Inez: The Life and Times of Inez Milholland (Google eBook)
Inez Milholland was the most glamorous suffragist of the 1910s and a fearless crusader for women's rights. Moving in radical circles, she agitated for social change in the prewar years, and she epitomized the independent New Woman of the time. Her death at age 30 while stumping for suffrage in California in 1916 made her the sole martyr of the American suffrage movement. Her death helped inspire two years of militant protests by the National Woman's Party, including the picketing of the White House, which led in 1920 to ratification of the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote. Lumsden's study of this colorful and influential figure restores to history an important link between the homebound women of the 19th century and the iconoclastic feminists of the 1970s.
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This book is a fair, even-handed report on Inez Milholland's life. Since she is my great-aunt, I have tended like most of her contemporaries (including her father and husband) to put her on a pedestal. Linda Lumsden does not shrink from showing facts about Inez at odds with sainthood status!
However, having just come from the 100th anniversary of the march on Washington on the eve of Woodrow Wilson's inauguration, Inez Milholland's place is made crystal clear. When the suffragists paraded on March 4, 1913, there were fewer than 30 black women in the line of march. With 5,000-8,000 in the parade, that represents roughly half a percent of the marchers. The streets were lined with men who came to ogle the young women on parade - 500,000 of them by one report.
For the 22 young women from Howard University, who a little more than a month earlier had broken away from the socializing Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority to create a sorority dedicated to public service and social activism, this was their first public activity. They were the only black organization to participate in the parade.
It is hard to remember now how badly blacks were treated then. The march organizers - Alice Paul and the rest of the Congressional Committee of NAWSA - were not keen to allow the new sorority to march in the parade. It was embarrassing for southerners to see black women marching in a parade because it reminded them that adding more women voters would add add more black voters and might also remind some of the Jim Crow laws.
Suffragist Mary Church Terrell reported that the Delta Sigma Theta marchers were required to assemble in a segregated area. She also said that "If [Paul] and other white suffragist leaders could get the Anthony Amendment through without enfranchising African American women, they would do so."
Linda Lumsden's book makes clear that however much Inez Milholland may have gone along with racist sentiments in other contexts, she was firm about the participation of Delta Sigma Theta. Milholland was a member of the NAACP - her father John E. Milholland was its founding Treasurer a few years before. Terrell says Milholland insisted the Howard contingent be allowed to march. Emmett Scott, Howard's secretary-treasurer, said Milholland "was unwilling to participate in a parade symbolizing a movement which was not big enough or broad enough to live up to the principles for which it was contending." (See Inez, p. 91, accessible via books.google.com - here - http://bit.ly/YriaZZ.)
Alice Paul had already featured Inez Milholland as the parade herald. The threat of Inez's withdrawal must have been serious enough to force a concession. But the Congressional Committee apparently decided to move the Howard University contingent to the back of the parade.
Well, on the 100th anniversary march, the complexion of the parade was very much different. This time Delta Sigma Theta mustered, they reported, 20,000 marchers to be in Washington for the Centennial parade, out of their world-wide membership of 300,000. This time, 100 years later, this one sorority must have been 90 percent or more of the parade. The parade was scheduled to start at 9:30 am on Sunday but by the time the Deltas assembled at the foot of the Capitol were emptied out and other groups started to march it was 10:45 am.
The women's groups were there, some in suffragist costume, but they were few in number. I saw just a couple dozen each from the League of Women Voters (successor to NAWSA), the National Woman's Party (successor to the breakaway Congressional Committee of NAWSA), the National Organization of Women, the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial Committee. It was good to see all these worthy women (and some men) there, but Inez's insistence that the Deltas be in the march was an eye-opener for me.
Thank you for the biography, Linda Lumsden.
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My Hero : Library
Inez: The Life and Times of Inez Milholland by Linda J. Lumsden ISBN: 0253344182 MY HERO recommends this book to adult readers. ...
myhero.com/ readingroom/ retrieve.asp?id=936
Inez Milholland - Vassar College Encyclopedia
Lumsden, Linda J. Inez: The Life and Times of Inez Milholland. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press. 2004. ...
vcencyclopedia.vassar.edu/ index.php/ Inez_Milholland
Talking History Archive: July - December 2004
... at Western Kentucky University and the author of the recently published Inez: The Life and Times of Inez Milholland (Indiana University Press, 2004). ...
www.albany.edu/ talkinghistory/ arch2004july-december.html
Elizabeth Cady Stanton Luncheon , Women's Center — University of ...
Her most recent book, Inez: The Life and Times of Inez Milholland, is the definitive biography of suffragist Inez Milholland, a contemporary of Alice Paul. ...
louisville.edu/ womenscenter/ events/ document.2007-09-17.4193390485