We are celebrating Women’s History Month this year with images that inform and empower, and often, when you learn the backstory, piss you off. On social media we will be using the hashtag #WHM18 on our posts so you can follow along.
I personally adore this image from the program of the Suffrage Procession. It is so proud and positive. White, purple, and gold were what we would today call the pallet of the brand of women’s suffrage. The image movement is forward or to the right. The banners, regalia, and horse signify strength and determination.
You can find out more of the specifics of the Women’s Suffrage Procession, including the entirety of the procession pamphlet, at the Library of Congress (LOC).
The LOC page about the Procession presents a good amount of information from before and after the event, including the assault on the march by men in town for the inauguration of Woodrow Wilson the next day. Hundreds were harmed, and in a vein similar to many current day protests and marches in the U.S., the police stood by and did little to protect the marchers and seemed to enjoy the actions and rudeness directed at the women. “One policeman explained that they should stay at home where they belonged.” Personal and group opinion with law enforcement determining which laws to enforce and interpreting the law for themselves has a long history. But the Chief of the Capitol Police lost his job, and in a backlash against the harassment and violence directed toward the women marchers the movement was re-energized and gained followers thanks to the press coverage of the attack.
This recording from 1958 certainly suggests that the “movement” did not end with the women’s vote and begin again only with the women’s movement of the 1960s and 1970s. The suffragettes are better referred to as suffragists. The struggle continues.