January 11, 2016
Alice Paul’s 131st Birthday
“I never doubted that equal rights was the right direction. Most reforms, most problems are complicated. But to me there is nothing complicated about ordinary equality.” -- Alice Paul
When the 19th Amendment to the Constitution became law in August of 1920, women finally won the right to vote after a very long fight. Many suffragists played vital roles in this victory, but none more so than Alice Paul. Paul first made a name for herself by organizing a successful women’s suffrage parade the day before Woodrow Wilson’s first inauguration. Paul thought that public demonstrations were the smartest ways to achieve voting rights. That belief put her at odds with the National American Woman Suffrage Association, so she founded her own organization, the National Women’s Party.
Paul’s group organized daily protests in front of the White House (marking the first time anyone demonstrated there). Police arrested the protestors on a made up charge, and Paul was one of the women to be sent to jail. While in jail she and the other women were treated horribly. Journalists wrote about the mistreatment, people became outraged, and the suffragists gained public support. A short while later President Woodrow Wilson declared his support for a constitutional amendment that would finally give women the right to vote. It would take another couple of years for the amendment to become the law, but his support marked a crucial turning point. Alice Paul dedicated the rest of her life to fighting for the equality of women, authoring the very first version of the Equal Rights Amendment and working the rest of her life towards its passage.
Today, on what would have been her 131st birthday, we salute Alice Paul with a Doodle that pays tribute to her pivotal role in the fight for women’s suffrage and her unyielding dedication to women’s rights.