On March 3, 1913, a march down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington D.C. was organized by Alice Paul for the National American Woman Suffrage Association. The official program stated “the march and the attention it attracted were important in advancing woman’s suffrage in the United States."
The Occoquan Workhouse played a significant role in the cause of women suffragists seeking the right to vote. In 1917, more than 70 suffragists were jailed in the Occoquan Workhouse, then part of the Lorton Prison Complex. As punishment for picketing the White House and inciting unlawful assembly and traffic obstruction, the suffragists received sentences of up to 6 months which included inhumane conditions with force feedings, beatings, lack of nourishment, and being chained to the cell walls.
Nellie Bly, a famous journalist of that era, with uncanny foresight, said that despite the pageantry of 1913 it would take at least seven more years before the 19th Amendment to the Constitution which gave women full rights to vote, would pass both houses of Congress and be ratified by the required 36 states. Nellie Bly was right!
The Golden Goose of Occoquan and The Workhouse Prison Museum at Lorton have collaborated in the introduction of the first of an anticipated series of three Byers’ Choice Carolers commemorating the 100th Anniversary of these valiant women who fought for and achieved The Woman’s Right to Vote.
The first Caroler is now available at the Golden Goose and the Occoquan Workhouse Museum. To contact the Golden Goose, call 703-494-4964. To contact the Occoquan Workhouse Museum, call 703-584-2900.