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Alice Paul Google Doodle Marks 131st Birthday Of The American Suffragist & ERA Activist
Paul played a primary role in getting the 19th Amendment through Congress and was the original force behind the Equal Rights Amendment.
Today’s Google Doodle honors Alice Paul, the American suffragist who played an integral role in getting the 19th Amendment passed, giving women the right to vote, and was the original force behind the Equal Rights Amendment.
Joining the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) in 1912, Paul dedicated her life to women’s rights. She led the Washington, DC chapter of the organization and was the first to organize groups that picketed the White House.
During Woodrow Wilson’s term, Paul founded the National Women’s Party. She and her “Silent Sentinels” demonstrated in front of the White House, marching day and night while holding banners asking questions like, “Mr. President, how long must women wait for liberty?”
The Silent Sentinels were often harassed, threatened and attacked as they marched. Eventually, when the women continued to protest during World War I, they were arrested and jailed. Paul was sentenced to seven months of jail time. During her incarceration, Paul and her fellow female inmates endured harsh treatment as a political prisoners.
As stories began to be published, covering how the woman were being treated in jail, the suffragists gained nationwide sympathy, and public sentiment began to change. In 1918, President Wilson announced his support for suffrage, and by 1920, the 19th Amendment was passed.
After women won the right to vote, Paul and the National Woman’s Party focused their efforts on the Equal Rights Amendment, proposing the very first ERA bill to congress in 1923. It would take nearly 50 years for congress to pass legislation that guaranteed, ““Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.” (While the amendment was passed by Congress, it was only ratified by 35 states, three short of the 38 states required to make it part of our Constitution.)
Paul’s Google logo has been reserved for the site’s US home page and includes a sharing icon that lets users post the image of Paul on social networks and via email.
Update: This story has been updated to clarify that the Equal Rights Act was never ratified by the necessary 38 states needed to add it to the Constitution.