Lorton in Fairfax County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Suffragist Commemorative Wall
"when the forcible feeding was ordered I was taken from my bed, carried to another room, and forced into a chair, bound with sheets and sat upon bodily by a fat murderess, whose duty it was to keep me still Then the prison doctor, assisted by two women attendants, placed a rubber tube up my nostrils and pumped liquid food through it into the stomach."
—Miss Alice Paul, Philadelphia Inquirer 1917
On November 14, 1917, which became known as the Night of Terror, a trainload of 33 suffragists was brought to the Occoquan Workhouse.
"It seemed to me that everything had been done from the time we reached the workhouse to terrorize us, and my fear lest the extreme of outrage would be worked upon the young girls of our party became intense. It is impossible for me to describe the terror of that night…"
— Eunice Dana Brannon, Jailed for Freedom, 1920
These women endured the most harrowing night in the long history of the suffrage movement. They were beaten, tortured, intimidated, threatened and given no food or drink for 36 hours.
"…hunger-striking, militant suffragists were released yesterday, including Miss Lacy Burns, whom guards described as worth her weight in wild cats; Miss Alice Paul, who can throw a shoe twenty feet and hit a window every time, and Mrs. Lawrence Lewis, whose imitation of a siren has had the attendants dodging imaginary automobiles ever since she went to board at the District's expense."
— The Washington Post, November 28, 1917
All were ordered released by the end of November. Within six weeks, President Wilson addressed Congress to seek an amendment to the Constitution allowing women to vote.
"When all suffrage controversy has died away it will be the little army of women with their purple, white and gold banners, going to prison for their political freedom, that will be remembered."
— Doris Stevens, Jailed for Freedom, 1920
The end pillars of this wall feature an image of the "Jailed for Freedom" prison door pin designed by Alice Paul and awarded to each suffragist who had been imprisoned.
Erected by Turning Point Suffragist Memorial Association.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Civil Rights • Law Enforcement • Women. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #28 Woodrow Wilson series list. A significant historical date for this entry is November 14, 1917.
Location. 38° 40.923′ N, 77° 15.179′ W. Marker is in Lorton, Virginia, in Fairfax County. Marker is on Lorton Road, one mile south of Ox Road (Virginia Route 123), on the left when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 9751 Ox Rd, Lorton VA 22079, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A different marker also named Suffragist Commemorative Wall (here, next to this marker); Silent for Suffrage (a few steps from this marker); Turning Point Suffragist Memorial (a few steps from this marker); "Forward Into Light," Toward Equality, 1920 - Present / The 19th Amendment (a few steps from this marker); "Forward Out of Darkness" / Issuing a Call for Women's Rights (a few steps from this marker); Hard-Fought Ratification Campaigns in the States / The Continued Struggle for Voting Rights (a few steps from this marker); Building a Political Movement / Testing Constitutional Amendments (a few steps from this marker); Victories in 1917 / Suffragists Demonstrated Until Congress Passed the 19th Amendment (a few steps from this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Lorton.
Credits. This page was last revised on May 7, 2022. It was originally submitted on May 6, 2022, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 46 times since then and 4 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on May 6, 2022, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.