Image description: These small silver “Jailed for Freedom” pins in the shape of prison doors with heart-shaped locks were presented to suffragettes in celebration of their release from prison at a meeting in December 1917.
The women, members of the National Woman’s Party, had been arrested outside the White House for protesting against the government’s failure to pass a constitutional amendment giving women the right to vote. They are considered to have been the first people to ever picket the White House.
In June 1917, the D.C. police began arresting picketers for obstructing sidewalk traffic. Over 150 women were sentenced to terms ranging from 60 days to 6 months in the Occoquan Workhouse. When their demands to be treated as political prisoners were ignored, they went on hunger strikes and were forcibly fed. The publicity surrounding their ordeal generated public sympathy for the suffragists and their cause. Learn more about the National Woman’s Party.
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