Amelia Himes Walker’s "Jailed for Freedom" Pin

Description
In January 1917, discouraged by President Wilson’s continued opposition to the suffrage amendment, Alice Paul, the leader of the National Woman’s Party (NWP) posted pickets at the White House gates—the first people to ever picket the White House. These “silent sentinels” stayed on duty in all weather and in the face of threats, taunts, and physical violence. Using their banners and their quiet courage they asked, “Mr. President How Long Must Women Wait for their Liberty?” and “Mr. President What Will you do for Woman Suffrage?” Hoping to provoke a response, the language on the banners became more inflammatory. They used the president’s own words against him and pointed out the hypocrisy of his leading the country into the First World War to defend freedom while denying it to the women of his own country. Crowds who believed the pickets’ activities were disloyal in a time of war attacked the suffragists and destroyed their banners. In July the police began arresting the pickets for “obstruction of traffic.” When they refused to pay fines they were imprisoned. When they went on hunger strikes to demand the rights of political prisoners they were forcibly fed—a painful and invasive procedure. The pickets continued despite the risk. This pin was given to Amelia Himes Walker, a long time women’s rights activist. Walker was arrested on July 14, 1917 and served 60 days in the Occoquan Workhouse. Reports of the long sentences, abuse, and the courage of the suffragists became public and all prisoners were released in November.
In a December ceremony the imprisoned suffragists were awarded with small silver pins in the shape of prison doors with heart-shaped locks. The “jailed for freedom” pins were designed by Nina Allender.
The Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution enfranchising women was ratified in August 1920.
Object Name
pin
associated institution
National Woman's Party
associated person
Walker, Amelia Himes
Physical Description
silver, sterling (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 1 1/2 in x 1 in x 1/4 in; 3.81 cm x 2.54 cm x .635 cm
ID Number
PL*229385.03
catalog number
229385.03
accession number
229385
subject
Souvenir Nation
Women's Rights
Women's Suffrage
Government, Politics, and Reform
Woman Suffrage
See more items in
Political History: Political History, Womens History/Reform Movements Collection
Souvenir Nation
Woman Suffrage
Exhibition
Souvenir Nation
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Amelia Himes Walker

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