Fairfax County, Virginia, is the site of possibly the most significant moment in the fight for women’s suffrage in the United States. In 1917, suffragists were imprisoned in the Occoquan Workhouse for picketing the Woodrow Wilson White House for the right to vote. The reports of inhumane conditions, beatings and force-feeding at the workhouse electrified the country and became the turning point in the struggle for the right to vote. The Turning Point Suffragist Memorial is currently being design and is dedicated to honoring the lives of the suffragists who fought for ratification of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution.
The memorial site is located within Occoquan Regional Park and the National Register listed DC Workhouse and Reformatory Historic District. This site was selected for its proximity to the original women’s workhouse adjacent to the Lorton Workhouse Arts Center. The memorial will be the cornerstone of the planned park redevelopment.
The design allows visitors to experience the memorial from successive points of view, beginning within a formal plaza set within tranquil meditation garden. The journey starts at an entrance gate reflective of those at the White House where the suffragists stood as “silent sentinels” picketing for the right to vote. Inside the gates visitors view a waist-high linear wall with plaques commemorating those who were imprisoned near the site. A sculpture sits at the center of the plaza around which the courageous efforts of the suffragists are exhibited on informational stations that curate the events leading to ratification of the 19th Amendment.
The memorial is designed to stimulate thought and foster dialogue to promote humanitarian and democratic values through connections between the history of the suffragist movement and its contemporary implications. Honoring the past, empowering the future.
If you would like more information or to make a donation in support of the memorial please visit www.suffragistmemorial.com