Today seems to be a good day to remember and honor my Great Grandma Elizabeth Schmidt. Today I found hope and found some peace in what happened to her. Today I saw that women in America and all around the world are a sisterhood.
“Those who have long enjoyed such privileges as we enjoy forget in time that men have died to win them.“ – Franklin D. Roosevelt”
We usually think of veterans when we think of the quote above. However, there are others who have died for these “privileges” (rights?) some of us enjoy.
Here is a picture of an actual suffragist from back in the day. She had a teaching certification from Cornell and worked hard supporting her family. She was married and had a loving supportive husband. One of the things he supported was that she was a working mom. btw, He was a rancher.
At some point she got this crazy notion that she should be allowed to vote and have full civil rights. So she went to a big city to march (I think it was Chicago) and was arrested. After she was arrested she was imprisoned along with many other women who marched with her. They went on a hunger strike and the wardens decided to force feed them.
They had this horrible contraption that really was more like a torture device. It involved forcing the women’s jaws open with a mechanism akin to a trap device. It would spring open with great force and broke many of these ladies jaws in the process.
The lady in the picture wasn’t that fortunate. The next step was to insert a feeding tube. Once again, very little attention to the woman’s wellbeing was considered. So, they punctured her esophagus with that tube. She developed an infection that proved fatal and was sent home to die. Also, she couldn’t eat either and starvation may have contributed to her death as well. She died about six months before the Nineteenth Amendment was ratified.
My grandma was 12 years old when she lost her mother and mourned her all the rest of her days. She made sure I knew how my great grandma died.
So, pardon me if I find it completely unacceptable to treat women as second class citizens (sub-humans really) in civil society (outside of church) for supposed religious reasons. American women paid for these rights with their very lives. These rights were not given to them by some chauvinist men in a fit of benevolence either. Our women paid for these rights with their blood. The thing about basic human rights is that they are not earned or granted, they are inherent. So sadly, what happened to her and others should never have happened, but its always been this way and the same for all groups seeking full rights and inclusion.