Kindred & the Decades

Ms. Blakely's Updated Draft 12/4/11

Allison Paul's Vote

Ms. Blakely’s Research on Alice Paul

"Paul, Alice." Prejudice in the Modern World Reference Library. Vol. 3: Biographies. Detroit: UXL, 2007. 185-193. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 6 Jan. 2011.

Quotes from the sources:

Paul, Alice 1885-1977." American Decades. Ed. Judith S. Baughman, et al. Vol. 2: 1910-1919. Detroit: Gale, 2001. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 6 Jan. 2011.

Quotes from the sources:
Ms. Blakely’s 1st Draft

Allison Paul’s Vote

Allison’s parents always wanted her to go to Swarthmore College.  Allison was fairly indifferent; she wanted to be somewhat close to her family’s home in New Jersey and she knew that the school had a good journalism program.  When Allison got home from school on that cold January day, her parents handed her a large envelop.  As she opened the seals, her parents waited in anticipation to find out that she was accepted.  
“I think it’s a great school, but I just don’t get why you want me to go there so much?”
“Allison, sit down,” Mr. Paul said.  “We want to tell you something that is really important.”
Your great great aunt attended Swarthmore College.  And there is a hall dedicated to her there.  We wanted to wait until you turned eighteen to tell you this beautiful thing about our family’s history, but your acceptance to Swarthmore is perhaps just as meaningful.  Alice Paul is your ancestor and she was a key leader in the women’s rights movement. The reason you’ll be able to vote for the first time in a couple of months is because of so many sacrifices people like Alice made.”
Allison watched a tear form in her father’s eyes, and she knew at that moment that she was going to go to Swarthmore; in fact she was proud to go to Swarthmore.  Her mom handed her a large package that had a large and worn banner inside.  
“If you unfold it, you’ll read ‘NO SELF RESPECTING WOMAN SHOULD WISH OR WORK FOR THE SUCCESS OF A PARTY THAT IGNORES HER SEX” SUSAN B. ANTHONY 1872 AND 1894.’  Your great great aunt carried this banner in 1920 and it has been with our family since then,” her dad said.  


As  the weeks went by, her parents’ happiness did not fade.  After she got the acceptance letter, she told them the next day that she definitely wanted to go to Swarthmore. On January 10, 2007, she woke up for school, and her mom said that they wanted to take her out for a nice dinner for her birthday.  Despite the minimal snow that Mount Laurel gets most winters, it was immense and she had to wait until February to drive anywhere over five minutes.

“But, before we go, we’ll need to take you to the town hall to register you to vote,” Mrs. Paul said.  “You can drive if you want to.”

After school, Alison felt a whole new sense of freedom when she stepped behind the wheel.  She was always so indifferent about college and it was exciting to feel certain about her future.  As she walked up the steps to the town hall, being able to vote took on a whole new meaning.  A couple of months ago, it would have been another seemingly routine rite of passage to adulthood. But after finding out about Alice, she did so much research on the Women’s Suffrage Movement.  She found out that her great great aunt was one of the most militant suffragists; she received great opposition for picketing a war-time president and endured forced feeding when she was in jail.  She remembered that her history teacher showed a clip of this film last year called Iron Jawed Angels, and Hillary Swank played Alice Paul--her ancestor!  Allison had a whole new appreciation for her right to vote.  

****** Revision Note: When I asked my writing community groups for feedback, they said that I could maybe dilute some of the facts here to make the story flow more smoothly.

She waited in line at the desk identifying M-Z and then signed her name on the registry.  As she closed the curtain and casted her vote, she suddenly felt very light-headed.  She drew the curtain open and smelt cigarette smoke.  She thought it odd that someone would be smoking in town hall, but walked aside to look for her mom.  She didn’t see her mom anywhere in the voting room, but it sounded like a crowd of people were in the next room over.  

As she walked into the hallway, she spotted a couple of women wearing long dresses and hats.  They seemed to be looking at her oddly.  Allison was concerned.  Where could her mother be?

“You must be from the post, and she’s been looking all over for you.  Please hurry up.”  

What was going on?  These women seemed to be on a mission and Allison wasn’t about to argue, but tried to listen as they walked swiftly ahead of me.  She heard the one on the right say in a low tone, “Go figure they send some intern.  They wouldn’t do that to Sylvester, the bastard.”

A thousand questions circled Allison’s head.  Where were they taking her?  Who was Sylvester?  She didn’t remember voting for anyone named Sylvester.

“You must be new,” she said curtly.

A pretty blondish woman pulled her aside and seemed to convince her to talk to me.  “We think it is our duty to continue to go out.  We’ll support our men from our own front lines.  Are you going to write any of this down?”

Allison then realized that she must have been staring blankly at her.  She nodded, but realized that she didn’t have any paper on her, never mind a pen.