Will the nomination of America’s suffrage martyr, Inez Milholland, for a Presidential Citizens Medal get lost in the shuffle from one administration to the next?
U.S. Representative Jackie Speier of California nominated Inez Milholland for the Presidential Citizens Medal in November 2015. For the past year, the National Womens History Project (NWHP) has sponsored the Inez Milholland Centennial Campaign to draw attention to this young woman who died in California 100 years ago working for Votes for Women. The medal has rarely been awarded recently, and never to a suffragist.
New York attorney and suffrage leader Inez Milholland (1886-1916) died in Los Angeles on November 25, 1916 of exhaustion and pernicious anemia. She collapsed during a grueling speaking tour and became a martyr to the cause of justice and women.
Milholland was a founding member of the National Woman’s Party, which had its headquarters at the Sewall-Belmont House in Washington, DC. President Obama recently designated the house the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument. Further information about Millholand is available here. A free DVD about the life of Inez Milholland is available online.
2017 marks the centennial of women winning the right to vote in the Inez’s native state of New York, a key step towards passage of suffrage nationally. Three additional states will celebrate their suffrage centennials in 2018: Michigan, Oklahoma, and South Dakota. There have already been centennial celebrations in half a dozen other states. The year 2020 will mark the centennial of women winning the vote nationally.
For the past 35 years, the NWHP has been carrying out its mission of educating the public about women’s history. The establishment of Women’s History Month by Congress in 1987 was one such accomplishment.