forty two years in the white house

January 10, 1917 - “Silent Sentinels” begin Two-and-a-Half Yearlong Protest for Women’s Suffrage

Pictured -  Taking to the streets.

Woodrow Wilson might have looked out his window on January 10, 1917, to see a protest, but he probably did not predict it would be there six days a week for the next two-and-a-half years. Picketing outside the White House was a group of women with signs calling for equality and the vote. Organized by the suffragette organization the National Woman’s Party, the protesters were the “Silent Sentinels”.

Wilson did not take the protesters seriously at first, and laughed the display off by tipping his hat or inviting them in for coffee. As days turned to weeks, and then months, however, US governmental opinion soured. Beginning in late 1917, the police frequently harassed and arrested the protesters. On November 14, 1917, forty policemen followed orders to beat, brutalize, and torture many of the demonstrators, the “Night of Terror”.  Undeterred, the maintained their vigil every week until June 1919, when the United State Congress passed the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote.