Worldsport

The Suffragette who would not be silenced

Updated 9:20 AM ET, Fri May 31, 2013
Share
suffragette emily davison epsom derbysuffragette emily davison epsom derby
1 of 6
In a shocking instant, Suffragette Emily Davison is knocked to the ground by the King's horse during the 1913 Epsom Derby. Yet take a closer look and you'll see the majority of spectators are instead watching the race. Arthur Barrett/Getty Images/File
This Saturday marks 100 years since Davison ran onto the track before an audience of more than 200,000 people. "The Epsom Derby in 1913 was undoubtedly the biggest sporting event in the country -- if not one of the biggest in the world. A huge conglomeration of people would assemble -- lords would mingle with criminals quite contentedly," said horse racing historian Michael Tanner. Hulton Archive/Getty Images/File
Four days after she dashed onto the track, Davison died in hospital. Her funeral procession through the streets of London had all the appearances of a state funeral. "Few people are given to that sort of sacrifice, in private or public life, and they are usually reviled or ignored while they live. But it is they who change the course of history - who make history itself," said British journalist Melissa Benn. Hulton Archive/Getty Images/File
The Suffragettes -- who campaigned for womens' right to vote -- had a distinctive style, pictured here wearing white flowing dresses and black arm bands at Davison's funeral procession. They wore purple, white and green sashes -- purple symbolized dignity, white represented purity, and green stood for hope. Hulton Archive/Getty Images/File
The activists used militant protest methods, such as chaining themselves to railings and smashing windows. Historians are divided on their success, with Tanner arguing: "Unfortunately for the legacy of Emily Davison, World War One broke out a year later, in 1914, and the Suffragettes believed it would have appeared unpatriotic to continue the struggle while the country was at war." Hulton Archive/Getty Images/File
Five years after Davison's death, in 1918, women aged over 30 won the vote in Britain. Ten years later the age was reduced to 21 -- equal with men. "But we still have a long way to go. Four fifths of Parliament are men -- it is a very masculine place," said Benn. Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images/File