Belmont-Paul Women's Equality National Monument

Belmont-Paul Women's Equality National Monument Welcome to the official page for the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument. For visitor information, visit http://www.nps.gov/bepa.
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Home to the National Woman's Party for over 90 years, this was the epicenter of the struggle for women's suffrage and women's rights. From this house in the shadow of the U.S. Capitol and Supreme Court, Alice Paul and the NWP developed innovative strategies and tactics to secure passage of the 19th Amendment and more. President Barack Obama designated the national monument on April 12, 2016.

Operating as usual

On July 9, 1978, the one year anniversary of Alice Paul's death, the streets of Washington, D.C. were filled with marche...
07/12/2021

On July 9, 1978, the one year anniversary of Alice Paul's death, the streets of Washington, D.C. were filled with marchers wearing the colors of the National Woman's Party: purple, white, and gold. Over one hundred thousand women and men gathered that day in Alice's honor to support the Equal Rights Amendment she championed. They demonstrated to petition Congress to extend the ratification deadline, which was imposed when the amendment passed in 1972 and was set to expire the next year. Even though polling showed that a majority of Americans supported the #ERA, ratification was stalled, three states short of the ratifications needed to make the amendment part of the U.S. Constitution. The larger-than-expected turnout, which shocked organizers and delayed the rally at the Capitol as police scrambled to contain the crowds, made it appear that success was on the horizon.

Were you at the march? What do you remember about the Equal Rights Amendment?

This pin from the march is one of the many promotional items from the campaign for the #EqualRightsAmendment that are included in the NWP collection, now cared for by the National Park Service. #MuseumMonday

We love this photo of two incredible women in the struggle for equality! Learn more from our friends at the Mary McLeod ...
07/10/2021

We love this photo of two incredible women in the struggle for equality! Learn more from our friends at the Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site and Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site. #BeyondThe19th #FindYourPark #EncuentraTuParque

Happy Birthday to one of Maggie L. Walker's closest friends and colleagues, Mary McLeod Bethune! Maggie L. Walker and Mary McLeod Bethune worked together in a variety of organizations and causes, most notably improving the lives of African-American women across the country. Whether it was with the NAACP or the National Association of Colored Women, these two prominent women helped lay a foundation for generations of women after them that still continues to this day.

"I never wanted to do anything but this." After a lifetime in the ongoing struggle for women's equality, Alice Paul died...
07/09/2021

"I never wanted to do anything but this."

After a lifetime in the ongoing struggle for women's equality, Alice Paul died #OnThisDay July 9, 1977. In the last decade of her life, a "second wave" of feminists fighting for women's liberation wanted to learn more about the elderly women in the stately old headquarters on Capitol Hill who had fought so courageously for the right to vote. But Alice Paul often grew impatient with anyone who prompted her to reminisce about the past. She wanted to talk about the work that still needed to be done. For Alice, that work included the ratification of the #EqualRightsAmendment. It was a victory that she would not live to see. #BeyondThe19th

Photo: Alice Paul standing in the hallway of the NWP headquarters in 1972. Cover photo for Smithsonian Magazine November 1972 article, "How Alice Paul Became the Most Militant Feminist of Them All," by Lynne Cheney

"I never wanted to do anything but this."

After a lifetime in the ongoing struggle for women's equality, Alice Paul died #OnThisDay July 9, 1977. In the last decade of her life, a "second wave" of feminists fighting for women's liberation wanted to learn more about the elderly women in the stately old headquarters on Capitol Hill who had fought so courageously for the right to vote. But Alice Paul often grew impatient with anyone who prompted her to reminisce about the past. She wanted to talk about the work that still needed to be done. For Alice, that work included the ratification of the #EqualRightsAmendment. It was a victory that she would not live to see. #BeyondThe19th

Photo: Alice Paul standing in the hallway of the NWP headquarters in 1972. Cover photo for Smithsonian Magazine November 1972 article, "How Alice Paul Became the Most Militant Feminist of Them All," by Lynne Cheney

Did you know that the cat in this cartoon is a secret message? In the early 20th century, cartoonists often included cat...
07/07/2021

Did you know that the cat in this cartoon is a secret message?

