketing the White House. Ten volunteers from the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial Association in Fairfax County, Virginia, will re-create the 1917 picketing campaign by the National Woman’s Party and stand as “silent sentinels” at the White House gates. They . . . . More... 

December 3, 2010
 First Lady of Virginia Honors Turning Point Suffragist Memorial

TPSM Press Release
Virginia's First Lady Maureen McDonnell has awarded the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial the Opportunity Seal of Approval for bettering the Commonwealth.  The recognition came during a special luncheon to honor programs, activities, organizations and individuals that embody the ideal of creating a Commonwealth of Opportunity in their communities.   The awards are part of The First Lady's Initiatives Team Effort (FLITE), which Mrs. McDonnell launched in the spring . . . . More... 

August 26, 2010
90th Anniversary of 19th Amendment Celebrated  

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 

TPSM Press Release
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 . . . . More...

 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...



 News



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...

March 2011

Fairfax Station-Clifton Connection -- A Turning Point for Women.  More...


December 2010
El Tiempo Latino -- In Honor of the Heroines of the Vote.  OriginalTranslation.


November 29, 2010
NBCWashington.com -- A Memorial to Women's Crusaders.  More...


November 27, 2010
WTOP.com -- Va. Memorial Planned to Honor Women Suffragists.  More...


October 30, 2010
Lorton Patch
-- Occoquan: At the End of the Water.  More...


September 29, 2010
Lorton Patch
-- Turning Point Suffragist's Memorial Brings History to the Occoquan Regional Park. 
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...


June 2010
beInkandescent -- The Suffragist Movement is Alive and Well in Fairfax.  More...


May 19, 2010
Remembering the Past, Connection Newspapers
When the turning point of one of the nation’s most significant movements occurs in your backyard, it has to be celebrated with style and class. Thankfully, Fairfax County has the right people for the task.  More...


May 2010
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...


May 2010
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...


August 27, 2008
New Plaza to Help All “Remember the Ladies”, The South County Chronicle
It was a hot, humid Sunday morning, with the threat of thunderstorms looming in the atmosphere. Yet, more than 100 people gathered under a tent in the Occoquan Regional Park in Lorton to participate in the dedication of Turning Point Plaza, a memorial to the suffragists whose imprisonment at the Occoquan Workhouse in 1917 turned the tide in the effort to give women the vote.  More...



July 31, 2008
I'm a Suffragette , The Laurel Hill Connection
Down the road from Occoquan Regional Park in Lorton, Alice Paul, Lucy Burns and scores of other women were arrested and imprisoned July 14, 1917 after picketing Woodrow Wilson’s White House under the banner of women’s suffrage. Though both major political parties at the time had platforms in favor of giving women the right to vote, neither would go so far as to support a constitutional amendment compelling every state to do so.  More...


Press Releases

 First Lady of Virginia Honors Turning Point Suffragist Memorial

RICHMOND, Va. (December 2, 2010) - Virginia's First Lady Maureen McDonnell has awarded the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial the Opportunity Seal of Approval for bettering the Commonwealth. The recognition came during a special luncheon to honor programs, activities, organizations and individuals that embody the ideal of creating a Commonwealth of Opportunity in their communities. The awards are part of The First Lady's Initiatives Team Effort (FLITE), which Mrs. McDonnell launched in the spring. Four individuals and groups received the First Lady's Opportunity Hall of Fame Award and 29 groups and individuals, including Turning Point Suffragist Memorial, received the First Lady's Opportunity Seal of Approval.

Over the last seven months, Mrs. McDonnell and members of her FLITE team sought to identify people and groups in four key areas:

* A Commonwealth of Opportunity for Health and Wellness
* A Commonwealth of Opportunity for Economic Development, with a specific focus on the Virginia Wine, Film and Tourism Industries
* A Commonwealth of Opportunity for Military Families
* A Commonwealth of Opportunity for Women

Mrs. McDonnell says she "set out to launch an initiative that helps showcase programs, projects, individuals and organizations that are doing incredible work across the Commonwealth." She added that the 33 wonderful initiatives receiving recognition are "bettering the Commonwealth now, and ensuring our children and grandchildren will be able to enjoy great opportunities for generations to come."
Jane Barker, chair of the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial Committee, expressed thanks to Mrs. McDonnell and the FLITE Committee for supporting the project. She says, "it's an honor to know they understand the memorial's purpose and its value to women, tourism and future generations."
 
For more information about the launch of the FLITE initiative please click here.



 Conceptual Design for Suffragist Memorial Unveiled.  Completion Date set for 2020: 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment 

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.

Front Gates of Turning Point Suffragist Memorial
TPSM Front Gates
An all-volunteer group, working with the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority, is raising funds to see the memorial built before 2020, the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment.  Virginia First Lady Maureen McDonnell, an honorary sponsor, says "we simply cannot leave to chance the remembrance of this important chapter in our nation's history."

The debut of the conceptual plans for the memorial came during the second annual Silent Sentinel Award Reception held at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna, Va.  The May 12th event honored White House journalist Helen Thomas as a trailblazer for gender equality. She was recognized for breaking a number of barriers to women in the journalism field and achieving the respect that helped other women to be treated as equals. In accepting the Silent Sentinel Award, Thomas said the memorial was a worthy cause and she was honored to "spotlight the fact that women have come a long way...in terms of equality in the workplace and in our society." But she added that there is "more to be done to achieve true equality at the workplace."

