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After peacefully demonstrating in front of the White House, 33 women endured a night of brutal beatings.
Dorothy Day was described by her fellow suffragists as a “frail girl.” Yet on the night of November 14, 1917, prison guards at the Occoquan Workhouse, did not hold back after she and 32 other women had been arrested several days earlier for picketing outside the White House.
“The two men handling her were twisting her arms above her head. Then suddenly they lifted her up and banged her down over the arm of an iron bench—twice,” recalled 73-year-old Mary Nolan, the oldest of the prisoners, in an account published by Doris Stevens.
As members of the National Woman’s Party, the women and their fellow “Silent Sentinels” had been peacefully demonstrating in the nation’s capital for months, holding banners and placards calling on President Woodrow Wilson to back a federal amendment that would give all U.S. women the right to vote.
Now, these 33 women would endure the most harrowing night in the long history of the suffrage movement.“Never was there a sentence like ours for an offense such as ours, even in England,” Nolan wrote.
By Sarah Pruitt, https:www.history.com/.../night-terror-brutality-suffragists-19th-amendment. Photo: Getty Images.