DOZ Issue 41 March 2019 - Page 14

DOZ Inspirational Biography Mercy James S ilence would only make things worse than they should be. If you wish to bring about a change, do something about the situation rather than keep quiet or complain without actions. Alice Stokes Paul lived by this philosophy. A feminist, suffragist, and women’s rights activist, she was one of the women whose voice and struggle became the source of the liberty most women are enjoying today. January 11, 1885, marked the birth of this unique woman at Mount Laurel, New Jersey. She was a smart woman from her early days with the mindset to increase the significance of women in making decisions with a general effect on the nation. Alice attended Moorestown Friends School and graduated as the best in her class before proceeding to Swarthmore College where her journey to fame for bringing more relevance to women began. She became part of the student government and got inspired to take part in political activism. Knowledge has been a powerful tool right from the beginning, and it remains a powerful tool to this day. Alice was a woman that recognized the importance and power of knowledge in making a significant change to already existing laws. Although she had learned about women’s suffrage from her mother, Alice, never took a substantial step until after acquiring a master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania. She moved to England where she became part of the movement DOZ Magazine | March 2019 by selling suffragist magazine and later got fully involved in the demonstrations and marches of the women’s social and political union. However, everything has a price. The protests and active involvement of Alice in the movement became the source of criminal records for her. She was arrested and jailed three times before leaving England in 1910 where she acquired more educational knowledge by pursuing a Ph.D. in Sociology. Despite the stigma of being imprisoned and the pain she went through, Alice did what most of the women of this present generation would not have done. She proceeded with her campaign and involvement with the National American Woman Suffrage Association in a more profound way. She advanced to getting involved with the women suffrage procession in 1913, National Woman’s Party and Silent Sentinels in 1916. For the sake of becoming victorious, she took a step when she was locked up in the Occoquan/ District Jail. She embraced a hunger strike due to the poor condition of the prison environment and the food being served. This action led to her transfer to the psycho ward where she was made to feed on raw eggs. Rather than give up because of the pain, Alice continued her fight until there was an amendment of the constitution permitting women to vote. Her steadfastness earned her a place in history and the heart of many women even after her death on 9 July 1977. The amendment was named after her as Alice Paul Amendment. Through the pain, endurance, and sacrifice of this great woman, the constitution was amended to allow women to vote. If you genuinely want to make a difference in the world and the lives of women as she did, pain should never be an obstacle. Instead, it should be a motivation to do more. 14 Alice Stokes Paul