The First All-Female Jury, 1911
Posted on August 2, 2013
First All-Woman Jury, Los Angeles 1911
More than a century ago, these 12 ladies sat in a courtroom in Los Angeles and decided the fate of newspaper editor A.A. King. The charge was obscenity. In his paper, The Watts News, King had quoted an insult hurled at him by a city councilman.
At the time of the trial, American women were still eight years away from being able to vote in national elections. But the state of California granted suffrage in a special election on October 10, 1911, just 23 days before the trial began.
Fortunately for King, after 20 minutes of deliberation, these newly empowered women found him not guilty. the youngest juror, 22-year-old Nellie Moomau, told the Tacoma paper, “Our verdict did not mean we approved of such language, but it isn’t half so shocking to read it in the privacy of our homes as it is to hear it on the streets.”