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April 22, 2016

Among the five early women’s rights activists to be pictured on the back of the redesigned $10 bill will be New Jersey’s own Alice Paul. Paul was a key leader of the suffragette movement in the early 1900s, which led to the adoption in 1920 of the 19th amendment to the Constitution of the United States, giving women the right to vote.

Paul, a Quaker and Swarthmore college graduate, earned a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, and later, three law degrees. Nevertheless, Paul was a radical leader of the movement, arranging protest marches and picketing the White House. She was often arrested, later incarcerated for seven months and conducted a hunger strike, after which she was removed to a psychiatric ward. She also founded the National Women’s Party, which led the fight for the right to vote.

After the adoption of the 19th amendment, Paul continued in her quest for women’s equal rights, writing the original Equal Rights Amendment and fighting for it until her death in 1977. She was a major player in seeing that women’s rights were included in the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Paul was born in Mt. Laurel, where she lived most of her life at Paulsdale, her family homestead and farm. The home is now a heritage site, and the location of the Alice Paul Institute, which advocates for women’s rights and runs leadership programs for girls. Tours of the site and discussions about Alice Paul’s life are regularly offered.

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