American Red Cross ambulance in crowd, photographic postcard by G. V. Buck, March 3, 1913
A souvenir postcard showed an ambulance surrounded by the dense crowd that blocked the suffragists’ parade route. Thousands of rowdy, drunken men verbally and physically assaulted the marchers. Washington Emergency Hospital received 175 ambulance calls and treated hundreds of injuries that day. When police failed to act, the Secretary of War sent in cavalry to protect the women.
Prints and Photographs, Library of Congress
The 1913 Woman Suffrage Procession
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