My friend and student Marguerite Kearns comes from a venerable line of women who fought for suffrage and more. As light returns after winter solstice and many of us prepare to march on state capitals as well as the nations, a bit of rousing turn of the century poetry is never amiss! She sent me this:
“Forward, out of error
Leave behind the night
Forward through the darkness
Forward into light!”
It’s from a hymn that was adapted for the women’s suffrage movement and used by Inez Milholland in suffrage banners in marches, starting in 1911.
Who was Inez Milholland? I consider myself fairy knowledgeable about women’s history in the U.S., having written a young reader’s book on Women’s Suffrage for Lucent Books back in the day when I was a writer for hire. But I didn’t know who she was. Turns out, Inez Milholland is considered a martyr for women’s suffrage. Wikipedia has this to say:
In 1916 she went on a tour in the West speaking for women’s rights as a member of the National Woman’s Party. She undertook the tour despite suffering from pernicious anemia and despite the admonitions of her family who were concerned about her deteriorating health. On October 22, 1916, she collapsed in the middle of a speech in Los Angeles, California at Blanchard hall and was rushed to Good Samaritan Hospital. Despite repeated blood transfusions, she died on November 25, 1916.
Milholland’s last public words were, “Mr. President, how long must women wait for liberty?”
Kearns writes in her blog:
Inez Milholland (1886-1916) died in the course of working for women’s rights. The year 2016 marked the centennial of her death in California. In 2015, U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier nominated Milholland for a presidential citizens medal. Yet it is possible that there will be a change in administrations in Washington, DC and Milholland’s nomination will fall into the cracks.
Inez Milholland led the first inaugural women’s march in Washington, DC of 8,000 to 10,000 women in 1913. The 2017 women’s march in mid-January is the second such inaugural march of women designed to draw attention to women’s rights.
For more on the effort to give Inez Milholland her due, follow