Demontez Williams

Carver Early College High School | Atlanta, GA | 11th

Inspirational Family Member
My Grandmother Carol

My grandmother, Carol Cruse was born in Chicago, Illinois. As a girl, she wasn’t encouraged to vote by her parents. This was because they never voted themselves. She got the courage to vote on her own.

When she was growing up, you had to be twenty-one to vote, until the year 1971. She was already about twenty-four around this time. Around the time she was of age to vote, Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy were assassinated. She never voted in Chicago. My oldest auntie, great-grandmother, and grandmother moved to Atlanta, Georgia in the late 1960’s to early 1970’s.

My grandmother Carol  became a registered voter in the early 1970’s. The first presidential election she voted in was the Richard Nixon election in 1972. She voted for George McGovern, the Democrat in the election. Even though Richard Nixon won the election, she was not discouraged from voting. Even though she didn’t contribute in any civic activities, she always has encouraged my parents, uncles, aunties, cousins, siblings, and I to vote when we are of age. She voted in many smaller elections and presidential elections. Her most memorable election was for President Barack Obama in the 2008 election. This is because he made history by becoming the first African-American to become President of the United States. She encouraged herself to vote even when no one in her life voted or cared to get her to vote. And instead of doing what others did to her, she encouraged all of her children and their children to vote. She moved to a new state and changed her life for the better and got politically involved in society. Without her, I wouldn’t care as much as I do today about voting.

Historical Figure I Admire
Christabel Pankhurst

Christabel Pankhurst grew up in a family of women suffrage influencers. The family was solidly middle-class, not wealthy, but well educated. Her family members are her mother Emmeline Pankhurst, her father Richard Pankhurst, and her sister Sylvia Pankhurst.

Christabel was influenced by her father, Richard Pankhurst, who was a strong advocate for women’s suffrage. Richard was responsible for drafting the Municipal Franchise Act of 1869 that resulted in unmarried women householders being allowed to vote in local elections. Before his death in 1898, he wrote the first women’s suffrage bill. Her mother was one of the best known British suffrage leaders and a founder of the more radical Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU). Christabel followed in her father’s footsteps and became a lawyer, as well. She became a powerful leader in the WSPU. She did such things as hold up signs supporting women's suffrage at Liberal Party meetings and speaking to a crowd of 500,000 people. She went on a hunger strike and served 30 days of a 3 year sentence. The militancy began to get more violent in 1910, when protesters were beginning to be beaten and killed. This led to her leaving England. After a failed attempt at running for Parliament, King George V made her the Dame Commander of the British Empire. Soon after, she followed her adopted daughter to America.

Because her parents, Richard and Emmeline, were advocates for women’s suffrage, Christabel and her sister Sylvia followed in their footsteps and fought for women's suffrage. She organized the tactics of the militant British Suffrage Movement. She took such risks as going to jail and not eating in jail. She was fighting for her right to vote and be politically involved. At a young age her parents’ accomplishments influenced her to have this mindset. She impacted others around her by putting her all into what she believed in. She went to jail multiple times over what she thought was right. She saw her plans through by not giving up on them with all the obstacles set in front of her. She helped women of future generations and went to great lengths to do so. On multiple occasions, Christabel Pankhurst sacrificed her freedom to achieve women's suffrage. She protested at a Liberal Party meeting and got arrested. She was arrested so many times, she was nicknamed “Queen of the Mob.” Christabel Pankhurst’s course of action led to women getting the right to vote, to run for office and more. She was a member of a family of suffrage activists who helped contribute in major ways to women’s goal to achieve equality.

What the Project Means to Me

Gathering information about my grandmother and Christabel Pankhurst, I learned that women went through a lot to gain the right to vote and be politically involved. They went through a lot of risk taking and sacrifices to get the equal rights they deserved. Christabel Pankhurst did protests for her right to vote and be politically involved. She went to jail and gambled her life by going on strike and starving herself. They had to force feed her to keep her alive. Only to get out of jail quicker; she served 30 days of a 3 year sentence. She took a risk about what she believed to be right and didn’t care about the consequences. Her entire immediate family fought for women's suffrage including Richard, Emmeline, and Sylvia Pankhurst. They all did a lot for women's rights. They made an impact on women's suffrage that is still felt today.

On the other hand my grandmother was not encouraged to vote by her family. They didn’t vote which caused her to be discouraged. She found her own encouragement and blessed us with it. She made changes in her life like moving from Chicago to Atlanta to start her own family and encouraging them to politically be involved. Even though she didn’t grow up in the period when women couldn’t vote, she still wanted for everyone to have equal rights. She didn’t advocate for women's suffrage, but used her right to vote. This is how women such as my grandmother and Christabel Pankhurst help me learn about women suffrage.

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