tv American Artifacts CSPAN April 13, 2016 1:44am-2:16am EDT
one of the only houses here in d.c. to be deliberately burned by the british during the war of 1812. a british soldier and his troops are passing by the house and some american troops were here in the house and they shot a horse out from under british general so the story goes. the british burned the house in retaliation. the house was rebuilt by 1820 we believe the majority of it was probably burned to the ground. he was rebuilt in 1820 and robert sewell passed it on to his family so it stayed in the sewell family until 1920. it was taken over by senator porter dale and his wife who were from vermont in 1920 and they lived here until 1929 and was taken over by the national women's party in 1929. the women's party was a civil rights organization run by a woman named alice paul. the nationalist party worked from 1931 was founded until the late 90s for social political
and economic equality for women here in the united states and abroad. the nationalist party founded in 1913 was in response to sort available in the suffrage movement that women have been working for women's rights in this country since 1848 and then throughout that time they had their ups and their downs in the movement after the float for a long time and then by the time we reach the early 1900s when elizabeth cady stanton and susan b. anthony passed away women in the organizations hit a stalling point and the nationalist party came in at a critical point and they carry the movement through to firschein. alice paul learned her tactics and strategies from the british suffrage movement. she worked over in england with
the women's socialist political union for several years. she was arrested while she was over there. she went on a hunger strike. she gave speeches to she picketed and then she came back the united states in 1912 with a mission. she came back knowing that she wanted to join the women's movement and she wanted to see a federal amendment giving the women the right to vote passing the states. her tactics were seen as too militant for some organizations. they were the first group to pick up the white house from 1917 until 1919 and they were arrested and put in prison as a result. i just want to point out here the steps beside me are the steps to the workhouse which was in lord and virginia. these women were imprisoned from three days to six months and we
managed to obtain the steps when they tore down the old workhouse a few years ago. they are one of our most important assets to the collection and one that we are hoping to see more fully when we reopen in a few months. we are undergoing several renovations and major changes within the house. our biggest change we are having safety improvements added to the house. by the time we are completed we will have sprinklers throughout most of the site and we will be 80% successful -- accessible which is huge for us. we expect to work will take place for five months and we are hoping to reopen on march 1 or at least partially open by march 1. we are also looking at conservationist collections. we are doing all new interpretation on this site so
that will mean display cases, we will be able to display more collections and we ever have before and collections that people have never seen before eye of great artifacts as will be on display when we reopen. the nationalist party was the first group to picket the white house in 1917 and just to sort of frame it for you the nationalist party was founded as the congressional union in 1913. alice paul lucy burns worked together with the national suffrage association and they found that the congressional committee which is lobby for the federal amendment. this ever just association didn't have a lot of faith and alice paul being able to achieve the federal amendment to a center with $10 to washington d.c. and said this is your budget, make it work. so alice paul opened the basement office on f street in
washington d.c. and she and lucy burns began raising money and recruiting members. woodrow wilson was elected to office so the first thing that alice paul and lucy burns did was to stage a parade. they wanted to have the largest suffrage parade held in the united states so alice paul began working towards that goal in the idea was that they would hold that the day before president woodrow wilson's inauguration that they would attract although the crowds that were already in town and all of these other crowds to the d.c. area. they would get the papers to notice them. with the biggest suffrage parade of her help in the united states. that is what i was told once that so she worked for months to build this parade. they managed to get all the permits they needed to and they tried to engage the police to help support them and the police were not that interested in guarding the parade. they knew there might be problems the day before the parade for the day of the parade
so the parade happen. with 8000 women marching down pennsylvania avenue to the white house to lobby for the suffrage movement. the most interesting thing about the parade is that woodrow wilson arrived at the union station are ready to greet crowds of people there and he looked around and there were only handful of people there and he said where all the people? they said they are at the march looking at them women. so woodrow wilson was not too pleased about that. meanwhile on the parade route there were all these men and women as well watching the parade go by. a lot of them were drunk and a lot of the more rowdy and so the parade eventually broke down. they went to the parade route in people began attacking the floats in the suffrage is and the fort myer calvary had to
commit a break up the parade because the police were doing their job. one of the things that i find fascinating is after the parade the police chief was fired as a result because the city broke down to such a great extent. alice paul got what alice paul one of which was publicity. one of the things you find in their strategy from 1913 now the way through to her lobby for the core rights amendments in the 30s and 40s is that she believes any publicity was good publicity, negative, positive it didn't matter so that's what happened with this parade. they started this path to 1920. at first president wilson was amenable to meetings. suffrages would go to meet with president wilson. he was all very cordial until you get to the end of 1916. at the end of 1916 a woman named
inez guzman passed away. inez was one of the spokesman for the suffrage movement in the women's party. she traveled all over the united states making speeches. she was the one who led the 1913 parade down pennsylvania avenue. she passed away. she had pernicious anemia and she was very sick and wasn't taking care of herself. she passed away in the story goes she was giving a speech and she said mr. president how long must women wait for liberty and then she collapsed in a few weeks later she passed away three she was the first woman memorialized in the u.s. capitol in the rotunda. the reason i'm telling a story is because around that time alice paul tried to get in with president wilson and at this point he refused to meet with him. he said it was a state issue and he would no longer be meeting with the women so he refused. this was at the end of december around the holidays.
