Two years after the National Woman’s Party moved into 144 Constitution Avenue Northeast, a three-story, red-brick building steps from the U.S. Capitol, Alva Belmont, the benefactor of the women’s suffrage group, declared: “May it stand for years and years to come, telling of the work that the women of the United States have accomplished; the example we have given foreign nations; and our determination that they shall be—as ourselves—free citizens, recognized as the equals of men.”
The building, today known as the Sewall-Belmont House and Museum, was designated a national monument on Tuesday.
“The house tells the story of a century of courageous activism by American women,” President Obama wrote in a presidential proclamation.
“I want young girls and boys to come here—10, 20, 100 years from now—to know that women fought for equality, it was not just given to them,” Obama said in a speech at the house late Tuesday morning. “I want them to come here and be astonished that there was ever a time that women could not vote. I want them to be astonished that there was ever a time when women earned less than men for doing the same work.”
The Sewall-Belmont House & Museum will be renamed as the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument, in honor of Belmont and Alice Paul, who founded the National Women’s Party in 1917 and would become the key strategist of the campaign for the women’s vote in the 1910s.