Women's Rights Activist Alice Paul Remembered in SeeHer Story Episode 8
SeeHer Story airs every week on PEOPLE.com and @PeopleTV social handles
Alice Paul dedicated her life to fighting for women's rights, making sure that no woman was denied her voice in the voting process.
The renowned activist spoke out for equality until the day she died, which is why the team at SeeHer Story wants to honor Paul's heroic life in this week's episode.
Katie Couric Media and PEOPLE partnered to create the second season of SeeHer Story, a weekly digital video series produced to celebrate various female trailblazers from the past 100 years to today.
Born to a Quaker family in 1885 in Mt. Laurel, New Jersey, Paul grew up attending suffrage meetings with her mother, Tacie.
She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1907 with a master's in sociology and later moved to England to further her studies.
At the time, a rowdy suffragist movement was making waves in Britain, something that Paul wanted to be a part of.
She participated in street protests and committed acts of civil disobedience — even getting herself arrested in the fight for women's right to vote.
Back in America, Paul was determined to bring similar energy to the National American Woman Suffrage Association. In 1913, she organized a march in Washington, D.C., that attracted thousands of participants
Three years later, she formed the National Women's Party with the hopes of amending the Constitution to give women the right to vote.
The party announced in January 1917 that they would begin daily protests outside the White House.
Despite the constant harassment and frequent arrests, Paul and the many peaceful protestors continued to show up to fight. Dozens of women were imprisoned by that fall, and Paul endured brutal force-feedings while on a hunger strike.
Paul said in a past interview: "It was shocking that a government of men could look with such extreme contempt on a movement that was asking nothing except such a simple little thing as the right to vote."
Finally, in January 1918, President Woodrow Wilson urged Congress to pass the suffrage amendment after facing public backlash.
In 1919, the amendment had been approved by the House and the Senate, and on Aug. 19, 1920, state ratification made the women's right to vote an official law.
Paul's work didn't end there — she moved on to pass the Equal Rights Amendment, which she wrote herself.
The ERA was introduced in 1923 but faced such strong opposition that it took nearly 50 years to pass through Congress.
She continued to fight for the ERA until her death in 1977.
This year, Virginia became the 38th state to ratify the ERA, nearly 100 years after Paul first proposed the law.
"SeeHer Story celebrates the important contributions of bold women from the past 100 years who have changed our country forever,” said Couric in a statement. “We hope recognizing them and telling their stories will not only give them their due but will also inspire the next generation of leaders.”
She added, “Together with Meredith and PEOPLE, I’m so excited to bring back a second season of stories of women whose names you may know — and put those whose achievements are not as well-known — front and center so we can celebrate them as well.”