Lucy Burns

A Catholic prep school graduate, Lucy Burns (1879-1966) gave up language studies in Europe to join Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughters in their fight for women’s suffrage. At a protest, Burns befriended fellow American Alice Paul; in 1912, they returned to the U.S. to lead the National American Woman Suffrage Association and other groups. When faced with infighting over tactics and funding, Burns was the charming and diplomatic foil to the sometimes abrasive Paul.     Her fellow suffragists showed their solidarity by enduring beatings and force-feedings with her at Occoquan Workhouse.           Arrested six times, sometimes held in solitary confinement, Burns devised one of the first modern declarations of political prisoners’ rights. The media-savvy Burns led lobbying workshops and supplied frequent feminist soundbites to the press, but renounced the limelight after the Nineteenth Amendment was ratified.

-Jen Hawkins, The American Feminist: First Wave Feminists