Water Feature of Turning Point Suffragist Memorial
TPSM News Header
Some of the design features for the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial include entrance plaza gates duplicating the White House gates where suffragists stood as "silent sentinels" in protest; commemorative banners anchoring the entrance, replicating those carried by the suffragists; a memorial cascade and waterfall emanating from a wall mounted with more than 120 stainless steel plaques that copy the design of the "jailed for freedom" pin that was presented to those who served time; a footbridge into a memorial meditation garden symbolizing the crossing over and/or advancement of the movement and signifying the continuing push for equality; and nineteen interactive vignettes along a winding path that will provide the history of the suffragist movement and the story of the women held at the Occoquan Workhouse.


The Turning Point Suffragist Memorial Committee (TPSM) is an all volunteer group dedicated to honoring the lives of the suffragists who fought for the ratification of the 19th Amendment.  The group’s vision is to raise awareness and funds to create a national memorial that will reflect the strength of the women and the significance of their struggle. Learn more about the memorial at www.suffragistmemorial.org.                               

The Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority (NVRPA) enhances the communities of Northern Virginia and enriches the lives of their citizens through the conservation of regional natural and cultural resources. It provides diverse regional recreational and educational opportunities, and fosters an understanding of the relationships between people and their environment. Visit NVRPA today online at www.nvrpa.org. 

 

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

Eleanor Holmes NortonLorton, 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.


News

 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 long battle to achieve women's suffrage was won on 26 August 1920, but three years before the suffrage movement in Lorton experienced abuse and torture during an episode that began with the "night of terror."
 A group of women from various parts of the country had arrived in November 1917 to Washington to protest silently in front of the White House. That was the first manifestation recorded in the government house. They lived the First World War. After being arrested for "obstructing traffic, some were sent to jail in DC, while 33 were transported to a unit of the Lorton prison. The superintendent there, "wanted to teach a lesson to women for protesting during the war and allowed the guards to beat and torture," he told reporter Nancy Sargeant, who supports the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial. Were beaten against iron beds, others cut and some hung in chains. "The abuse continued for weeks until the point when they had to present in court had to be charged," said Sargeant. A judge said that women activists had been tortured and released the abuse.


 A Memorial To Women's Crusaders


By P.J. Orvetti
NBCWashington.com NBCWashington.com
updated 11/29/2010 10:16:46 AM ET 2010-11-29T15:16:46

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.”

 Statement in the Congressional Record on 90th Anniversary of the Ratification of the 19th Amendment 

 

 Congressional Record

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.


 

 90th Anniversary of 19th Amendment Celebrated

90th ANNIVERSARY OF 19th AMENDMENT CELEBRATED

 Congressional Proclamation Buried in Time Capsule
at Future Site of Turning Point Suffragist Memorial
 

Occoquan Park Manager John Houser and Turning Point Suffragist Memorial Committee Chair Jane Barker bury time capsule filled with artifacts
Burial of time capsule

LORTON, Va. (August 26, 2010) 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 in the U.S. Inside the time capsule are artifacts from the campaign to build the memorial as well as a Congressional proclamation from Virginia Congressman Gerald Connolly (D-11th District). The capsule was signed by all of those in attendance and will be opened on the occasion of the 100th anniversary in 2020.

Congressman Connolly in his proclamation applauds the efforts of women who fought for 72 years to win the right to vote.  He also commends 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." The memorial's park location is across the road from the former Occoquan Workhouse where scores of women were harshly imprisoned in 1917 after peacefully protesting for their right to vote.  These courageous women endured beatings and horrible conditions at the Workhouse. When word of the abuse spread, it softened public sentiment toward suffrage and served as a turning point in the battle for the 19th Amendment. 

Shannon Spahn portraying suffragist icon, Inez Milholland Boissevain, who led  famous 1913 Washington, D.C. parade
Inez on a horse

The anniversary event also included the planting of a purple crepe myrtle plant in honor of the suffragists.  Purple signifies honor and was one of the colors frequently used in the suffrage fight. Earlier in the day there was also a partial reenactment of the famous Washington suffrage parade of 1913 that was led by Inez Milholland Boissevain - the iconic woman on her white horse, Gray Dawn.  Portraying Boissevain, Shannon Spahn and her white horse, Willie, led the parade held at the nearby Workhouse Arts Center. Children participated and carried handmade placards asking for "Bacon Every Day" and "No More Homework."
 
Jane Barker, who chairs the all-volunteer committee raising funds for the memorial, says it's important for future generations to learn about "the struggle" and  "the value of vigilance to protect equality for all, including women."  The group is working with the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority to see the memorial built before 2020, the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment. 

Conceptual design plan of
Turning Point
TPSM News Header
Suffragist Memorial

Some of the design features for the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial include entrance plaza gates duplicating the White House gates where suffragists stood as "silent sentinels" in protest; commemorative banners anchoring the entrance, replicating those carried by the suffragists; a memorial cascade and waterfall emanating from a wall mounted with more than 120 stainless steel plaques that copy the design of the "jailed for freedom" pin that was presented to those who served time; a footbridge into a memorial meditation garden symbolizing the crossing over and/or advancement of the movement and signifying the continuing push for equality; and nineteen interactive vignettes along a winding path that will provide the history of the suffragist movement and the story of the women held at the Occoquan Workhouse.

 

 

 

  

Turning Point Suffragist Memorial Committee (TPSM) is an all-volunteer group dedicated to honoring the lives of the suffragists who fought for the ratification of the 19th Amendment.  The group's vision is to raise awareness and funds to create a national memorial that will reflect the strength of the women and the significance of their struggle. Learn more about the memorial at www.suffragistmemorial.org.

                               

The Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority (NVRPA) enhances the communities of Northern Virginia and enriches the lives of their citizens through the conservation of regional natural and cultural resources. It provides diverse regional recreational and educational opportunities, and fosters an understanding of the relationships between people and their environment. Visit NVRPA today online at www.nvrpa.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click here to see the video "What Have Women Gained with the Vote"