Night of Terror: Lucy Burns © Lesly-Claire Greenberg

Night of Terror: Lucy Burns

Lesly-Claire Greenberg

Fairfax, Virginia, USA

Artist Statement

Lucy Burns was a women’s rights activist. She worked tirelessly for the cause she believed in. She and her friend Alice Paul were two of the more militant suffragettes. Lucy has the distinction of the suffragette that spent the most nights in jail.

In November of 1917 Lucy and many others that were picketing in front of Woodrow Wilson’s Whitehouse, were jailed at the Occoquan Workhouse. During the night of November 14, 1917, forty plus guards with night sticks attacked the women to “teach them a lesson.” Because she was identified as “The Ring Leader,” Lucy’s attack was extremely brutal. She was stripped bare and her hands were manacled to the bars above her head where she remained in the cold all night. This night was referred to as “The Night of Terror.”

I often use thorns in my work to represent pain and suffering. There is a desolation of a garden gone to briars and weeds. Thorns are rather prickly, as is this tale.

Woman’s Groundbreaking Accomplishment

Lucy Burns along with Alice Paul founded the National Women’s Party. Lucy’s articulate speeches, strategy, and leadership contributed greatly towards winning Women’s Suffrage.


Machine piecing, hand and machine applique, fusing. Appliquick method used for turn under applique. Machine Quilted.


Cherrywood Handdyed Sueded Cotton Fabric, Misty fuse, Appliquick interfacing, Appliquick glue, cotton batting, Tutti cotton quilting thread and Aurifil piecing thread. Poly Cotton Invisafil applique thread.