Emmeline Pankhurst (1858–1928) was a political activist and leader of the
British suffragette movement. Although widely criticised for her militant
tactics, her work is recognised as a crucial element in achieving women's
suffrage in Britain. She became involved with the Women's Franchise League,
which advocated suffrage for women. When that organisation broke apart, she
joined the left-leaning Independent Labour Party through her friendship with
socialist Keir Hardie. After her husband died in 1898, Pankhurst founded the
Women's Social and Political Union, an all-women suffrage advocacy
organisation dedicated to "deeds, not words". The group quickly became
infamous when its members smashed windows and assaulted police officers.
Pankhurst, her daughters, and other WSPU activists were sentenced to
repeated prison sentences, where they staged hunger strikes to secure better
conditions. Eventually arson became a common tactic among WSPU members, and
more moderate organisations spoke out against the Pankhurst family. With the
advent of World War I, Pankhurst called an immediate halt to militant
suffrage activism, in order to support the British government against the
"German Peril". They urged women to aid industrial production, and
encouraged young men to fight. In 1918 the Representation of the People Act
granted votes to women over the age of 30. Pankhurst transformed the WSPU
machinery into the Women's Party, which was dedicated to promoting women's
equality in public life.
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Today's selected anniversaries:
Over 200 Spanish settlers led by conquistador Sebastián de Belalcázar
founded what is now Quito, Ecuador.
The first number out of 100 of the first edition of the Encyclopædia
Britannica was published in Edinburgh, Scotland.
A ship in Halifax Harbour carrying trinitrotoluene (TNT) and picric acid
caught fire after a collision with another ship and exploded, devastating
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
The Irish Free State, the first independent Irish state to be recognised by
the British government, came into existence, one year to the day after the
signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty.
The École Polytechnique massacre: Twenty-five year-old Marc Lépine killed
fourteen people and injured fourteen others at the École Polytechnique in
Wiktionary's word of the day:
hypotrochoid (n) A geometric curve traced by a fixed point on the radius
line outside one circle which rotates inside the perimeter of another
Wikiquote quote of the day:
The Science of Language has taught us that there is order and wisdom in all
languages, and even the most degraded jargons contain the ruins of former
greatness and beauty. The Science of Religion, I hope, will produce a
similar change in our views of barbarous forms of faith and worship.