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May 6, 1912

20,000 women and children and 500 men marched down Fifth Avenue in a Suffrage Parade in New York City. Under the sponsorship of the Women’s Political Union, whose president was Harriot Stanton Blatch ’78, the marchers represented many suffrage organizations. The youngest of them, two-year-old Harriet Blaten DeForrest, rode with the eldest, Rev. Antoinette Brown Blackwell, 87. Many of the women wore academic dress, and although Vassar graduates had yet to adopt caps and gowns, Blatch wore the rose and gray cowl that signified her master’s degree from Vassar.

Banners bore slogans: “Never Will Peace and Human Nature Greet ‘Till Free and Equal Man and Woman Meet;” “The Right to Follow Duty Far and Wide, to Live as Nobly as Our Men Have Died” and “All This is the Natural Consequence of Teaching Girls to Read.” Blatch’s “Final Word to Marchers,” issued as the march got under way, blended pragmatism with idealism in its conclusion: “March with head erect. Eyes to the front. Remember, you march for the mightiest reform the world has ever seen. The final word is, obey your Marshall. Remember you march for equality not privilege, for law, for order.”

The New York Times

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