Why is Emily Wilding Davison remembered as the first suffragette martyr?
“She paid ‘the price of freedom’. Glad to pay it — glad though it brought her to death (..) the first woman martyr who has gone to death for this cause.” In the context of the women’s suffrage campaign who do you think was the subject of this eulogy? Was it Emily Wilding Davison, the centenary of whose death is being honoured this June?
Unlike Emily Davison, Mary Clarke was not merely a member of the WSPU, but one of its inner circle, fully involved in the campaign from its early days, twice imprisoned after taking part in deputations, and, from mid-1909, based in Brighton as a paid organizer. Her final imprisonment came at the end of November 1910; she had thrown a stone through the window of a London police station. On 23 December, on her release from Holloway, she spoke at a WSPU ‘welcome’ luncheon and two days later, aged 48, died of a brain hemorrhage attributed to the strain of her prison sentence. Her sister, Emmeline, was at her side when she died.
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