An Interactive Scrapbook of Elisabeth Freeman: Suffragette, Civil Rights Worker, and Militant Pacifist.

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Timeline

Early life: 1876-1905

London 1905-1911: The Making of a Militant Suffragette

1911-1916: Media Stunts for Suffrage

1916:NAACP Anti-Lynching Campaign

1916:Hughes Women's Campaign Train

1917-1919:Standing up for Freedom of Speach During War

Family Life

1920-1942:Out of the Limelight, Still in the Struggle

Overview

Elisabeth Freeman came to this country as a small child with her brother John and sister (Clara) Jane, and their mother, Mary Hall Freeman, who came estranged from her husband. Mary worked for St.Johnland, an orphanage on Long Island for a time, and the children lived at the orphanage for some time. Elisabeth was far from wealthy, did not go to college, and as a woman, her opportunities were limited. She was involved with the Salvation Army and regularly attended meetings which she found uplifting. Her chance encounter on a trip to England with the British suffragettes led to a career as a professional speaker and organizer. Continued-

1876-1905: Early Life

Elisabeth Freeman came to this country as a small 2child with her brother John and sister (Clara) Jane, and their mother (Mary Hall Freeman) who came estranged from her husband. Mary worked for St.Johnland, an orphanage on Long Island for a time, and the children lived at the orphanage for some time. Elisabeth was far from wealthy, did not go to college, and as a woman, her opportunities were limited. Continued-

1911-1916: Media Stunts for Suffrage

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By many accounts the American suffrage scenedesperately needed an infusion of energy and many English suffragettes found a role to play in the U.S. The power structure was completely different, however: in America, each and every voter--male voters, except in some Western states where women had the vote--was important and both personal contact and press coverage
Continued-

1916 Hughes Women’s Campaign Train

7In the fall of 1916, Charles Evans Hughes challenged President Wilson who had not supported suffrage for women. A train carrying an impressive array of famous women went from coast to coast to campaign for Hughes. This was the first time women had entered a presidential campaign on a partisan basis, even before they were able to vote! Continued-

Family life

Elisabeth Freeman was probably born in England on

6

September 12, 1876, the youngest of three children. Family lore suggested that they lived near the church with a crooked spire, which was in Chesterfield. She came to this country as a small child with her brother John and sister (Clara) Jane, and their mother, Mary Hall Freeman, who was apparently estranged from her husband. Mary worked for St.Johnland, an orphanage on Long Island when she first came to the US, and the children lived there for some time.
Continued-

London 1905-1911: The Making of a Militant Suffragette

Elisabeth Freeman had returned to England with her 15mother, supporting themselves by making silk ribbon flowers for nobility. She tells the story of her conversion to the suffrage cause this way: “I saw a big burly policeman beating up on a woman, and I ran to help her, and we were both arrested. I found out in jail what cause we were fighting for.” Continued-

1916: NAACP Anti-Lynching Campaign

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In early 1916 Elisabeth Freeman was hired by theTexas Woman’s Suffrage Association to make some inroads there. While there, she was contacted by Roy Nash of the NAACP to investigate the lynching of a young man in nearby Waco. Elisabeth was on the scene two days after it happened and interviewed everyone from the judge and sheriff to the family of the young man as well as the family of the woman he was accused of killing. Continued-

1917-1919:

Not even the “bad press” of the Hughes campaign could have prepared Elisabeth Freeman for the onslaught of 13vitriol and lies headed her way as a “militant pacifist” before and during The Great War. Her belief in the sanity of a negotiated peace, her disdain for the money interests of war mongering, and her dedication to preserving civil rights for Americans led her to work in the Emergency Peace Federation and later with the People’s Council of America as a lobbyist and as an organizer. Continued-

1920-1942: Out of the Limelight, Still in the Struggle

There is no doubt that Elisabeth Freeman’s radical life continued although the 14entire scene was muted by political and cultural oppression. However, the record largely goes silent. We know that she worked for a time for the Lighthouse for the Blind and during the Depression for Emergency Home Relief in NYC, where she raged against a bureaucracy that put itself before people, and gave potatoes to the Chinese and rice to the Irish. Continued-