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Sunday, March 3, 2013

Women walk the Suffrage Centennial March in Washington, D.C.

Delta Sigma Theta members march down Pennsylvania Avenue March 3, 2013 to commemorate the Women's Suffrage March 100 years ago on the same route/Patricia Leslie

On a cold and blustery day, thousands of members of Delta Sigma Theta sorority from around the world turned out to herald the 100th anniversary of the Women's Suffrage March in Washington, D.C.

Delta Sigma Thetas from Arkansas on Pennsylvania Avenue March 3, 2013/Patricia Leslie
Members from Germany, England, and Bermuda mixed with their U.S. sisters, most wearing red coats, scarves, hats, pants, or gloves which seemed to warm up the marchers who walked, talked, and celebrated the day with smiles and knowledge of how far they have come, and ongoing efforts to make more aware of their common goals. 
Delta Sigma Thetas from Washington, D.C. walk the walk March 3, 2013 down Pennsylvania Avenue/Patricia Leslie
The website says Delta Sigma Theta was founded on January 13, 1913 by 22 women at Howard University who "wanted to use their collective strength to promote academic excellence and to provide assistance to persons in need."  The sisterhood's first public act was participation in the March 3, 1913 women's suffrage march when 5,000 women marched to the White House.

1913's march was quite different from 2013's.  In 1913 a woman on a white horse led the women who were "jeered, tripped, grabbed, [and] shoved" and pelted with vulgar language by men along the route who were seemingly encouraged by police, one of whom, according to a report, said "women should stay at home where they belong." 

Upon request from the chief of police who sought assistance in 1913 to help control the crowds, the U.S. Secretary of War authorized troop reinforcements.  The women were forced by the crowd size to march single file in some parts of the route, and 100 were taken to hospitals.  (Read more of the details here in a Library of Congress document.)
Hello from England and Florida, say Delta Sigma Theta members/Patricia Leslie
And Georgia.  Don't forget Delta Sigma Thetas from Georgia/Patricia Leslie

Fortunately, none of that was observed today.  "We've come a long way, baby," but we ain't there yet.

Delta Sigma Theta has more than 200,000 members and 900 chapters whose mission targets economic and educational development, international and political awareness and involvement, physical and mental health.  On March 3, 2013, they talked the walk, strengthened by numbers, energy, and enthusiasm to never abandon the quest for common good.
Children and babies walked (or rode) in the Delta Sigma Theta 100th anniversary walk/Patricia Leslie
"Sprechen Sie Deutsch?" asked Delta Sigma Theta members from Germany and behind them, members from Hawaii said "Aloha!"/Patricia Leslie
"Anybody heya speak 'Suthern'?" Delta Sigma Theta members from Louisiana wanted to know, celebrating their centennial and the Women's Suffrage Centennial, too, on their walk down Pennsylvania Avenue March 3, 2013/Patricia Leslie
Stretching all the way to the U.S. Capitol, the crowd looked like it numbered more than 20,000/Patricia Leslie



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