United States

Memorial Honors Suffragists Who Fought for the Right to Vote

"They really did put a lot on the line," a granddaughter of a suffragette said

A new memorial in Lorton will honor the work of women suffragists 100 years after women's right to vote was ratified.

The memorial is not far from the Occoquan Workhouse, a building where suffragettes were imprisoned and in some cases beaten for demonstrating for the right to vote.

"I think it's really important for younger people to think about the legacy that comes before them and the sacrifices that were made," said Colleen Shogan, Vice Chair of the Women's Suffrage Centennial Commission at the Library of Congress.

At a groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday, women's organizations gathered to celebrate the legacy of their predecessors.

One such organization was Delta Sigma Theta, a sorority for black women founded at Howard University. Thelma Dailey, a past president of the sorority spoke to News4's Aimee Cho about the importance of the suffrage movement.

"No President of the United States, no ambassador or no general would ever exist if it had not been for a woman," Dailey said.

Patsy MacDonald had a personal connection to the memorial: Her grandmother was one of the suffragettes imprisoned at Occoquan Workhouse.

"They really did put a lot on the line," MacDonald said. "I'm sure she was very afraid when she was taken there."

The memorial will feature 19 stations where people can learn more about the women's suffragist movement. One station will be left unfinished to show that there is always work left to be done.

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