Date: 22 September 1880 – 13 February 1958
Place: Old Trafford, Manchester.
Person: Christabel Pankhurst
Eldest daughter of Emmeline Pankhurst, Christabel favoured militant action. She was co-founder of the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU), she directed its militant actions from exile in France from 1912 to 1913. She was first arrested in 1905 for interrupting a Liberal Party with her friend Annie Kenney; at question time Annie asked, ‘Will the Liberal government give votes to women?’, then repeated by Christabel. The meeting dissolved. The media attention attracted by their choice to go to jail rather than pay the fine led to more women joining the Suffragettes. Christabel was given the nick name, ‘Queen of the Mob’ by the press. She aimed Suffrage at upper/middle class women, feeling that working class women had too many issues that would slow the cause, once the right to vote had been achieved there would be time for them. She served 30 days of a three year jail sentence in 1914, when the start of WWI meant she had to return to the UK. She was very supportive of the war effort and with her followers handed out white feathers to men not serving. The name of The Suffragette newspaper was changed to Britannia. She stood for the Women’s Party in 1918 when some women had been granted the vote post WWI, but narrowly lost. She died and was buried in California at the age of 77.
She was a frequent guest on TV shows in the 1950’s and had a reputation for being an odd combination of “former suffragist revolutionary, evangelical Christian and almost stereo-typically proper ‘English Lady’ who always was in demand as a lecturer”.
Dame Christabel Harriette Pankhurst: ‘In later life Pankhurst became a religious evangelist. In 1936 she was created a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire.’
Dr Pankhurst, an ardent campaigner for the advanced cause of women’s suffrage, would often exclaim, ‘Why are women so patient? Why don’t you force us to give you the vote?’ (E. S. Pankhurst, 97). Such experiences had a decisive effect on Christabel… Christabel startled her mother with the remark, ‘How long you women have been trying for the vote. For my part, I mean to get it’. Oxford Article.
She outlined how, in a male-dominated society, where women were kept in a state of subservience and economic dependence, the social evil of prostitution was the fruit of women’s slavery.
Details to include in a postcard:
A straight backed chair.
A white feather.
Spitting at a policeman.