Beginning on January 10, 1917, Lucy Burns led the picketing of the White House. She famously carried the banner that targeted President Woodrow Wilson: “Twenty Million American Women Are Denied the Right to Vote. President Wilson Is the Chief Opponent of Their National Enfranchisement.” Burns was arrested for “obstructing traffic” and served six different prison sentences. While incarcerated, she attempted to obtain the status of political prisoner by going on hunger strikes. Political prisoners had less supervision, greater freedom of dress and movement, and the opportunity to receive visitors. Since imprisoned suffragists were denied the right to free speech, their hunger strikes were a non-verbal way to protest being jailed on false charges. This tactic also forged a meaningful connection between suffragists and international civil rights groups. Allowing herself to be photographed for the press was another way Burns protested this violation of her civil rights.


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