Reporter's Notebook

Undercover: March 2020


Illustra­tion by
Emily Lui

suffragette Alice Paul

In the early twentieth century, women didn’t demand things. They asked politely and with ladylike deference. They said “please.”

Except for Alice Paul.

As the leader of the militant wing of the suffrage movement, Paul—an AU alumna three times over—picked up where Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton left off, leading American women’s battle for the ballot.  

In 1913, on the eve of President Woodrow Wilson’s inauguration, she staged a parade down Pennsylvania Avenue that drew 8,000 women from across the country. Donning sashes and robes in the movement’s signature shades—purple and yellow—the suffragettes carried what came to be known as the Great Demand banner:

We demand an amendment to the Constitution of the United States enfranchising the women of the country.

Paul, who also authored the Equal Rights Amendment, was a revolutionary. An athletic bookworm, she devoted her life to women's equality, enduring beatings, imprisonment, and force-feedings in the name of the cause. Paul was Wonder Woman in a petticoat, which is why we opted to give her story the comic book treatment. 

We enlisted Emily Lui, a talented young artist from Provo, Utah, to create what we're pretty sure is the first-ever comic about the 19th Amendment: Alice Paul and the Petticoat Army: The Suffragettes' March to Victory. We photographed our heroine on a shelf handmade by art director Maria Jackson, surrounded by other comic books. (We originally hoped to present Paul alongside Superman and Batman—suggesting that she's as much of a badass as they are—but we thought better of tangling with DC Comics.)

This year, the 19th Amendment, which was ratified on August 26, 1920, marks its centennial. We hope you enjoy our fresh, fun take on this important anniversary as much as we liked working on it.