Alice Paul dedicated her life to the notion of what she called “ordinary equality”. She was raised in a Quaker community with the belief that men and women should be equal partners in society. Alice’s mom, Tacie, was a member of NAWSA or the National American Woman Suffrage Association and often brought Alice to meetings with her.
Alice actively became involved in women’s suffrage when went to England in 1907 and saw Christabel Pankhurst heckled and forced offstage during a speech for women’s right to vote in England.
The Pankhurst’s motto “Deeds, not Words” meant everything from speaking on street corners to participating in suffrage parades, to throwing rocks, and ultimately even to being arrested. The deeds were extreme but ensured that the suffrage message was heard.
Alice organized a parade of over 8,000 men and women to march in Washington DC in support of giving women the right to vote. And NWP and "Silent Sentinels"
All together- 168 suffragists went to jail between June and November of 1917. In prison, the suffragists were fed rotten food, slept on hard stone floors, and endured filthy conditions. Alice joined the imprisoned suffragists in October and soon after she and the other women began a hunger strike. If any of the women died, it would lead to a political nightmare for the Wilson administration. Prison authorities initiated painful force-feedings 3 times a day.
By November of 1917, Wilson announced his support for the suffrage amendment and ordered that all the women be released from prison. In 1919, both the House and the Senate passed the 19th Amendment but it was not until August 18, 1920, when the amendment was ratified.