Women: Past

Women's Suffrage Parade of 1913

Alice Paul of the National American Woman Suffrage Association organized the first women’s suffrage parade in Washington, D.C. on March 3rd, 1913, the day before Woodrow Wilson took office.

The timing was intentional as a “march in a spirit of protest against the present political organization of society, from which women are excluded"

Reflect: Key People, Connections and Discussion Questions

This page is about reflection. You’ll find a list of some of the key people and organizations relevant to this section. You’ll also find a section called intersectionality to encourage thinking about how different issues are connected, and discussion questions to encourage deeper thinking. Take some time to answer the questions, look these people up and learn more about their stories.

The Nadir: New Tactics in the Continued Fight for Suffrage

By 1900, the first national Black association - the National Association of Colored Women (NACW) - was four years old and 5,000 members strong. Unlike the NAWSA, the NACW had many focuses including social issues around health, housing and education and racial issues like anti-lynching and self-preservation.

Suffrage was among their priorities, but as women of color, they had serious and often life-threatening issues that demanded their attention. By 1924, the NACW would reach 100,000 members.

The Nadir: Black Suffrage Leaders and Activism

Additional Black suffrage leaders emerged independent of the NAWSA during this time. While some women remained relatively conservative in their approach, many of the younger voices were more radical and they departed further from the ideas of white suffragists. Despite differences, there was unity among Black suffragists in their goal of improving the status of Black women and African Americans as a whole. This message attracted large audiences and gained broad support within their communities, across genders.


Setting the Record Straight

In the earliest years of the Women’s suffrage movement, Black women appear to have been absent. The one exception was Sojourner Truth. 

It’s not too surprising, then, that at the first official women’s rights gathering in 1848, The Seneca Falls Convention, only one African American was reportedly present: former slave and well-known abolitionist Frederick Douglass. 


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