Historic 1913 Suffrage March in Washington, D.C.

Lawyer Inez Milholland led the march on a white horse.

Lawyer Inez Milholland led the march on a white horse.

The march was quite theatrical, with women dressed as figures such as Liberty.

The march was quite theatrical, with women dressed as figures such as Liberty.

Delegations followed, women grouped by professions (including garment workers and scholars), by ethnicity and/or citizenship status (e.g., immigrant women). Delegations carried hastily-stitched homemade banners made from bedsheets or scraps of fabric. Other delegations carried garlands or wore sashes to identify themselves.

Delegations followed, women grouped by professions (including garment workers and scholars), by ethnicity and/or citizenship status (e.g., immigrant women). Delegations carried hastily-stitched homemade banners made from bedsheets or scraps of fabric. Other delegations carried garlands or wore sashes to identify themselves.

A sketch showing the order in which the delegations marched in Washington, D.C.

A sketch showing the order in which the delegations marched in Washington, D.C.

Former slave, Ida B. Wells, the journalist who forcibly desegregated the march by stepping into its midst with a delegation of Black women.

Former slave, Ida B. Wells, the journalist who forcibly desegregated the march by stepping into its midst with a delegation of Black women.

The film Iron-Jawed Angels (2004) portrays this historic march in one scene, including a sampling of delegations marching and the heckling and violence inflicted on the women marchers by the (largely male) crowd that attended the march. The scene also shows newly-elected Woodrow Wilson arriving at the train station to almost non-existent fanfare (because everyone was at the march).

Hilary Swank plays Alice Paul, who marched in her academic gown, Julia Ormond plays Inez Milholland, who leads the march on her white horse, and Adilah Barnes plays Ida B. Wells. (FYI: the background music becomes chant composed by 11th century German abbess, writer, composer, mystic, and activist-in-her-own-right Hildegard von Bingen).

 

CONTINUING THE FIGHT

Alice Paul and Lucy Burns, the two radical American suffragettes who organized the march, and many other suffragettes continued working to gain the right to vote after the march, picketing the White House in 1917 until President Wilson had them arrested.

Alice Paul

Alice Paul

A suffragette with a poster challenging President Woodrow Wilson's hypocrisy (c. 1913) in being alarmed at the Germans' lack of freedom while overlooking women citizens' lack of freedom in his own country.

A suffragette with a poster challenging President Woodrow Wilson’s hypocrisy (c. 1913) in being alarmed at the Germans’ lack of freedom while overlooking women citizens’ lack of freedom in his own country.

Alice Paul, Lucy Burns and others picketed outside the White House in all weather to pressure the president to grant women suffrage.

Alice Paul, Lucy Burns and others picketed outside the White House in all weather to pressure the president to grant women suffrage.

 

 

 

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