Woman Suffrage Procession - March 3, 1913

Woman Suffrage Procession - March 3, 1913 Civil Rights American History Social Studies

At about the same time as Woodrow Wilson would enjoy an inaugural parade, as America’s newly sworn-in President, a group of women suffragists - led by Alice Paul - thought it would be a great idea to have a "freedom" parade coincide with the inaugural parade.

The audacious women were hopeful that their suffrage parade would compete with (and draw people away from) the Presidential parade. They scheduled it for the day before Wilson's swearing-in.

They were also hopeful that their actions would cause the new President to take notice and do something about the plight of disenfranchised U.S. women.

This image depicts the official program of that March 3, 1913 suffrage parade.

The Library of Congress, where an original program is kept, provides this description for it:

Official program - Woman suffrage procession, Washington, D.C. March 3, 1913

Cover of program for the National American Women's Suffrage Association procession, showing woman, in elaborate attire, with cape, blowing long horn, from which is draped a "votes for women" banner, on decorated horse, with U.S. Capitol in background.

How did people react to the "Freedom Parade?" The Museum of American History, at the Smithsonian, tells us about the event itself (and the headlines which followed):

The day was marred by violence from hostile crowds, prompting a Congressional investigation into the D.C. police’s protection of the marchers, but the event and its aftermath made headlines.

The Library of Congress tells us that public response, to the Freedom March and the way the marchers were treated, was more significant than merely reading headlines (and being upset about “the news” for a short time):

The public outcry and its accompanying press coverage proved a windfall for the suffragists. The Woman's Journal proclaimed, “Parade Struggles to Victory Despite Disgraceful Scenes, Nation Aroused by Open Insults to Women-Cause Wins Popular Sympathy.” The New York Tribune announced, “Capital Mobs Made Converts to Suffrage.”

Click on the image for a much-better view.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Oct 07, 2013

Updated Last Revision: Feb 19, 2020

Media Credits

Image online, courtesy Library of Congress.  Digital reproduction number at the Library of Congress:  LC-DIG-ppmsca-12512



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