The black sorority at Howard University, the Deltas, was initially told they would not be allowed to march because it would set back the cause of votes for women. Some leaders of the Congressional Committee of NAWSA were concerned about a southern backlash and wanted black women excluded from the parade.
|Inez Milholland Boissevain|
at head of parade, 1913.
She insisted that the Deltas be allowed to march. This intervention is dramatized in my play, Take Up the Song. (New version available from the author, 2016. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.)
However, in segregated Washington, the sorority had to assemble in a "colored only" area. They were inserted at the end of the parade.
Ida B. Wells-Barnett defied the Congressional Committee and slipped in with her NAWSA chapter, Chicago early on in the parade. Others followed suit.
While perhaps 30 black women marched in the parade in 1916, in the centennial parade virtually all of the marchers were from the Delta sorority.
If we were to redraw the line of march in 1916, the Deltas would account for the entire line except for the floats and bands at the end!