Moving forward

Women’s March draws comparison to inauguration protest from more than 100 years ago

Marchers surround a Red Cross ambulance during the Women’s suffrage procession, on March 3, 1913. Dozens of marchers were injured during the march after being shoved and tripped by spectators. (Library of Congress)

On Saturday, hundreds of thousands of women are expected to flood the streets of Washington D.C. to defend their autonomy during the Women’s March on Washington. More than 100 years ago, a similar event took place in the nation’s capital — the day before the inauguration of Woodrow Wilson. On March 3, 1913, more than 5,000 women marched from the Capitol to the steps of the Treasury Department to show their support for women’s suffrage. Their parade, which featured nine bands, four mounted brigades, and two dozen floats, proved to be such a spectacle that Wilson arrived in D.C. for the inauguration nearly unnoticed — the protest proved so large that Wilson was forced to use back alleys in order to reach his hotel.


Lawyer Inez Milholland Boissevain, wearing a white cape, seated on a white horse led the National American Woman Suffrage Association parade on March 3, 1913, in Washington, D.C. (Library of Congress)

During the 1913 parade, men surged into the streets in an attempt to prevent marchers from being able to pass. According to the Library of Congress’ American Memory archives, the men mocked the protesters, tripped them, shoved them, and spat upon them while police sat by indifferently. Roughly 100 women were taken to the hospital, while Helen Keller, the famed deaf and blind political activist, became too disturbed by the disruptions to speak later that day at Continental Hall.

In 2020, 100 years after women finally earned the right to vote, that 1913 march will be commemorated on the back of the new $10 bill. And this Saturday, the fight for women’s equality will once again take center stage in Washington, D.C.

Below, watch the Women’s March organizers discussing the march’s place in history.

Read the full story at The Denver Post.


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