Night of Terror

Ninety-five years ago today–Nov. 14, 1917–suffragists who had been arrested for picketing the White House were taken to Occoquan Workhouse. Several hours after their arrival the superintendent ordered guards wielding clubs to attack; “Its perfectly unexpected ferocity stunned us,” Eunice Brannan later recalled. Beaten and dragged, the women were thrown into rat-infested cells.  When Lucy Burns refused to stop calling out the women’s names to check on their condition, her hands were chained up over her head to her cell door. That night, is now known as the Night of Terror. The terror continued when several women began a hunger strike and were brutally force-fed, “a form of punishment,” wrote Sue White, “as a means of breaking the will of the person thus violated.  Finally released in late November, many of the suffragists were in “a state of almost total collapse,” but their wills were unbroken!

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