Famous Fasts in History Emeline Pankhurst

About the famous faster Emeline Pankhurst who fasted for feminism.



When British suffragettes confined to prison began fasting to call attention to feminism and to obtain early release, the tactic proved so effective that in March, 1913, Parliament passed a measure known as the Cat and Mouse Act. Under its provisions, imprisoned suffragettes who refused to eat would be let out of jail, only to be rearrested later, their fasts and political martyrdom broken. In April of that year, feminist Emmeline Pankhurst, a slight, middle-aged woman with curly graying hair, undertook one of her many fasts while serving a term in Holloway Prison for, among other things, breaking the British prime minister's windows. In its wake, agitation swept England from one end to another. Ayr racecourse was burned. The glass covers of 13 paintings in the Manchester Art Gallery were marked, resulting in the temporary closing of the British Museum, the National Gallery, and Windsor Castle. Under the Cat and Mouse Act, Pankhurst continued to go in and out of prison, fasting during each incarceration, until a doctor declared that another term would be fatal.

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