Woodrow Wilson lands in Washington, DC, in March of 1913, a day before he is set to take the presidential oath of office. He is surprised by the modest turnout. The crowds and reporters are blocks away from Union Station, watching a parade of eight thousand suffragists on Pennsylvania Avenue in a first-of-its-kind protest organized by a twenty-five-year-old activist named Alice Paul. The next day, The New York Times calls the procession “one of the most impressively beautiful spectacles ever staged in this country.”
Mr. President, How Long Must We Wait? weaves together two storylines: the trajectories of Alice Paul and Woodrow Wilson, two apparent opposites. Paul’s procession of suffragists resulted in her being granted a face-to-face meeting with President Wilson, one that would lead to many meetings and much discussion, but little progress for women. With no equality in sight and patience wearing thin, Paul organized the first group to ever picket in front of the White House lawn—night and day, through sweltering summer mornings and frigid fall nights.
From solitary confinement, hunger strikes, and the psychiatric ward to ever more determined activism, Mr. President, How Long Must We Wait? reveals the courageous, near-death journey it took, spearheaded in no small part by Alice Paul’s leadership, to grant women the right to vote in America. “A remarkable tale” (Kirkus Reviews) and a rousing portrait of a little-known feminist heroine, this is an eye-opening exploration of a crucial moment in American history one century before the Women’s March.