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Margaret M. Fotheringham

(1890–1949) On August 23, 1917, Margaret and five other women appeared at the White House bearing banners quoting President Woodrow Wilson. Within ten minutes of their protest, all the women were arrested for obstructing traffic. When they pleaded their case the judge pointed out that the president was “not the one to petition for justice.” The women were fined twenty-five dollars or thirty days at Occoquan Workhouse. Every woman refused to pay the fine.

On September 4, 1917, during a parade for recently drafted soldiers of World War I, Margaret was again arrested, along with twelve other women. In a fashion similar to their earlier picketing at the White House, the women all sported controversial banners. This time the banners stated, “Mr. President, how long must women be denied a voice in the government that is conscripting their sons?” The punishment was more severe, and the women served sixty days at Occoquan Workhouse.

During her confinement, Margaret and ten other women, claiming to be political prisoners, refused to work. As a result of her bold activism for women’s voting rights, Margaret lost her job in the Buffalo public schools. Rather than appearing before the school board to answer its charges, she accepted a position with the Red Cross. The Central Federated Labor Union of New York criticized the Buffalo school authorities for suspending Margaret, pointing out that the suspension violated the Clayton Act, whereby non-violent picketing was legal. (Courtesy


Forest Lawn Cemetery

Section: 27, Lot: 345-EM PT, Space: 7

1411 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14209

Erie County

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