My Own Story: With an Excerpt From Women as World Builders, Studies in Modern Feminism By Floyd Dell
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About the Author
Emmeline Pankhurst (1858-1928) was an English political activist and suffragette. Born in Manchester to politically active parents, Pankhurst grew up familiar with radical politics and militant activism, eventually founding the Women's Franchise League. An early advocate for universal women's suffrage, Pankhurst was barred from the Independent Labour Party due to her sex and worked for a time as a Poor Law Guardian, where she witnessed the horrible realities of life for Manchester's working poor. In 1903, she founded the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU), an organization dedicated to achieving suffrage for women by any means necessary. Imprisoned for destruction of property and assaulting police officers, Pankhurst and her followers staged hunger strikes and forced the press and political establishment to acknowledge their demands. During the First World War, Pankhurst and the WSPU put their activism on hold to enter the workforce and assist in the war effort. In 1918, Parliament passed the Representation of the People Act, granting women over the age of 30 the right to vote. Following this success, Pankhurst formed the Women's Party, advocating for women's involvement in political life and rejecting the Labour Party and Bolshevism in favor of a conservative nationalism. Only weeks after her death in 1928, the British Parliament passed the Representation of the People Act 1928, granting all women over the age of 21 the right to vote. Recognized as a pioneering advocate of women's suffrage, Pankhurst is remembered for her fiercely militant activism in the face of political oppression, leaving a legacy for her daughters Sylvia, Adela, and Christabel to carry on in her absence.