Inez Milholland Boissevain preparing to lead the March 3, 1913, women’s suffrage
parade in Washington, D.C. Library of Congress
[The following appears in the East Hampton Star dated yesterday and delivered this morning, Dec. 23.]
A Suffragist Warrior, by John Tepper Marlin
She championed the cause of the small upstart activist Delta sorority at Howard University to be represented in the women’s suffrage march when others in 1913 feared a backlash among whites in segregated Washington and the Southern states. I attended the 100th anniversary of that march three years ago. It attracted 5,000 Delta marchers from around the country, outnumbering by more than 10 to 1 representation by the traditional women’s organizations that existed in 1913.
In the wake of the defeat of the first female major-party presidential candidate in U.S. history in 2016, American women’s groups are organizing a Women’s March on Washington on Jan. 21. The urgency and passion with which Inez and her colleagues in the National Woman’s Party pursued their cause turned around the media, the public, and then the president, in that order. Remembering how women succeeded in the years 1913 to 1920 and translating that to a radically transformed media environment might be useful for those planning the 2017 march.