JOIN PICKET LINE
AT THE WHITE HOUSE
Delegations from three states came
last week to take their place in the
picket guard stationed by the congressional union in front of the White House
to show the President that the women
of the country are waiting for him to
act on the federal amendment before the
end of the 64th congress.
Monday was District of Columbia day
as it is each week. Pennsylvania day,
Thursday the 24th, brought from that
state an enthusiastic group of women
eage[r] to stand sentinel all day till nightfall. They were, however, divided into
squads that served in regular turns until
four o'clock, when the whole long line
was stretched across the front of the
white house from gate to gate, reiter-
ating with their banners the question
that keeps the congressional union
standing guard, "Mr. President, how long
must women wait for liberty?"
The New York delegation on January
26 carried on their banners phrases from
President Wilson's book, "The New
"Liberty is the fundamental demand of the human spirit."
"We are Interested in the United
States, politically speaking, in nothing but human liberty."
Twenty-four women came down from
New York to join the picket line on one
of the coldest and most blustering days
of the year. They stood staunchly on
guard, however, wind-whipped but serene, calling the President's own words
to his attention when he came in late in
Virginia day, Saturday, brought a
group of delegates who had made a long
over-night journey by boat and train to
prove that the women of this most conservative state are taking their part in
the movement for federal suffrage.
Plans are proceeding for the demonstration in which the picketing will culminate on March 4th. At twelve o'clock
on that day President Wilson will take
the oath of office at the capitol. Mrs.
Robert Baker is arranging for a great
delegation of voting women, supported
by non-voters, to meet him after the
oath has been taken to protest against
his first term's having gone out without
action on the federal amendment and to
ask that he begin his new term by initiating legislation which will bring
about the passage of the measure.
In the meantime indignation was
spreading like a furious fire through all
classes of citizens and by morning Washington was ablaze with righteous wrath.
Advocates of the women took up their
case in the senate and the house, and
passed resolutions demanding an investigation of the shameful failure to furnish
the necessary guards. Already hundreds of letters, petitions and resolutions
from prominent people all over the country, have been received by Lieutenant
Hobson, who has constituted himself the
champion of the suffragists. Thus
ended the first national suffrage parade
so long in the planning, so arduous in
the execution. But as Dr. Shaw says,
if anti-suffragists, women or men, think
we are to be frightened by the unseemly pranks of a hostile mob they are very
Many a great victor has come
through the back door of defeat, and
from this time forth we shall push our
cause more vigorously than ever, believing that the wreck of our pageant,
through the personal prejudice of a few
misguided officials, will turn the great
tide of public sympathy in the right direction and speedily usher in universal
White House Picket.
That the white house picket has be
come part of the vocabulary of the na-
tion is every day testified to. Humorists of all calibres are bursting into
verse over suffrage and drawing attention to the daily appeal to the President
in quarters which have never before
harbored the suffrage idea. At the New
York dinner of the Gridiron club, prob-
ably the best known press club in the
world—a dinner at which the President
of the United States was a guest—one
of the songs called "Camping Tonight,"
ran as follows:
"We're camping tonight on the white
Give us a rousing cheer,
Our golden flag we hold aloft,
Of cops we have no fear.
Many of the pickets are weary tonight.
Wishing for the war to cease;
Many are the chilblains and frostbites
It is no life of ease.
Camping tonight, camping tonight.
Camping on the white house grounds.
It is, after all the serene good nature
of the white house picket that has made
friends. Through sleet and snow and
rain, in the face of criticism and rudeness and misunderstanding, the young
women have held their ground, to win
general acceptance, if not approbation,
from the very quarters where once disapproval came. The very white house
police on guard at the now-closed gates,
presents a smiling exterior.
Resolution of Censure.
"Resolved, That this meeting unqualifiedly censures and denounces
the shameful conduct of the police
during the suffrage pageant just
ended, which denied to the marchers for suffrage their rights to parade freely and unmolested in the
main streets of the capital, and
subjected them to frequent ribald insults from the crowds which all
but overwhelmed them. To these
insults the police in many cases
listened without effort to repress, as
they were but mildly interested
when the marchers were compelled
to go in single file. Such mismanagement would have been a disgrace
in any city, but it is doubly and
trebly a disgrace in the national
capital, which belongs to our citizens, men and women alike."
Dr. Shaw continued her speech after
the resolution had been passed and said
there was consolation in the fact that
all the men who insulted the women
were anti-suffragists, and that anti-suffragist policemen made no attempt to
stop the disorder.
Mrs. Shaw then complimented the
women on their behavior, saying she
had never seen greater dignity and coolness under exasperating provocations
than was displayed during these shameful occurrences which furnish the last
clinching proof of woman's need for
the ballot for the protection denied her
in all walks of life. And with a militant
note in her voice she urged the women
not to be dismayed by this wreck of
their beautifully planned pageant, for
this trifling defeat would appeal to the
justice-loving sense of the great American public and in the end serve as a
great and glorious victory by winning
new recruits and sympathizers. Mrs.
Shaw gave the warmest praise to the
suffragists of Washington, who had
handled everything within their province
with the utmost efficiency, and also
waxed warm in commendation of the voluntary bands of boy scouts who had
risked life and limb in their valiant endeavors to assist the women.
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