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The Suffragette, May Billinghurst campaigning in her wheelchair. May Billinghurst suffered paralysis as a child and took part in Suffragette demonstrations in her wheelchair. Having joined the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU) in 1907 she later founded the Greenwich branch of the WSPU and was imprisoned several times for militancy enduring hunger-strike and force feeding. On Black Friday, November 1910 May was one of many Suffragettes involved in brutal confrontation with the police. She gave the following description of her experience: 'At first, the police threw me out of the machine [wheelchair] on to the ground in a very brutal manner. Secondly, when on the machine again, they tried to push me along with my arms twisted behind me in a very painful position, with one of my fingers bent right back, which caused me great agony. Thirdly, they took me down a side road and left me in the middle of a hooligan crowd, first taking all the valves out of the wheels and pocketing them, so that I could not move the machine, and left me to the crowd of roughs, who, luckily, proved my friends.'
H 86 mm; W 135 mm
card; paper; ink; photographic gelatin
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