I am going to fight capitalism even if it kills me. It is wrong that people like you should be comfortable and well fed while all around you people are starving
The Pankhurst name is famously linked the Suffragette movement of the early twentieth century, with political activist Sylvia Pankhurst among the pioneering campaigners who ultimately won the vote for women.
Sylvia’s mother, Emmeline, and sister, Christabel led the Women’s Social and Political Union and after leaving arts school in 1906, Sylvia joined them in the fight for women’s rights.
During her first years in the Union, Sylvia used her skills in art and design to help the cause; she designed the organisations logo, decorated meeting venues, drew up pamphlets and leaflets and worked as an honorary secretary.
Sylvia was imprisoned and force-fed more than any other Suffragette. An politically active socialist, she also fought for men, as well as women, who – in the early 1900s – were not entitled to vote because they did not own property.
Sympathising with the Irish independence movement, Sylvia was expelled from the WPSU in 1913, going on to form her own socialist movement. She defied social convention, choosing to live, unwed, with an Italian anarchist, Silvio Corio, with whom she had a child. Her family disowned her.
Sylvia also set her sights on improving the awful conditions faced by the poorer residents of the East End of London and with the help of local tradesmen established the ‘Cut Price Restaurant’, which fed 400 people daily and ran on donations.
In her later life, she became sympathetic to the cause of Haile Selassie and Ethiopian independence. She moved to Ethiopia at Solassie’s invitation in 1956, where she lived with her son as an advisor to the Emperor. She died in Addis Ababa in 1960, and was granted a full state funeral there.