That’s what Washington, DC was today, as thousands of members of Delta Sigma Theta, Inc., and thousands more from near and far took to the streets to replicate the centennial of the 1913 Suffrage March on DC.
Delta Sigma Theta, Inc., national sorority and the largest Black women’s group in the US, was also founded in 1913, and its original 22 members marched in that demonstration one hundred years ago today.
Today’s mantra, “We are here to retrace the footsteps of our founders!”, could be heard from block to block as thousands marched the route from the Capitol steps up Pennsylvania Ave., past the White House and across 14th Street to the Washington Monument.
A group representing the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial, was out in full force as well. They are advocating for a monument to memorialize possibly the most significant moment in the fight for women’s suffrage in the United States: the 70-plus suffragists who were imprisoned in 1917 in Lorton, VA, in retaliation for picketing the White House for the right to vote. Allegations of horrific conditions, violence on prisoners, and force-feeding sparked a national outcry and became the “turning point” in the fight for the 19th Amendment. Hence, the group’s name, and their stone-faced vibe during today’s demonstration. Dressed in period costumes featuring gold, purple, and white sashes, Turning Point lent solemn tradition that complemented the triumphant exuberance of the Delta Sigma Theta commemoration very nicely.
Also in attendance were: The National Organization for Women; The United National Council of Negro Women, Inc.; Unitewomen.org. Even though it was day for all women, the women in red from Delta Sigma Theta, representing 50 states and at least 3 U.S. territories, owned the spirit and the tenor. Their opening and closing ceremonies were full of rousing, emotional speeches. There was great music, hugs, smiles, and palpable gratitude for a century of strides for American women. Delta Sigma Theta is to be commended for bringing poignancy and good energy to the nation’s capital – which is in desperate need of both.
Note from the author: Although the term “suffragette” (originally the British term for women seeking voting rights) was/is considered derogatory, and Americans use/prefer the tern “suffragist”, I am sticking to my title of Suffragette City because it’s a David Bowie song title play on words. I love wordplay, and I love Bowie. Get over it.