As Alice Paul steps up the pressure on both political parties to deliver the 36th and final State ratification needed to put the Susan B. Anthony (woman suffrage) Amendment into the Constitution, a potentially major roadblock was brushed aside today by the District of Columbia’s Supreme Court.
“Our aim would be to humanize society by bringing the values of women’s culture into it, not simply to put individual women into men’s politics.”
“They’re fun to watch. They hit the ball back and forth, have a lot of nice volleys. You can see some pretty legs. But compare the caliber of tennis to men and it’s night and day. I’m out to prove that a guy 55 years old, with one foot in the grave, can play the best woman in the world and maybe beat her. It’ll be a big boost for men’s superiority.”
Blatch spoke, and asked her listeners if they knew ” … why we have the poorest city governments in this country of any civilized nation in the world?” Intuitively knowing the correct answer at this point, the crowd shouted along with her: “Because we don’t let women vote!”
Though time is short, and just 256 days remain until the original deadline expires, today’s turnout has caused a justifiable boost in optimism. There’s a universal consensus among everyone here that E.R.A. ratification is only a question of “when” or “how” and not “if,” because as in the struggle for suffrage, there is no time limit on seeking equality, or how long feminists are willing to work for that goal.
Regardless of whether Charles Evans Hughes actively works for suffrage, or becomes President, just the fact that he considers Alice Paul to be enough of a political force in this country to agree to a private meeting with her despite his rigorous campaign schedule shows the power of our suffrage movement in general, and the growing influence of the militant faction in particular.
“By taking action on the day following his nomination to secure ratification by a Southern State, Mr. Cox is making an excellent beginning. He is evidently striving to make the suffrage plank of his platform an actuality. If his efforts continue with sufficient vigor there is little doubt of ratification by at least one of three possible Democratic States – Louisiana, Tennessee, and North Carolina.”
Of course, more conservative methods of achieving “Votes for Women” are endorsed by suffragists like Carrie Chapman Catt and organizations such as the National American Woman Suffrage Association. Their efforts clearly help our cause of equal suffrage as well, but some militant action is also vital to victory. So the courage and determination of Alice Paul’s “Silent Sentinels” should be praised, and their efforts supported until the Anthony Amendment, which bans discrimination at the polls on account of sex, is safely and permanently in the U.S. Constitution.
“The scope of woman power in American industry and commerce today is shown in the variety of jobs held for the first time by women. We have women who scrape the carbon from pipes in oil refineries, women who seal ton rolls of paper in the pulp mills, women who wash down locomotives, drive buses, operate foundry cranes and pilot tugboats.”
So, as befits a work in progress, there were two competing ceremonies today to mark America’s Centennial. Men stood on one side of Independence Hall praising the nation’s accomplishments and looking back to 1776, while on the other side, Susan B. Anthony was reminding us of how much still needs to be done if we are to be a true democracy at the next such celebration in 1976.