Secondary Source

Documentary on Inez Milholland: “Forward Into Light”

Martha Wheelock. "Forward Into Light." National Women’s History Project and Wild West Women, Inc. 2016.

Era: Post-Suffrage Era | Media: Film, Video, Web-based

This fifteen-minute documentary tells the story of Inez Milholland, an important player in the suffrage movement, as well as a death penalty abolitionist and advocate for the poor.

Along with Alice Paul, Milholland was part of the radical wing of the suffrage movement, using disruptive tactics that rankled some other suffrage leaders who thought radical tactics like protesting President Woodrow Wilson would alienate the elected officials suffragists’ needed to win voting rights. As the website for “Forward Into Light” explains:

Known for her elegance, beauty and public presence, [Milholland] led a big march down Fifth Avenue for New York Suffrage in 1912. On the heels of that great spectacle, Inez was drafted by Alice Paul to lead the NAWSA radical parade to disturb the inauguration of the newly elected Democrat, Woodrow Wilson. March 3, 1913. Inez led 8,000 women down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House.

Though Milholland fell ill in 1916, she decided to complete an already-planned speaking tour. She died after speaking at a suffrage event in Los Angeles. The “Forward Into Light” website explains that Milholland “[s]tanding at the podium…wobbled and fell to the floor, gasping her famous last public words, ‘Mr. President, How Long Must Women Wait for Liberty?’”

“Forward Into Light” can be ordered for free by applying for a copy at the website. The site also offers other resources, such as links to further research and photos.

Watch a trailer for the film here:

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