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Alice Paul’s Perseverance for the Vote

Adams, Katherine H., and Michael L. Keene. Alice Paul and the American Suffrage Campaign. Champagne, Illinois: University of Illinois Press, 2007.

Anthony, Susan B. “Is it a Crime for a Citizen of the United States to Vote?”

Butler, Amy E. Two Paths to Equality: Alice Paul and Ethel M. Smith in the Era Debate, 1921-1929. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2002.

Walton, Mary. A Woman’s Crusade: Alice Paul and the Battle for the Ballot. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.

If your situation allows, present this activity when your students (or a majority of them) have just completed a traditionally arduous schoolrelated project, assignment, or other experience (e.g., U.S. history paper, AP exams, college or other applications, pre-season athletic training, science fair, or other major presentations).

Distribute plain white paper and colored pencils to students. Instruct students to fold the paper into thirds, as if folding a business letter. Have them unfold and create a horizontal “row” at the top of the paper and draw a straight line on each crease to create three sections of below that top “row”, as shown:


Instruct students to label each section as follows:

  • At the start
  • During
  • Post-Survival!

In the top row, students will identify a recent, difficult situation which required them to persevere. Using words, doodles, shapes, or drawings, students will describe how they felt—and what thoughts they had—at each of the three identified stages in the process. Encourage students to talk among themselves as they complete their illustrations.

Lead a class discussion in which the students describe how they felt heading into a difficult or intimidating project, what their strategies were as they went through it, what helped them to persevere, and how they felt after they had completed the process. Conclude the discussion by identifying common themes about what helped them to persevere and what intrinsic rewards they experienced by having persevered.

Post or project this definition of perseverance: Remembering how many before you chose the easy path rather than the right one, and staying the course.

Conclude the discussion by asking: How can knowing others’ stories of perseverance help us to persevere in difficult situations?

The optional introductory activity above is designed to support you in the classroom. However, the primary narratives and photos in the section that follows can be used with or without this introduction.

Student Handouts