Museum Notes 8-18-2020

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MUSEUM NOTES: August 18, 2020

Did you know that the first nonviolent political protest march in Washington, D.C., supported women’s suffrage? During the 1910s, American suffragists decided that they must attract the public’s attention in order to help change society’s view about women’s voting rights. These women shocked the nation when they held parades and picketed the White House in support of suffrage. On March 3, 1913, Alice Paul, a famously determined suffragist, and the National Woman’s Party organized thousands of women, most wearing white, to march down Pennsylvania Avenue in D.C. Over 500,000 people lined up to watch these ladies march. In fact, the crowd was so large that the army’s calavary was brought in to clear a path for the marching suffragists. This was the very first nonviolent political protest held in D.C. This suffragists’ march was so huge and well attended that it upstaged President Wilson’s inauguration speech the following day. Suffragists continued to picket, protest, and speak about suffrage until President Wilson finally spoke to Congress about his support of guaranteeing women the right to vote in 1918. Two years later, the 19th Amendment was ratified and women were finally allowed to vote.

This is one of several interesting stories about the 19th amendment and the women who were involved in its passing found in the special poster exhibition, “Votes for Women: A Portrait of Persistence.” This poster exhibit was given to the River Valley Pioneer Museum for free, courtesy of the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative.


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