Posted on 11/18/2013

Photo taken on March  3, 1913

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Women's Suffrage Movement
Suffrage Parade
Washington DC
Ida B. Wells-Barnett
Howard University
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority

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Photo replaced on November 20, 2013
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Women's Suffrage Parade in Washington DC

Women's Suffrage Parade in Washington DC
The Women’s Suffrage Parade, organized by activist Alice Paul in support of a constitutional amendment guaranteeing women the right to vote, took place one day before Woodrow Wilson became the 28th president of the United States. On March 3, 1913, protesters were pushed, shoved, tripped, spat upon and injured and the police “didn’t hold the mobs back.”

Marching against the status quo was not easy for white women, but it was even more difficult for African American women because of the racist sentiment of the day, as well as white suffragists who did not favor suffrage for black women.

So, despite the fact that the right to vote was no less important to black women than it was to black men and white women, African American women were told to march at the back of the parade with a black procession.

Despite all of this, the 22 founders of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority marched. It was the only African American women’s organization to participate. The group was founded on January 13, 1913, at Howard University, and its contribution to the Washington’s Women’s Suffrage Parade was the founders’ first public act.

Ida B. Wells-Barnett, also a member of Delta Sigma Theta, a journalist, outspoken suffragist and anti-lynching crusader, founded the Alpha Suffrage Club of Chicago, the first African American women’s suffrage organization. Her members joined her in marching for women’s suffrage at the 1913 parade in Washington. When the Illinois procession instructed Wells-Barnett of the edict that she march with an all-black delegation, she "refused to take part unless ‘I can march under the Illinois banner.’ ” And so she did, walking between two white supporters in the Illinois delegation.

Washington Post 'She the People' by Michelle Bernard (March 3, 2013)