With Courage and Cloth: Winning the Fight for a Woman's Right to Vote

by Ann Bausum

Beloit author Ann Bausum tells the story of American suffragists, with a spotlight... read more

Beloit author Ann Bausum tells the story of American suffragists, with a spotlight on Alice Paul, leader of the National Woman’s Party. Paul’s lifelong devotion to the cause is placed within an outline of the 72-year battle for women’s voting rights. Of particular interest is the conflict between different factions of the suffragist movement, specifically Paul’s radical National Woman’s Party and the more restrained National American Woman Suffrage Association. Both organizations shared the same ultimate goal, but the methods they used to get there were dissimilar. And although their styles clashed, often the actions of one group allowed the other freedom to work towards the identical end from a different angle. Vivid descriptions of violent mob responses to suffragists’ pickets and marches give a sense of a true battle, one that required physical and moral bravery as well as strategic planning. Similarly, grim descriptions of the harsh treatment the activists faced in jail, including bodily abuse, neglect of injuries and illness, and brutal force-feedings of those on hunger strikes, underscore the women’s dedication. By using direct quotes from letters, Senate committee hearings, and newspaper articles, the author conveys the diverse range of women who, despite some tactical differences, were united in their drive. To young women today, the right to vote is a given. In reading With Courage and Cloth, they’ll hear the voices of those who fought and sacrificed for that right, not so long ago. (Ages 10–14)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2005

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