League of Women Voters of Needham Honors the SILENT SENTINELS
in the Needham July 4 Parade–Wins Grand Prize!
Click here to Watch the video of our float!
The Needham League of Women Voters honored the suffragists known as the “Silent Sentinels”; the first group ever to picket the White House. Our float featured a replica of the Woodrow Wilson White House 100 years ago, in 1919. League members donned period costumes and marched with the White House. The float included historically accurate signs and banners, and Alice Paul broadcasting details about the Sentinels from the back. The Needham Women’s Club followed in period costumes.
Throughout 1917 to 1919, a group of suffragists organized by Alice Paul and the National Woman’s Party became the first group ever to protest in front of the White House. Their goal was to convince President Woodrow Wilson to support publicly an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would guarantee a woman’s right to vote.
The protesters were called “Silent Sentinels,” because they protested without speaking a word, six days a week. Throughout a two-year vigil, nearly 2,000 women picketed; hundreds were arrested, and many were jailed, beaten, went on hunger strikes, were force-fed and horribly and unjustly treated by local and U.S. authorities.
Finally, on June 4, 1919, both houses of Congress adopted the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, with the support of President Wilson. Only 21 days later, on June 25, 1919, Massachusetts was the eighth state to ratify the amendment. Three-quarters of the 48 states were required for ratification; when Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify, the 19th Amendment was adopted on August 26, 1920.
[Source: Women’s Suffrage Celebration Coalition]
The Exchange Club’s theme for the 2019 July 4 parade was “Celebrating 100 Years of Women’s Right to Vote,” to honor the 100th Anniversary of the Ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which established the right of women to vote in all elections.