On what would be her 131st birthday, New Jersey-born feminist, suffragist and political strategist Alice Paul is honored today by way of Google Doodle. Born in 1885 to Quaker parents, Paul learned hunger strike methods in London at the turn of the century from suffragist Emmeline Pankhurst, bringing her activist tools back to work with the National American Woman Suffrage Association. She organized a parade of over 5,000 people from each state in the Union on the day before Woodrow Wilson’s inauguration in March 1913 before starting her own, more radical organization – the National Women’s Party.
The NWP targeted President Wilson by protesting outside of the White House with signs that read, “Mr. President, what will you do for woman suffrage?” and were arrested. Paul staged a hunger strike while in jail and was force-fed by tubes. In 1917, President Wilson announced his support for the woman’s vote, and the 19th Amendment was passed three years later.
Paul earned three law degrees over her lifetime. She wrote the first version of the Equal Rights Amendment in 1922 and fought for women’s equality in the 1964 Civil Rights Act. She died at the age of 92 in 1977.
Learn more about the suffragist icon at the Alice Paul Institute.