In the early 20th century, cartoonists often included cats to represent passive, docile women in the domestic sphere. Dogs were masculine, out in the world, taking care of business. These symbols showed up in anti-suffrage propaganda to illustrate the confusion of gender roles if women became involved in manly pursuits like voting. Who would take care of the household and the children if women were out in the world? Cats were used to ridicule the mannish women and the emasculated men that would be the inevitable result of women voting. Men pictured as stuck with the drudgery of laundry and crying babies were shown with cats at their feet, the ultimate humiliation.

The 1914 Nina Allender cartoon is an example of suffragists reclaiming the cat image. Titled "The Inspiration of the Suffrage Worker," it shows a weary woman holding a toddler while another little girl plays with a cat in the street of a working-class neighborhood. For those women caring for home and children, it seems to say, we will fight for you, too. The young mother in the cartoon is anything but delicate and passive. She looks just as determined as the suffragists. The little girl petting the cat will grow up in a world where women have a voice. #BeyondThe19th

Learn more about Women's Suffrage and the Cat: https://www.nps.gov/articles/womens-suffrage-and-the-cat.htm

Did you know that the cat in this cartoon is a secret message?

In the early 20th century, cartoonists often included cats to represent passive, docile women in the domestic sphere. Dogs were masculine, out in the world, taking care of business. These symbols showed up in anti-suffrage propaganda to illustrate the confusion of gender roles if women became involved in manly pursuits like voting. Who would take care of the household and the children if women were out in the world? Cats were used to ridicule the mannish women and the emasculated men that would be the inevitable result of women voting. Men pictured as stuck with the drudgery of laundry and crying babies were shown with cats at their feet, the ultimate humiliation.

The 1914 Nina Allender cartoon is an example of suffragists reclaiming the cat image. Titled "The Inspiration of the Suffrage Worker," it shows a weary woman holding a toddler while another little girl plays with a cat in the street of a working-class neighborhood. For those women caring for home and children, it seems to say, we will fight for you, too. The young mother in the cartoon is anything but delicate and passive. She looks just as determined as the suffragists. The little girl petting the cat will grow up in a world where women have a voice. #BeyondThe19th

Learn more about Women's Suffrage and the Cat: https://www.nps.gov/articles/womens-suffrage-and-the-cat.htm

The Spirit of '76!In this Nina Allender cartoon, an all-woman fife-and-drum corps marches, advocating for a "Constitutio...
07/04/2021

The Spirit of '76!

In this Nina Allender cartoon, an all-woman fife-and-drum corps marches, advocating for a "Constitutional Amendment" (the flag) enfranchising women. Suffragists often quoted the founding documents of the United States and used images of patriotism to support their fight for the vote. What could be more patriotic than having a voice in your government? #19thAmendment #IndependenceDay #FourthOfJuly

How will you be showing your patriotism today?

The Spirit of '76!

In this Nina Allender cartoon, an all-woman fife-and-drum corps marches, advocating for a "Constitutional Amendment" (the flag) enfranchising women. Suffragists often quoted the founding documents of the United States and used images of patriotism to support their fight for the vote. What could be more patriotic than having a voice in your government? #19thAmendment #IndependenceDay #FourthOfJuly

How will you be showing your patriotism today?

"Any person, any person, can accomplish enormous amounts, if she is just determined to do it." Alice Paul reflected on t...
07/02/2021

"Any person, any person, can accomplish enormous amounts, if she is just determined to do it."

Alice Paul reflected on these parting words from her friend Emily Wilding Davison as she sailed back to America in 1910, after her time with the suffragettes of the Woman Social and Political Union in the U.K. Alice and Emily both went to prison in Britain for their participation in suffrage demonstrations; both protested their imprisonment with hunger strikes. Emily was also blasted with a firehose when she barricaded herself in a cell to avoid the torture of forced feeding. Alice later credited Emily's encouragement for her decision to continue in the fight for women's right to vote in the U.S.

