July 28, 1879-December 22, 1966
American suffragist and women's rights advocate -
Lucy Burns met Alice Paul in England after becoming a member of the Women's Social and Political Union, an organization dedicated to fighting for women's rights in the United Kingdom. The feminist struggle for equality and woman's suffrage in the UK inspired Burns and Paul to continue the fight on their return to the United States. They joined the National American Women Suffrage Association as its Congressional lobbyists. However, they eventually split from NAWSA in a dispute over tactics and, in 1913 formed the Congressional Union for Women Suffrage.
Burns was arrested while picketing the White House and was sent to Occoquan Workhouse. In jail, Burns joined Alice Paul and many other women in hunger strikes, to demonstrate their commitment to their cause, claiming that they were political prisoners. Burns was force-fed and possibly tortured, as was Paul. Clift recounts that the force feeding of Lucy Burns required "five people to hold her down, and when she refused to open her mouth, they shoved the feeding tube up her nostril." Of the well-known suffragists of the era, Burns spent the most time in jail.
After women gained the right to vote in the United States, Burns retired from political life and devoted herself to the Catholic Church and her orphaned niece. She died on December 22, 1966.
In 2004, HBO Films broadcast "Iron Jawed Angels", chronicling the struggle of Lucy Burns, Alice Paul and other suffragists. Burns was portrayed by Australian actress Frances O'Connor.