Rose Winslow was brought as a baby to the United States by her Polish parents so that she could grow up in a free democratic country. Her father labored as a coal miner and steel worker and as a child Rose suffered from tuberculous which left her in poor physical health all her life. She became a union organizer and joined Alice Paul in the suffrage movement. In November 1917 she was the first to join Alice Paul in a hunger strike to demand the passage of the 19th amendment giving women the right to vote. During the hunger strike she was able to slip out notes on small bits of paper which Doris Stevens recorded in her 1920 book Jailed for Freedom. Here are a sampling:
If this thing [the hunger strike] is necessary we will naturally go through with it. Force is so stupid a weapon. I feel so happy doing my bit for decency–for our war, which is after all, real and fundamental.
The women are all so magnificent, so beautiful. Alice Paul is as thin as ever, pale and large-eyed. We have been in solitary for five weeks. There is nothing to tell but that the days go by somehow. I have felt quite feeble the last few days–faint, so that I could hardly get my hair brushed, my arms ached so. But to-day I am well again. Alice Paul and I talk back and forth though we are at opposite ends of the building and a hall door shuts us apart. But occasionally–thrills–we escape from behind our iron-barred doors and visit. Great laughter and rejoicing.
Alice Paul is in the psychopathic ward. She dreaded forcible feeding frightfully, and I hate to think how she must be feeling. I had a nervous time of it, gasping a long time afterward, and my stomach rejecting during the process. I spent a bad, restless night, but otherwise I am all right. The poor soul who feed me got liberally besprinkled during the process. I heard myself making the most hideous sounds…One feels so forsaken when one lies prone and people shove a pipe down one’s stomach.
This morning, but for an astounding tiredness, I am all right. I am waiting to see what happens when the President realizes that brutal bullying isn’t quite a statesmanlike method for settling a demand for justice at home. At least if men are supine enough to endure, women–to their eternal glory–are not. Excerpted from Doris Steven’s Jailed for Freedom pp. 188-189
Militancy is as much a state of mind, an approach to a task, as it is the commission of deeds of protest. It is the state of mind of those who in their fiery idealism do not lose sight of the real springs of human action. Doris Stevens