On This Day
1907 – The Mud March is the first large procession organised by the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (NUWSS).
The United Procession of Women, or Mud March as it became known, was a peaceful demonstration in London on 9 February 1907 organised by the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (NUWSS), in which more than three thousand women marched from Hyde Park Corner to the Strand in support of women’s suffrage. Women from all classes participated in what was the largest public demonstration supporting women’s suffrage seen up to that date. It acquired the name “Mud March” from the day’s weather, when incessant heavy rain left the marchers drenched and mud-spattered.
The proponents of women’s suffrage were divided between those who favoured constitutional methods and those who supported direct action. In 1903 Emmeline Pankhurst formed the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU). Known as the suffragettes, the WSPU held demonstrations, heckled politicians, and from 1905 saw several of its members imprisoned, gaining press attention and increased support from women. To maintain that momentum and create support for a new suffrage bill in the House of Commons, the NUWSS and other groups organised the Mud March to coincide with the opening of Parliament. The event attracted much public interest and broadly sympathetic press coverage, but when the bill was presented the following month, it was “talked out” without a vote.
While the march failed to influence the immediate parliamentary process, it had a considerable impact on public awareness and on the movement’s future tactics. Large peaceful public demonstrations, never previously attempted, became standard features of the suffrage campaign; on 21 June 1908 up to half a million people attended Women’s Sunday, a WSPU rally in Hyde Park. The marches showed that the fight for women’s suffrage had the support of women in every stratum of society, who despite their social differences were able to unite and work together for a common cause.
Born On This Day
1874 – Amy Lowell, American poet, critic, and educator (d. 1925)
Amy Lawrence Lowell (February 9, 1874 – May 12, 1925) was an American poet of the imagist school from Brookline, Massachusetts. She posthumously won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1926.
Walter Heinrich Munk (October 19, 1917 – February 8, 2019) was an American physical oceanographer. He was a professor of geophysics emeritus and held the Secretary of the Navy/Chief of Naval Operations Oceanography Chair at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California.
Munk applied for American citizenship in 1939 after the Anschluss and enlisted in the ski troops of the U.S. Army as a private. This was unusual as all the other young men at Scripps joined the U.S. Naval Reserve. Munk was eventually excused from military service to undertake defense-related research at Scripps. He joined several of his colleagues from Scripps at the U.S. Navy Radio and Sound Laboratory, where they developed methods related to amphibious warfare. Their methods were used successfully to predict surf conditions for Allied landings in North Africa, the Pacific theater of war, and on D-Day during the Normandy invasion. Munk commented in 2009, “The Normandy landing is famous because weather conditions were very poor and you may not realize it was postponed by General Eisenhower for 24 hours because of the prevailing wave conditions. And then he did decide, in spite of the fact that conditions were not favorable, it would be better to go in than lose the surprise element, which would have been lost if they waited for the next tidal cycle [in] two weeks.”
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