She had told nobody of her plans for the day, nor her motives. The events that would take place at the Epsom Derby that day would shock the nation and help to usher in the social change for which her movement had struggled for so long.
Emily Wilding Davison had been a literature student at Royal Holloway, and funded her own studies at the University of Oxford; however, the University didn’t give degrees to women at that time. Women were also denied the vote, and Davison soon began to dedicate her life to changing that fact.
As an activist of the WSPU, led by Emmeline Pankhurst, she undertook campaigning, civil disobedience and confrontational tactics to pursue universal suffrage in the UK. Her activism saw her sentenced to seven terms in prison, force-fed, and seriously injured after jumping down a staircase to protest the force-feeding of a fellow suffragette.
Her true intentions have been the subject of historians’ conjecture: perhaps to cross the track, bring down a rider, attach a Suffragette flag to a horse, or target the King’s horse.
Emily Wilding Davison, 1872 - 1913
Davison was knocked to the ground by Anmer, who tumbled and threw Jones onto the track, who broke a rib and suffered cuts and bruises. Davison was taken to hospital with a fractured skull, but never regained consciousness and succumbed to her injuries four days later. The court’s inquest ruled that her death was due to ‘misadventure.’
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