Most know this famous rider but don’t know her name: Inez Milholland. Very few know her story. She was American Amazon who broke convention with her striking conscience. She was an advocate for gender equality, pacifism, racial justice, unions and free speech.
Her dedication was emboldened with a degree from Vassar, NYU Law Degree and admission to the New York Bar.
She captured headlines and mesmerized audiences as she proved that voting rights appealed, not just to “brainy women,” but to all women, “ladies” and beauties as well. Most famously, she led the 1913 Suffrage Parade on her horse, Gray Dawn; risking all as she rode directly into the masses of violent disapproving men. White cape, gloves and a crown, Inez became the Suffrage Movement’s very own Joan of Arc, the national iconic figure for VOTES FOR WOMEN.
Overcoming her insecurity of public speaking, she evolved into the voice of suffrage. In 1916, at the request of the National Woman’s Party, Inez traveled across the country, giving 50 speeches in 28 days through nine Western states where women COULD vote. . Never complaining, never hesitating, she collected herself, and rose to speak again and again.
Fighting through exhaustion, anemia, severe dental infections and persistent tonsillitis, she fell at the podium October 23,1916 at Blanchard Hall in Los Angeles. Her last public sentence, “President Wilson, how long must women wait for liberty? With that emotional plea and clear statement, Inez fell from the podium, was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital where she died 30 days later. She was only 30 years old.