My storytelling journey started this year with the March on Washington on January 21, 2017. I wanted to tell a story of being there, that day, but I’d already had plans to tell an entertaining historical story from the archives of history. Something quirky, I’d hoped, that very few people knew about.
Someone that January mentioned the historic march for women’s suffrage more than a hundred years ago, also near a presidential inauguration. Turns out it was the day before. And who was the orchestrator of that march, but Alice Paul.
I started reading about Alice Paul, and her need to agitate President Woodrow Wilson in Doris Stephen’s account called Jailed for Freedom. With this passage I was hooked:
Later chapters told of Alice Paul’s hunger strikes, and of the horrible injustices done to her and the other women of the National Women’s Party for doing what we now take for granted: peaceful protest.
I started asking around. “Have you heard of Alice Paul?” “What do you know about the women’s suffrage movement?” Not many knew. What little I’d learned I passed on.
I told the story to my friend Amy, and her and I came up with a plan almost in tandem. We’d do a “Drunk History” episode, but about Alice Paul. We set a date and time. Two weeks later, steeped in the ins and outs of Alice Paul, we recorded six hours of raw footage with both of us a bit tipsy.
With the help of a few more of my friends I was able to tell the story of Alice Paul and the fight for women’s suffrage in an engaging, not preachy at all way:
So, now that my story of Alice Paul is complete I think again to the march in Washington this January.
Like a hundred years ago, women were angry and they marched about it. Unlike a hundred years ago the police kept the peace and women spoke their peace without interference. Alice Paul, and many of her contemporaries fought for our right to march this January. I, for one, am thankful for that privilege.