New suffragist memorial to open in Fairfax Co. recalls ‘Night of Terror’

Renderings for the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial show the details of the design.
Renderings for the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial show the details of the design. (Courtesy The Turning Point Suffragist Memorial)
Reenactors are seen at the groundbreaking event for the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial in Fairfax County, Virginia, on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019. (WTOP/John Aaron)
Officials and organizers break ground on the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial in Fairfax County, Virginia, on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019. (WTOP/John Aaron)
Chairwoman Alice Paul, second from left, and officers of the National Woman’s Party, hold a banner with a Susan B. Anthony quote in front of the NWP headquarters in Washington, D.C., June 1920. The suffragettes are ready for the G.O.P. convention to seek support for the ratification of the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote. The other suffragettes are, Sue White, Mrs. Benigna Green Kalb, Mrs. James Rector, Mary Dubrow and Elizabeth Kalb. (AP)
This is a circa 1918 photo of women demonstrating at the White House demanding voting rights. (AP/Anonymous)
Renderings for the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial show the details of the design. (Courtesy The Turning Point Suffragist Memorial)
Renderings for the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial show the details of the design. (Courtesy The Turning Point Suffragist Memorial)
Renderings for the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial show the details of the design. (Courtesy The Turning Point Suffragist Memorial)
Renderings for the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial show the details of the design. (Courtesy The Turning Point Suffragist Memorial)
Renderings for the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial show the details of the design. (Courtesy The Turning Point Suffragist Memorial)
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Renderings for the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial show the details of the design.

There will soon be a memorial in Fairfax County, Virginia, honoring the women who fought for their right to vote.

The groundbreaking was held Thursday for the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial, which memorial association Executive Director Pat Wirth called, “the only women’s national suffragist memorial in the country.”

Wirth said the job of the memorial is “telling the entire seven-decade story — from 1848 to 1920 — about the suffrage movement.”

Both the location of the memorial and the date of the groundbreaking are significant.

The memorial will be located at Occoquan Regional Park in Lorton, Virginia, on what used to be the Occoquan Workhouse prison grounds. That’s where the so-called “Night of Terror” took place, exactly 102 years before the groundbreaking.

On Nov. 14, 1917, women who had been arrested outside the White House while demanding the right to vote were taken to the prison, where they were met with violence. After their arrests, “they were beaten, they were tortured, they were inhumanely kept,” Wirth said. “It was just horrific.”

Many believe the “Night of Terror” became a turning point for the suffrage movement, hence the name of the memorial.

It is set to open in August 2020. Its dedication will be among a number of events marking 100 years since the passage of the 19th Amendment.

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