Just as Alice was celebrating her first political victory--a favorable report from the Senate woman suffrage committee--she received horrifying news of her friend. On June 4, 1913, Emily Davidson threw herself in front of the King's horse during a national derby, holding a suffrage flag. She was trampled and later died of her injuries. She became a martyr for the cause for many suffragettes in the WSPU, who became increasingly more violent in the fight for the vote.

Alice Paul distanced herself from these tactics, but still drew inspiration from Emily. "Afterwards, when I felt lonely or inadequate, I would think of Emily, of her great courage, a constant reminder of what one person can do."

Learn more about the influence of the British suffrage movement on Alice Paul: https://www.nps.gov/articles/000/suffragette-suffragist-the-influence-of-the-british-suffrage-movement.htm

When did you first vote? #OnThisDay 50 years ago, July 1, 1971, the ratification of the #26thAmendment to the U.S. Const...
07/01/2021

When did you first vote?

#OnThisDay 50 years ago, July 1, 1971, the ratification of the #26thAmendment to the U.S. Constitution opened up voting rights to younger American citizens 18-20 years old, who had been demanding the vote since World War II. The amendment reads:

"The right of citizens of the United States, who are 18 years of age or older, to vote, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of age."

Although the Voting Rights Act of 1965 included similar language, legal scholars and eventually the Supreme Court said that congressional legislation regarding voting age could only apply to national elections for President and Vice President. It would take a change to the U.S. Constitution to affect voting at the state and local level. It might have taken decades to get an amendment through Congress, but the ratification process for the 26th amendment was the fastest in U.S. history. #BeyondThe19th

Photo: Seattle youths demand that the voting age be lowered from 21 to 18 during a 1969 demonstration. Tom Bartlet, Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Preserved by the Museum of History and Industry

When did you first vote?

#OnThisDay 50 years ago, July 1, 1971, the ratification of the #26thAmendment to the U.S. Constitution opened up voting rights to younger American citizens 18-20 years old, who had been demanding the vote since World War II. The amendment reads:

"The right of citizens of the United States, who are 18 years of age or older, to vote, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of age."

Although the Voting Rights Act of 1965 included similar language, legal scholars and eventually the Supreme Court said that congressional legislation regarding voting age could only apply to national elections for President and Vice President. It would take a change to the U.S. Constitution to affect voting at the state and local level. It might have taken decades to get an amendment through Congress, but the ratification process for the 26th amendment was the fastest in U.S. history. #BeyondThe19th

Photo: Seattle youths demand that the voting age be lowered from 21 to 18 during a 1969 demonstration. Tom Bartlet, Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Preserved by the Museum of History and Industry

Although the pickets from the National Woman's Party were never charged under the Espionage Act, suffragist Dr. Marie Eq...
06/30/2021

Although the pickets from the National Woman's Party were never charged under the Espionage Act, suffragist Dr. Marie Equi was arrested #OnThisDay June 30, 1918, and charged with sedition stemming from her protest at a War Preparedness parade. She was sentenced to three years in San Quentin prison.

Dr. Equi wrote to President Wilson’s office requesting clemency, maintaining that her same-sex relationships were the root of the federal investigation against her. Dr. Equi took great offense to the prosecution’s homophobia in using the phrases “unsexed woman” and “her kind” in reference to Equi and ensured her remarks made it into the record in both court and official documents. Wilson shortened her sentence to 1 year, and she was released after 10 months.

