Monday, November 11, 2013

Sketch of Lucy Burns for a book on American Suffrage to be publ.d by Disney/Hyperion, 2016. On this day of remembrance I'd like to honor a courageous American patriot- Lucy Burns. She didn't wear a uniform- unless a prison smock qualifies- nor did she carry a weapon, excepting the truth. Lucy Burns was a leader in the "Women's Rights" movement during the decade just prior to it's passage in 1920. Often maligned and abused by the male political power structure of the time, she spent months in prison all because she believed in the right of women to vote. As a prisoner at Occoquan Workhouse, Lucy Burns suffered at the hands of the prison administration and it's guard during what is remembered as the “Night of Terror.”. Lucy, along with several other women suffragists were beaten, bound and refused medical attention. In an effort to unite her sisters, several times Lucy called a roll call that evening, despite threats from the guards. Eventually they handcuffed Lucy's hands to the bar above the door, allowing her to hang there all night. In support and sympathy, her sisters placed their hands above their cell doors and remained that way until she was released. Eventually, in an effort to squash her influence, Burns was moved away from the other suffragists. When she went on a hunger strike she was force fed. Held down by five guards, they forced a tube up her nose and poured raw egg into her nasal passages. 
Many believe that this horrendous treatment was condoned by President Wilson because Burns and the other suffragists embarrassed him one evening prior to their arrests when, during a visit from a Russian delegation, the women held up signs in from of the White House which read "We women of America tell you that America is not a democracy, twenty million women are denied the right to vote. President Wilson is the chief opponent of their national enfranchisement". 

Pencil, 2013.

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