Monday, March 21, 2011

A National Holiday for Alice Paul: January 11

If we had a national holiday honoring Alice Paul, we'd have one holiday in this male-dominated nation that honored a woman. What a profound difference that would make to the lives of the girls of America.

If stories about strong and courageous women were widely known and acknowledged as an essential part of our cultural heritage, we'd have a woman in the White House already, and overt misogyny would be a societal taboo instead of everyday life.

We need a national holiday honoring Alice Paul because the women of today owe her everything. Yet few even know her name.

Alice Paul was born on January 11, 1985. The girls and women of America deserve to have January 11 recognized as Alice Paul day.

Alice Paul's campaign for women's citizenship rights is captured in the film: Iron Jawed Angels:

"We had a sort of perpetual flame going in an urn outside our headquarters in Lafayette Square. I think we used rags soaked I kerosene. It was really very dramatic because when President Wilson went to Paris for the peace conference, he was always issuing some wonderful idealistic statement that was impossible to reconcile with what he was doing at home. And we had an enormous bell – I don’t recall how we ever got such an enormous bell – and every time Wilson would make one of these speeches, we would toll this great bell, and then somebody would go outside with the President’s speech and, with great dignity, burn it in our little cauldron."
-- Alice Paul
cited in Adams & Keene,
Alice Paul & the American Suffrage Campaign, p. 234

In the photo above, Alice Paul (right) and her National Woman's Party colleagues picket the Republican Convention of 1920 for its refusal to support the Susan B. Anthony Amendment. The women's protest sign displays a quotation from Susan B. Anthony: "No self-respecting woman should wish or work for a party that ignores her sex, -Susan B. Anthony, 1872." (L-R: Mrs. James Rector, Mary Dubrow, Alice Paul.)

The photo is available as a women's history memento on note cards, posters, mousepads and other products at the TGW shop. Celebrate women's history and help spread the desperately needed knowledge by giving a feminist gift of women's history.

This post was partially excerpted from my post remembering Alice Paul's birthday at TGW.