Lucy Burns - Imprisoned at the Occoquan Workhouse

WARNING - THIS CLIP DEPICTS GRAPHIC SCENES OF MISTREATMENT IN A PRISON SETTING.  VIEWING THIS MATERIAL MAY BE UNSETTLING FOR CHILDREN.  PROCEED WITH CAUTION.

Instead of paying a $10 fine for obstructing sidewalk traffic in front of the White House, Lucy Burns and other activists are sent to a Virginia workhouse for 60 days.  Staying in small cells, they are soon abused and mistreated.  Prison officials are ordered to do things to the women they should never have been ordered to do.

The Library of Congress, through its American Memory section, provides more details:

Burns was arrested and imprisoned six times.  Declaring that suffragists were political prisoners, she was among those in the Occoquan Workhouse who instigated hunger strikes in October 1917 and were subsequently placed in solitary confinement.

Lucy Burns eventually serves more prison time than any other suffragist:

Leader of most of the picket demonstrations, she served more time in jail than any other suffragists in America.  Arrested picketing June 1917, sentenced to 3 days; arrested Sept. 1917, sentenced to 60 days; arrested Nov. 10, 1917, sentenced to 6 months; in Jan. 1919 arrested at watchfire demonstrations, for which she served one 3 day and two 5 day sentences.  She also served 4 prison terms in England.

Meanwhile, Alice Paul decides to support Lucy Burns and the other imprisoned women (including Kate Heffelfinger, shown here as she leaves confinement) with more radical actions of her own.

See, also:

Alice Paul - Chairman of the Congressional Committee

Alice Paul and Lucy Burns - Building the Base

Suffragette Parade - March 13, 1913

Success and Resistance - Alice Paul Keeps Fighting

Breaking Ranks within the Women's Movement

Lucy Burns - Let's Picket the White House

Lucy Burns and Alice Paul - Advocates for Women


Alice Paul - Occoquan Workhouse


Alice Paul - Force Feeding at Occoquan Workhouse

Victory - The 19th Amendment is Ratified

Credits

Clip from "Iron-Jawed Angels" (2004), an HBO film about suffragettes fighting for a constitutional amendment, giving American women the right to vote. 

Clips online, courtesy HBO and YouTube.  All copyrights/ownership rights belong to HBO.  Provided here as "fair use" for educational purposes and to acquaint new viewers with the program.

Director:

Katja von Garnier

Producers:
Len Amato
Lydia Dean Pilcher
Robin Forman
Paula Weinstein

Writers:
Sally Robinson
Eugenia Bostwick-Singer
Raymond Singer
Jennifer Friedes

Starring:

Hilary Swank - Alice Paul
Frances O'Connor - Lucy Burns
Molly Parker - Emily Leighton (a fictional character portrayed as a senator's wife)
Laura Fraser - Doris Stevens
Lois Smith - Rev. Dr. Anna Howard Shaw
Vera Farmiga - Ruza Wenclawska (also known as Rose Winslow)
Brooke Smith - Mabel Vernon
Patrick Dempsey - Ben Weissman (a fictional character)
Julia Ormond - Inez Milholland
Adilah Barnes - Ida Wells-Barnett
Anjelica Huston - Carrie Chapman Catt

Music:
Reinhold Heil
Johnny Klimek

Cinematography:
Robbie Greenberg

Editing:
Hans Funck

Distributor:
HBO Films

Release date:
February 15, 2004

Running time:
125 minutes

Quoted passages from an article by Sheridan Harvey, online at the Library of Congress - American Memory - web site.

For more details about this period of American history, as women struggled for the right to vote, see this American Memory story (in PDF format) from the Library of Congress.

 

Awesome Stories Silver Membership Required
Registration for an Awesome Stories account is quick and free.
Awesome Stories Silver Membership Required
Registration for an Awesome Stories account is quick and free.