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What happened on Derby day 1913?

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On June 4th 1913 Emily Davison attended the Derby at Epsom. There she committed the only successful suffragette suicide by being trampled under the hooves of the Kings' horse. I have looked at many different accounts of what actually happened on the day, including newspaper reports and a video, and although they all say Emily did commit suicide, some contradict each other and disagree on things such as: * The position of the King's horse during the race. * How she got onto the race course * When Emily actually died * And Why Emily Davison actually committed suicide, (was it planned or just a spur of the moment idea?) What you have to understand whilst studying sources is that different people have different views on things and the sources were written for different purposes. For example, a letter to a loved one saying what happened on Derby day will not be the same as a newspaper article for a conservative, (who were anti-suffrage.) Some sources have the benefit of hindsight and will know what happened afterwards; whereas something written when Miss. Davison was still in hospital unconscious will not know she is going to die four days after the derby. The first source I looked at was an extract from an article of The Times, (a conservative newspaper,) ...read more.


Also more would have been heard about what happened when this book was written.) I think it is just a small part of a very big book, and so there is not a lot of detail on the event. This extract tells us Emily was 'clutching a petition,' (I did not see her with one on the video,) no other sources said she was doing this. J. Ray also says the 'suffragettes were provided with a martyr,' this, I personally think, is his opinion and therefore at the time the book was written it was most definitely established that the suicide was for the suffragette motion. Source 4 is a part of book called 'The Emancipation of Women,' by D. Brook, 1970. It states that Emily Davison's death was 'the only successful suffragette suicide.' It tells us she had to dodge police, (no other source has mentioned this,) to get onto the course. It agrees with source 1 by saying the King's horse was one of the last bunch. However, unlike the other sources it quotes 'Quite by chance,' implying that her action was spur of the moment and was not planned. Adding to this it, unlike all the other sources, says 'she fell in front of the plunging hooves.' The other sources say she 'threw herself.' ...read more.


This footage makes me think her actions were planned, but makes you wonder if Emily intended to kill herself or not. After looking at all the sources I think the video is more believable as to me, seeing is believing. My version of the day at the derby is as follows: * Emily Davison attended the derby, none of the authors who wrote the sources, (except maybe the newspaper reporter but I think not, did attend the derby.) * As shown on the video, Miss. Davison stood and waited for the horse to knock her over, it was planned and her action was deliberate for the suffragettes' cause. * She died four days later, hindsight evidence shows this. Emily Davison's suicide is remembered and seen as a militant act for the Suffragettes' cause. Because Emily died four days later, and did not regain consciousness after the incident we will never know what actually went through her head, what she was thinking or if she planned to do this or not. I often wonder if she did not die, would her actions have bought the vote any nearer? And I also think if it had been a different horse at a different race not many people would associate her death with a suffragette cause. Is this how she wanted to be remembered? ...read more.

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