“Iron Jawed Angels” comes to Kenworthy

From staff reports

Tonight the story of how half of the United States’ population got the right to vote will come to Moscow, Idaho. At 7 p.m. the Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre will show “Iron Jawed Angels,” telling the story of the final stages in women’s suffrage. The film is sponsored by the Idaho League of Women Voters (ILWV) and is free to the public.

Muriel Roberts, past president of the ILWV, said the movie originally showed on television. Even though she was traveling when it aired, she made the time to stop and watch the movie in her hotel in Los Angeles.

The film captures the final push in the suffragists’ movement, she said. Older women, who had been working for equal rights for much longer than the younger movement, were not fond of the new advocates. The film looks at how Alice Paul and Lucy Burns had originally worked with Suffragettes in England and wanted to use a more activist method with American suffragists in order to pass the 19th Amendment.

“Suffragists is the term for the American women working for suffrage,” Roberts said, “and suffragettes is the term they used in England.”

Judy Edwards, current president of the ILWV, said Hilary Swank deserves kudos for creating this film. She said Swank does an outstanding job of showing us the suffragists’ struggle.

“It’s hard to believe what women had to go through to get the vote,” Edwards said.

Carrie Chapman Catt, one of the characters in the movie, also founded the League of Women Voters (LWV), Roberts said. When women picketed the Wilson White House in protest, they were arrested and imprisoned at the Occoquan Work House.

“You might be interested to know that a memorial to the suffragists is being created near the site of the spot where those women were imprisoned,” Roberts said.

Members of the LWV are currently raising funds to contribute to the memorial, she said. Those interested in participating can visit suffragistmemorial.org. The Interpretation and Design Committee is currently researching court records of the time to identify suffragists and design an accurate memorial. The memorial is planned to include 19 informational stations according to the Suffragist Memorial website.

Before the film, visitors are welcome to attend a meet and greet at 6 p.m. and a panel discussion titled “Why your vote matters” at 6:30 p.m.

Reporting by Addy Forte