In addition to protesting the war and fighting for the right to vote, Dr. Equi was an agitator for labor rights and women's access to health care, including birth control and abortion. She had several long-term romantic relationships with women throughout her life. She and her partner Harriet Speckart adopted an infant daughter, Mary, in 1915. Equi and Speckert continued to co-parent even after their relationship ended, until Speckert's death in 1927. When their daughter grew up, Mary Jr., as she was called, became the youngest female pilot in Oregon. #PrideMonth #BeyondThe19th

Learn more about Dr. Marie Equi: https://www.nps.gov/people/drmarie-equi.htm

"Our course is very plain before us. We have tried the things we have thought best in the last five years; we know prett...
06/28/2021

"Our course is very plain before us. We have tried the things we have thought best in the last five years; we know pretty well where we stand; we know what is good and what is not good; we know what to discard and what to use to the very limit of our ability. Those are our future plans, to go right straight on until the amendment is won." Mabel Vernon speech, "The Picketing Campaign Nears Victory," December 7, 1917.

Throughout the museum exhibits of the Belmont-Paul Women's Equality National Monument, you will find photos of National Woman's Party secretary Mabel Vernon. Mabel worked in every aspect of the fight for the #19thAmendment. She helped Alice Paul organize the March 3, 1913, woman suffrage march in Washington, D.C. She coordinated the Silent Sentinels campaign at the White House, recruiting volunteers for each day’s picket. She was a major fundraiser for the NWP; her speeches were legendary for convincing donors to give even more. She interrupted President Wilson’s Independence Day speech in 1916 and disrupted his address to Congress later that year by dropping a huge suffrage banner from the visitors’ balcony. And she was one of the suffrage prisoners who went to jail rather than pay a fine for “obstructing traffic.” #MuseumMonday

After women won the vote in 1920, Mabel continued her efforts for women's equality, campaigning for women running for Congress and supporting the Equal Rights Amendment. In the 1930s, she turned her efforts towards the cause of international peace, especially in Latin America. She served as a delegate for the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom at international conferences and was a member of an inter-American delegation at the founding of the United Nations. She and partner Consuelo Reyes-Calderon continued the work for peace together until Mabel’s death in 1975. #Pride #BeyondThe19th

Read an oral history with pioneer Mabel Vernon at the Online Archive of California: https://oac.cdlib.org/view?docId=kt2r29n5pb&&doc.view=entire_text

What is the right way to protest?Many people mistakenly believe that the suffragists of the National Woman's Party  chai...
06/26/2021

What is the right way to protest?

Many people mistakenly believe that the suffragists of the National Woman's Party chained themselves to the White House fence during their protests in 1917. The Silent Sentinels only stood at the gates holding their banners and were arrested for "obstructing traffic."

But women have used the tactic of locking themselves in place to get the nation's attention for their cause. In this photo from 1971, thirty-seven women have chained themselves to the fence of the Executive Office Building, next door to the White House, to protest the Vietnam War. "We're symbolically placing our bodies between the government and our children," said a spokesperson for the group. "The violence is not going to end until people like us are willing to commit themselves to much greater sacrifice." The protestors were not arrested; they ended the demonstration by evening.

Photo: Women chained to EOB fence, April 13, 1971. Marion S. Trikosko, photographer. Library of Congress

What is the right way to protest?

Many people mistakenly believe that the suffragists of the National Woman's Party chained themselves to the White House fence during their protests in 1917. The Silent Sentinels only stood at the gates holding their banners and were arrested for "obstructing traffic."

But women have used the tactic of locking themselves in place to get the nation's attention for their cause. In this photo from 1971, thirty-seven women have chained themselves to the fence of the Executive Office Building, next door to the White House, to protest the Vietnam War. "We're symbolically placing our bodies between the government and our children," said a spokesperson for the group. "The violence is not going to end until people like us are willing to commit themselves to much greater sacrifice." The protestors were not arrested; they ended the demonstration by evening.

Photo: Women chained to EOB fence, April 13, 1971. Marion S. Trikosko, photographer. Library of Congress

Address

144 Constitution Ave NE
Washington D.C., DC
20002

The site is located a short walk from Metro. From the Orange/Blue/Silver lines, use the Capitol South station; from the Red line, use Union Station.

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