Lavinia Lloyd Dock (1858-1956) was a nurse, author and social activist from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. She devoted her life to improving the profession of nursing. When she retired around the age of 50, she shifted her energies to women’s suffrage, leading several protests. Dock picketed the White House and was jailed on several occasions for militant suffrage activities.
In 1917, Dock wrote “The Young are at the Gates” which was published in The Suffragist, a weekly newspaper created by the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage (later the National Woman’s Party):
“…What is the potent spirit of youth? Is it not the spirit of revolt, of rebellion against senseless and useless and deadening things? Most of all, against injustice, which is of all stupid things the stupidest?
Such thoughts come to one in looking over the field of the suffrage campaign and watching the pickets at the White House and at the Capitol, where sit the men who complacently enjoy the rights they deny to the women at their gates. Surely, nothing but the creeping paralysis of mental old age can account for the phenomenon of American men, law-makers, officials, administrators and guardians of the peace, who can see nothing in the intrepid young pickets with their banners, asking for bare justice but common obstructers of traffic, nagger'-nuisances that are to be abolished by passing stupid laws forbidding and repressing to add to the old junk-heap of laws which forbid and repress? Can it be possible that any brain cells not totally crystallized could imagine that giving a stone instead of bread would answer conclusively the demand of the women who, because they are young, fearless, eager and rebellious, are fighting and winning a cause for all women – even for those who are timid, conventional and inert?
A fatal error – a losing fight. The old stiff minds must give way. The old selfish minds must go. Obstructive reactionaries must move on. The young are at the gates!”
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