Often left out of the history of women’s suffrage is the role of black women in that effort. The predominantly black service sorority Delta Sigma Theta’s first public act was to participate in the Women’s Suffrage March of 1913.
The decision to protest was brave for several reasons. White suffragists were not all in favor of black women marching, for fear that it would alienate some whites. The black women couldn’t be sure they too would get the benefit of the rights they were fighting for, and it was generally unsafe for women, minorities, and young people to make any dissenting feelings known. National president of Delta Sigma Theta Beverly E. Smith talks about the group’s decision to participate despite the obstacles.
“They did put themselves in a dangerous spot,” Smith said. “But they felt strongly enough about what they were doing that it was important to make a stand for the women who needed and wanted the right to vote.”
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