By Brittany Weiner, undergraduate, State University at Oneonta
Frances (also Fanny) Ernst was born in 1887 in New York City, daughter of Charles and Lucretia Ernst. She was the second of four children and her father worked as a land agent. Her highest level of education was the 8th grade. She worked in a factory and belonged to a union. She married Alexander Green in 1907. His highest level of education was high school and he owned his own business.
The couple resided in Brooklyn in 1910 and 1920 with a son and daughter and Frances's widowed mother. By 1930 their Brooklyn household consisted of Alexander and Frances and their 20-year-old married daughter, Harriet Cahill. Husband and wife operated a laundry business and their daughter was a stenographer.
Frances was active in the woman suffrage movement in 1917 and picketed the White House. At the age of twenty-eight she was arrested as part of a second set of arrests on July 4, 1917. In July 1917, police arrested National Woman Party members Dora Kelly Lewis, Lucy Burns, and others for displaying a banner outside the White House that accused President Wilson and the United States of hypocrisy for claiming to fight for democracy when there was not yet democracy at home. The judge first offered to release them on a personal bond if they would agree to stay away from the White House for six months. Actions such as these were controversial, since many believed that they hurt the war effort.
Green was sentenced to pay a twenty-five dollar fine or go to jail for three days. She chose to spend three days in jail along with ten other arrested women; the other three paid the fine. She was charged with disturbing the peace in front of the White House. Given her participation in the picketing, she was labeled a Silent Sentinel.
Frances died in June 1953 in Brooklyn and is buried in Holy Cross Cemetery.
"Suffragists sentenced to three days in jail for picketing the white house" https://feminist.org/blog/index.php/2015/07/06/today-in-herstory-suffragists-sentenced-to-three-days-in-jail-for-picketing-the-white-house/.
Federal Manuscript Censuses, Brooklyn, household of Charles and Lucretia Ernst, 1900; Alexander and Fanny Green, Brooklyn, 1910, 1920, and 1930, accessed at Ancestry Library Edition. Death entry for Frances L. Green, 8 June 1953 at find-a-grave.
Workhouse Art Center, Lorton Virginia. Accessible online at https://www.fxva.com/workhouse-arts-center/. Located in the original workhouse buildings where many suffragists were jailed.
"Suffragists Go to Jail." New York Times, 7 July 1917, p. 8.
Doris Stevens, Jailed for Freedom (New York: Boni and Liveright, 1920), p. 360.