On Jan. 21, thousands of people from across the country will demonstrate their First Amendment rights by assembling in our nation’s capital for the Women’s March on Washington. Their message: “Women’s rights are human rights.”
One hundred years ago today, another group of women picketed the White House — for the first time in history — to demand votes for women. The occupant was Woodrow Wilson. They became known as the “Silent Sentinels.” Their protests continued for months. Hundreds were jailed. Suffragists staged a hunger strike to protest their imprisonment.
Their actions called attention to the women’s suffrage movement and the National Woman’s Party (NWP), which led the protests. By 1919, the Senate passed the 19th Amendment, granting women the right to vote. By 1920, it was law.
As women again take a stand in Washington later this month, it’s worth reflecting on this historic milestone and how it shaped the power of the First Amendment.
Below, view historic newspapers from the Newseum’s collection reporting the 1917 protests.