The new Lucy Burns Museum, slated to open in mid-2018, occupies two buildings that had been as soon as a part of a jail the place a pivotal turning level within the Women’s Suffrage motion happened. The 8000 sq ft exhibit area, half of what’s now the Workhouse Arts Center, will embrace professionally curated displays, shows and artifacts—together with the unique jail log e-book—that honor the suffragists and element their efforts to assist cross the 19th modification.
During the so-called “Night of Terror,” which happened right here in November 1917, a peaceable picketing marketing campaign for the suitable to vote turned violent, as ladies had been arrested, crushed, pinched, kicked and chained.
Alice Paul, Lucy Burns, Dorothy Day, and different members of the National Woman’s Party, had been decided to persuade President Woodrow Wilson to again a brand new modification permitting ladies the suitable to vote. They marched in entrance of the White House with banners, the primary time any group had dared picket the president’s home.
“It was a great embarrassment for the president,” mentioned museum docent Alan Mckie. “Especially as we were fighting the Germans in WWI.”
At first, President Wilson was well mannered, inviting them in for tea. Finally, he grew to become impatient. The suffragists had been arrested and fined for “obstructing sidewalk traffic,” some many instances. And nonetheless they returned to picketing. Then, on November 15, 1917, 33 ladies had been thrown into the Lorton Workhouse, the place the warden ordered his guards to show them a lesson. “Lucy Burns was chained to the top of her cell and forced to hang overnight,” mentioned Mckie.
The guards smashed Dora Lewis’ head towards an iron mattress, leaving her unconscious. Alice Cosu suffered a coronary heart assault and was not supplied medical treatment till the following morning. Dorothy Day was slammed repeatedly over the again of an iron bench.
And but, the ladies persevered. After their eventual release, they went on a Whistle Stop Tour across the nation in makeshift jail garb, galvanizing public help with their tales of the Night of Terror and bringing new momentum to the motion. President Wilson lastly caved, advising Congress to cross the 19th modification. Women had been allowed to vote for the primary time within the nationwide elections in November 1920.
“It was a transforming moment in American history that happened here,” mentioned Mckie.