january 1 alice paul made the decision it was time to start picketing the white house and that is when it shifted from this breakdown between president wilson and the nationals women's party. every day they would stand from the white house with banners that would relay messages to the president. he with this type of voiceless speech at the well. they were using their banners to tell the present everything they thought he should know. they stood there for months and 1917 it was all very peaceful. they would stand in front of the white house and attract some onlookers, some press attention and president wilson would drive out of the gates of the white house and tip his hat cordially. he would fight the man, he would offer them coffee and things like that but nothing, he just saw them as sort of an interesting spectacle if you will.
but then something shifted. in april of 1917 the united states entered world war i and all of a sudden people protesting the president and the democratic party in the white house wasn't all that attractive to most people. so the attitude towards women shifted. they were no longer seen as benign but in fact potential problems. at this time you see other women's groups turning their attention to the war effort. alice paul did not believe that was a priority. she knew the women's group shifted to this idea and then they were delayed for many, many years. she was seeing there was momentum here and so instead of stepping back she stepped up the effort paid the banners became more confrontational.
the messages on the banners became more in your face and these women became more of a problem. alice paul believe that they have exhausted every other method for lobbying the president at this point. they have sent delegations and march down pennsylvania avenue. they had gone throughout the united states lobbying against congress to get people reelected and none of it was working. alice paul saw the picketing of their last option and it was quite a brilliant option. for over year and a half people stood in front of white house. the banners you see before you hear our banners that aren't going to spark too much controversy. the slogans that they put on the manner in which they are speaking to the president is not
all that not confrontational. he recently don't have confrontational banners later they were torn from their hands and they were destroyed. these women were attacked and thrown in prison and along with them unfortunately most of those banners were destroyed. these banners are the price of our collection. these women were young. they were ready to take on the president. they were going to the white house and they were going to be there every day. he was just sort of a statement of here we are, deal with us. then you see this banner. this is probably the most important slogan of the entire movement rate you see this banner over and over over again mr. president what we do for women's suffrage? mr. president blue will you do for women's liberty all takeoffs on the same statement. the slogan was repeated over and over again and we have only one of these in art collection so it's usually important. as we take the time to point out the colors that you see before
you the purple and gold the official colors for the national women's party were purple white and gold. the purple stood for the royal glory of women. the white suit prepared at home and in politics and the gold -- grand context. in wp never did anything. in fact the women's movement did did -- never did anything unless it had meaning behind its it so re-collar you see as meaning behind it. every piece, every artifact that you see has significance and that is important as we talk to all of this. i'm these banners i want to point out the original banner poles. these are the original polls that they used to carry the banners inside the white house. then we will come over here really quickly and i will point out these last two which you will notice first off are significantly faded.
the first one if you can read it says working women need the vote in 1917 when they started picketing the white house they picketed every day except for sunday from don until dusk. thousands of women picketing the white house. women in the work at factories worked every day except for sunday. they didn't have any options. alice paul being the brilliant woman that she was she designated a day factory working women day on a sunday for factory women to go to the white house. it was hugely successful. this banner comes from that day. happened february 1917. a lot of what alice paul did during that time because you wanted to get into the newspapers was to designate days. very simple very straightforward. she had college day and working women days.
she had for today, she had pennsylvania day. she had a day where they celebrated bastille day. it was all an effort to keep her fresh and keep it in the papers and finally one of my favorite in the collection that failure is impossible. he comes from a speech that susan b. anthony made in 1906 called failure is impossible which is fairly self-explanatory. the national party of women continually brought up pioneer women in the movement. a lot of the banners reflected traditional slogans that they had heard for years and years, quotes and failure is impossible is a big one. i want to point out a couple of artifacts that i think are again prices of our collection and items that will be displayed when we are reopening. we made this discovery not too long ago these three items here.