The First Hunger Strike

November 12, 2012 in Trivia

UC Berkley hunger strike

Source: Hungry for Justice/U.C. Berkley.

Q: When was the first hunger strike?

A: The first definitive evidence of a hunger strike dates from 1889, when female inmates of the Russian Kara Goal prison were reportedly required to be force-fed.

The first publicly known demonstration in the West was staged in 1909 by suffragette Marion Wallace Dunlop of the London Borough of Ealing. Dunlop was sentenced to one month in prison for painting a clause from the Bill of Rights on the walls of the House of Commons.

Committed to Holloway prison on July 1, 1909, Dunlop began refusing food on July 5. Authorities left trays of food by her bedside, which she would only throw out the window in the next morning. After maintaining her fast for 91 hours, Dunlop was released on grounds of ill health.