Flashback Photos

Flashback Photo: The National Woman’s Party Pickets the White House

National Woman's Party pickets the White House.

National Woman’s Party pickets the White House.

The National Woman’s Party picketed the White House for women’s rights from Jan. 10, 1917 until June 1919, when the U.S. Senate passed the Woman Suffrage Amendment.

Known as the Silent Sentinels, they were undisturbed until the United States entered World War I. Police arrested them then for obstructing traffic, and many of them went on hunger strikes.

Alva Belmont

Alva Belmont

On June 4, 1919, the Senate passed the amendment, which cleared the way for the states to ratify the 19th Amendment giving women the vote.

The National Woman’s Party received financial support from Alva Belmont, who famously said ‘Just pray to God. She will help you.’ She paid the bail of the arrested picketers, funded a large woman’s rights rally in New York’s Hippodrome and founded the Political Equality League, which ultimately became the National Woman’s Party. In 1914 she convened a ‘Conference of Great Women’ at her summer cottage, Marble House in Newport, R.I. She also helped pay for the NWP’s headquarters building on Capitol Hill.

Belmont was a society woman who followed her own advice to marry first for money, then for love. She married William K. Vanderbilt, grandson of Cornelius Vanderbilt, then divorced him for adultery and married another wealthy heir, Oliver Hazard Perry Belmont

She took up the cause of women’s rights after Belmont died in 1908. The 19th Amendment was ratified on Aug. 18, 1920.

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