The 1913 woman suffrage procession was the first civil rights march to use the U.S. Capitol as a backdrop. It took place when the suffrage movement, in its sixth decade, needed a new approach and national attention. The parade included bands, mounted brigades, floats, an allegorical pageant, women representing many states and professions, and a contingent of male supporters.
On March 3, 1913, more than 5,000 suffragists paraded down Pennsylvania Avenue from the U.S. Capitol to the Treasury Building to demand a constitutional amendment guaranteeing women’s right to vote. Crowds of men in town for the following day’s presidential inauguration blocked the route and harassed the marchers. Public outcry over the violence led to congressional hearings. Press coverage boosted the suffrage movement, helping to bring about passage of the Nineteenth Amendment granting women the right to vote.
I asked the policeman would he not please protect this woman, and he said, “There would be nothing like this happen[ing] if you would stay at home.”
Patricia M. Street, Suffrage Parade: Report of the Committee on the District of Columbia, May 29, 1913