Emma Loewe

Adolfo Camarillo High School | Camarillo, CA | 10th

Inspirational Family Member
My Great-Great-Grandmother

Albertine May Davis is my great-great-grandmother and she happens to be one of the very first of American women voters in my family. Albertine was born on August 14, 1898. While still a young adult into her early twenties, Albertine lived in Detroit, Michigan. While living in Detroit, Albertine took a stance for women's rights. She participated in many rallies and marches going on at the time. In 1920 Michigan women gained the right to vote, two years prior than on the national level! Once gaining the right to vote, Albertine settled down and married Samuel Garfield Davis on July 29, 1920. The happy couple moved to Leoni Township In 1923 and had their first daughter Dorothy. In 1926 they had my great-grandmother Geneva, followed in 1928 by Wilma. In 1931 they had Albert, and in 1939 they had Irene.

Albertine may not have marched in the streets any more demanding voting rights but she actually ran for Leoni Township political office in 1932, although, sadly, unsuccessfully. After setting her political career aside, Albertine began to work in a factory. While working there, she lost all four fingers on her right hand down to the nub. Despite this difficulty, Albertine still led a normal life. I have heard many stories from my great-grandmother telling me all about how she still managed to learn how to read and write with her left hand, as well as learn how to drive. Along with being especially gifted in overcoming obstacles she was also an awesome grandmother to my grandma Sandra, and a great-grandmother to my mother, Erin. Sadly, Albertine died on January 23, 1983, in an automobile accident. 

Historical Figure I Admire
Emmeline Pankhurst

Emmeline Pankhurst was born June 14,1858 in Manchester, England. Pankhurst’s parents were also very politically active, she was first introduced to the women's suffrage movement at the young age of fourteen. At the age of twenty-one Pankhurst married Richard Pankhurst, a forty-four year old barrister and political activist. The couple produced three daughters, Christabel, Sylvia and Adela, and two sons Harry and Frank, although Frank died at a young age. Supported by her husband and children, Pankhurst continued in her efforts to achieve women’s rights. In 1903 she founded the Women’s Social and Political Union, members of this group were known as suffragettes. The WSPU was a women-only group that focused solely on women’s voting rights. All of Pankhurst's daughters were members of this group at one point in their lives, Christabel being the most active. One imagines growing up in a household with so many strong women can only inspire activism.

After the death of her husband in 1898, Pankhurst continued to devote her life to women’s rights; she yearned for equality and was not afraid to use controversial methods to achieve it. Two years after Pankhurst founded WSPU, in 1905, she was arrested for the first time. It was for assault on an officer. Many other members of the WSPU were also imprisoned many times before women gained the right to vote; Pankhurst alone was arrested seven times. The WSPU was notorious for their unconventional methods, including rioting, arson, as well as destruction of old artwork. These ladies were hardcore! In her attempts to get women the right to vote, Pankhurst ran for a seat in Parliament, although she was stopped because she fell ill and could no longer continue due to these health issues. On June 14, 1928, weeks before parliament gave women the right to vote, Emmeline Pankhurst died at the age of sixty-nine.

During the time Emmeline Pankhurst lived there were many things going on at the time in England and all around the world. In Seneca Falls, New York, the very first women’s rights convention took place in 1848. Only one year later California lawmakers extended property rights to women. In 1850 the first US National Women’s Rights Convention took place. Sixteen years later in England, John Stuart Mill MP suggests the first mass women’s suffrage petition to the House of Commons, it gained over 1500 signatures. One year later in 1867, the Manchester National Society for Women's Suffrage was founded along with many other women's suffrage organizations from all across Britain.

In 1870 Parliament passed the The Married Women's Property Act allowing married women to own their own property and money. In 1880, women in Tynwald gained the right to vote under certain conditions. In 1894, Britain allowed women to vote in local and county elections. In 1902, 37,000 women drafted a demand for women to get a vote and sent it to Parliament. In 1907 women were allowed to run for local office positions. In May 1914, Emmeline Pankhurst and many other suffragists marched to Buckingham Palace trying to present a petition to King George V. Also in 1914, the First World War began and women were urged to support the war effort, and almost five million more British women are employed by 1915. Finally in 1928 women over 21 gain the right to vote in elections. As one can see Emmeline did not live an easy life. She was constantly fighting against prejudice and for women's rights. She was brilliant, and cunning and it’s such a shame she could not see the day where all women gained the right to vote

What the Project Means to Me

I think that voting is super important. It is your voice and many people worked hard to get you that right. As I saw with Emmeline Pankhurst, she devoted her entire life to attempt to get women the voting rights that they deserve. If we do not vote it shows we are ungrateful for the massive amount of work that many women before us have done. Still today only half of the eligible US population votes, it is so important to have your voice and opinion heard on all levels of government. Voting in local elections helps in many ways, it gets your opinion out there and also it creates a representative which you can willingly support.

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