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Suffragette Parade - March 3, 1913

As the day of the now-famous suffragette parade draws closer, Alice Paul and Lucy Burns meet Inez Milholland.

A lawyer specializing in labor law, Milholland is both bright and beautiful.  The women come up with an idea for the parade:  Inez will lead the procession—hopefully consisting of thousands of women and their supporters—on a white horse, dressed in a white cape.

The day before Woodrow Wilson's inauguration, a large group of women march along Pennsylvania Avenue.  Could they have predicted how the spectators would treat them? 

The Library of Congress tells us what happened:

On Monday, March 3, 1913, clad in a white cape astride a white horse, lawyer Inez Milholland led the great woman suffrage parade down Pennsylvania Avenue in the nation's capital.  Behind her stretched a long line with nine bands, four mounted brigades, three heralds, about twenty-four floats, and more than 5,000 marchers.

Women from countries that had enfranchised women held the place of honor in the first section of the procession.  Then came the “Pioneers” who had been struggling for so many decades to secure women's right to vote.  The next sections celebrated working women, who were grouped by occupation and wearing appropriate garb—nurses in uniform, women farmers, homemakers, women doctors and pharmacists, actresses, librarians, college women in academic gowns

Harriet Hifton of the Library of Congress Copyright Division led the librarians' contingent.  The state delegations followed, and finally the separate section for male supporters of women's suffrage. 

All had come from around the country [Elizabeth Freeman, from New York, was dressed as a gypsy and driving a wagon decorated with "Votes for Women" symbols so she'd generate publicity] to “march in a spirit of protest against the present political organization of society, from which women are excluded.”

The procession began late, but all went well for the first few blocks. Soon, however, the crowds, mostly men in town for the following day's inauguration of Woodrow Wilson, surged into the street making it almost impossible for the marchers to pass. Occasionally only a single file could move forward.

Women were jeered, tripped, grabbed, shoved, and many heard “indecent epithets” and “barnyard conversation.”  Instead of protecting the parade, the police “seemed to enjoy all the ribald jokes and laughter and part participated in them.” 

One policeman explained that they should stay at home where they belonged. The men in the procession heard shouts of “Henpecko” and “Where are your skirts?” 

As one witness explained, “There was a sort of spirit of levity connected with the crowd. They did not regard the affair very seriously." (See Sheridan Harvey's article, "Marching for the Vote: Remembering the Woman Suffrage Parade of 1913," online at the Library of Congress - American Memory - web site.)

Despite their disrespectful treatment, Alice and her colleagues were happy with the press reports.  Would those great headlines help their cause?

See, also:

Alice Paul - Chairman of the Congressional Committee

Alice Paul and Lucy Burns - Building the Base

Success and Resistance - Alice Paul Keeps Fighting

Breaking Ranks within the Women's Movement

Lucy Burns - Let's Picket the White House

Lucy Burns and Alice Paul - Advocates for Women


Lucy Burns - Imprisoned at the Occoquan Workhouse

Alice Paul - Imprisoned

Alice Paul - Force Feeding

Victory - The 19th Amendment is Ratified

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5124stories and lessons created

Original Release: Oct 07, 2013

Updated Last Revision: Oct 23, 2017


Media Credits

Clip from "Iron-Jawed Angels" (2004), an HBO film about suffragettes fighting for a constitutional amendment, giving American women the right to vote. 

Clips online, courtesy HBO and YouTube.  All copyrights/ownership rights belong to HBO.  Provided here as "fair use" for educational purposes and to aquaint new viewers with the program.

Director:

Katja von Garnier

Producers:
Len Amato
Lydia Dean Pilcher
Robin Forman
Paula Weinstein

Writers:
Sally Robinson
Eugenia Bostwick-Singer
Raymond Singer
Jennifer Friedes

Starring:

Hilary Swank - Alice Paul
Frances O'Connor - Lucy Burns
Molly Parker - Emily Leighton (a fictional character portrayed as a senator's wife)
Laura Fraser - Doris Stevens
Lois Smith - Rev. Dr. Anna Howard Shaw
Vera Farmiga - Ruza Wenclawska (also known as Rose Winslow)
Brooke Smith - Mabel Vernon
Patrick Dempsey - Ben Weissman (a fictional character)
Julia Ormond - Inez Milholland
Adilah Barnes - Ida Wells-Barnett
Anjelica Huston - Carrie Chapman Catt

Music:
Reinhold Heil
Johnny Klimek

Cinematography:
Robbie Greenberg

Editing:
Hans Funck

Distributor:
HBO Films

Release date:
February 15, 2004

Running time:
125 minutes

Quoted passages from an article by Sheridan Harvey, online at the Library of Congress - American Memory - web site.

 

To cite this story (For MLA citation guidance see easybib or OWL ):

"Suffragette Parade - March 3, 1913" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 07, 2013. Oct 23, 2017.
       <https://www.awesomestories.com/asset/view/129639>.
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