2020 is the Year of Inez Milholland, the US Suffrage Martyr!

NEWS ALERT: The year 2020 is what we have all been waiting for. It’s the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution and celebrations are taking place all over the United States and abroad. In 2019, Mt. Discovery was renamed Mt. Inez in upstate New York. The town of Lewis and its residents observed road markers erected locally, funded by the Pomeroy Foundation, to mark Inez Milholland’s grave and related locations. The Milholland family lived in Lewis, New York. And it has been the site of many observances over the years to commemorate Inez Milholland.

There’s a terrific 15-minute film about Inez, perfect for 2020 observances and for the general public. And the reaming of Mt. Discovery in the Adirondack Mountain region of New York State is a milestone in the work conducted over the past decade to bring the stories about the US suffrage activists to the attention of the public. Keep in touch with the many observances during 2020 to bring the story of the history about the women’s rights movement to the attention of the broader public.

Video that features Inez Milholland

INEZ

Although not completely historically correct, this video featuring Inez Milholland in the 1913 suffrage parade still has many redeeming qualities. The graphics are terrific and the video highlights the amount of work and the associated momentum involved to bring about votes for women on the national level.

See link.

Let’s make sure Inez Milholland, the US suffrage martyr, gets the recognition she deserves in 2020, the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment.

Inez Milholland chair in Lewis, NY government is filled

After five years of the Inez Milholland chair standing empty in Essex County, upstate New York, it is now filled with a woman elected to office.

Sampling of Inez Milholland papers at Harvard University Library…

HonorINEZHighlights of the finding aid for Inez Milholland’s papers at Harvard University Library.

PLUS MUCH MORE…This is just a representative sampling of the available material.

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MORE about Inez Milholland and her life!

cropped-inezslider1.jpgINEZ MILHOLLAND BOISSEVAIN
STRETCHED THE BOUNDARIES OF THE VOTES FOR WOMEN MOVEMENT!

Between 1910 and 1916, she became a central figure involved in planning, speaking, and raising funds for the drive for Votes for Women in New York State.  She chaired meetings, answered opponents’ arguments, lobbied state legislators, and led suffrage parades up Fifth Avenue.  Robed as the “free woman of the future,” she became nationally known for her role as a mounted herald leading the great March 3, 1913 suffrage procession in Washington, D.C. that involved thousands of supporters and political figures.  Four months later, she married Dutch businessman Eugen Boissevain.

Attracted to law school by a desire to protect women and children, Inez faced rejection by Oxford, Columbia, and Harvard because she was a woman.  New York University finally accepted her.  Even before earning a law degree in 1912, she advised and supported working women and shirtwaist strikers who had no direct political representation or money for lawyers.  She believed that “the way to right the wrongs of civilization and to strike a blow at poverty was by means of concerted and intelligent political action and the making of sound laws.”

THE STORY OF INEZ MILHOLLAND DESERVES TO BE TOLD

One of few women attorneys in New York, Inez specialized in criminal and divorce cases but faced prejudice and other obstacles to securing paying clients.  She vigorously participated in a grand jury investigation into conditions at Sing Sing Prison and once raced to win a last minute reprieve for a laborer sentenced to die.  Having seen the brutal conditions in prison, she spoke out for reform, opposed capital punishment, and assisted individual inmates with filing appeals and finding jobs.

Like her father, John Milholland, the first treasurer of the interracial NAACP, Inez opposed racial discrimination, supported the rights of workers, and advocated a wide range of reforms including international peace.  At the beginning of World War I, she joined Henry Ford’s “Peace Ship,” which unsuccessfully tried to steer the European warring parties into mediation.

INEZ KEPT ON GOING…AND FINALLY THAT LED TO HER PASSING

Woman suffrage, however, is the cause to which she is most closely linked, and the cause to which she gave her final effort.  Expanding on her years of experience as a leader in New York City, Inez became a “Flying Envoy” for the National Woman’s Party on an October 1916 election year speaking tour of the west.  In city after city in seven western states, she spoke with passion and conviction to women who were new voters: “Now, for the first time in our history, women have the power to enforce their demands and the weapon with which to fight for woman’s liberation.”  Barnstorming for the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, she declared, “Liberty must be fought for.  And, women of the nation, this is the time to fight.”

When her health failed during the strenuous tour, Inez put off medical treatment rather than quit.  In late October, exhausted and overcome by pain, the young suffragist collapsed while demanding liberty on a stage in Los Angeles.  A month later, despite repeated blood transfusions, she died of pernicious anemia, having just turned 30.  Fellow suffragists recognized that her leadership, love of democracy, and devotion to women made her a martyr to the cause.

THE GRAVE OF INEZ MILHOLLAND IN LEWIS, NY IS A PILGRIMAGE

Inez was buried in Essex County, New York, and on Christmas Day 1916 the Woman’s Party held an unprecedented memorial for her under the rotunda in Statuary Hall in the national Capitol.  She became the first woman to be so honored.  A week later, aroused by her sacrifice, suffragists began to picket the White House demanding that President Woodrow Wilson support for the suffrage amendment.  Throughout the year, their banners carried her final plea: “Mr. President, How Long Must Women Wait for Liberty?”  Inez inspired thousands of suffragists through the final, climactic years of the movement and her memory lived on in the ensuing years.

Inez Milholland Boissevain spent her life seeking justice, equality, and civil rights for American women.  Because of her work, and the persistence of tens of thousands of American suffragists from 1848 to 1920, the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution ensures women’s voting rights now and for future generations.

IT’S NO WONDER THAT A US REPRESENTATIVE NOMINATED INEZ MILHOLLAND FOR A PRESIDENTAL CITIZENS’ MEDAL!
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