Suffragists Jailed then Force-Fed

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(WOMENSENEWS)–1917. Members of the National Women’s Party, the most militant suffragists, led by Alice Paul, began a picketing campaign in January outside the White House. The goal was to pressure President Woodrow Wilson on women’s suffrage. In June, picketers were arrested and jailed in Virginia.

When the jailed women began a hunger strike, jailers attempted to force-feed them. When Paul was arrested during continuing street protests, she suffered the same force-feeding indignity.

A psychiatrist was sent to examine her. She delivered an hour-long lecture on the suffrage movement. Despite the doctor’s favorable report on her sanity, Paul was sent to a mental ward where unbalanced patients were allowed to peer into her room. The women were released from confinement in early December.

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