Seven years before women achieved universal suffrage in America, Alice Paul believed the nation needed to see suffrage.
To make that happen, Paul and her cohorts staged a giant suffrage parade in Washington, D.C., on March 3, 1913 — one day before the inauguration of Woodrow Wilson as president.
That parade and the events that followed changed the suffrage debate entirely and set it on a course toward the adoption of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920.
Now, as we approach the centennial of the Washington Suffrage Parade, a new book containing an explanation of the parade and more than 130 exquisite photographs has been published. Seeing Suffrage: The Washington Suffrage Parade, Its Photographs, and Its Effect on the American Political Landscape is now available as an iPad book on the iBookstore. The print edition of the book, published by the University of Tennessee Press, will be available sometime after January 1, 2013.
The book was written by James Glen Stovall, a professor of journalism at the University of Tennessee.
Stovall also produced the iPad edition of the book, which contains all the photographs in the print edition as well as video interviews with historians about the parade and author’s notes that are not in the print edition.
“Because the iPad is a multimedia platform, we wanted to make the book something special,” Stovall said. “We tried to do all that we could to tell the story of the parade and to help readers understand why it was so visually stunning and why it had such a profound effect on the suffrage movement.”
The book is available on the iBookstore here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/seeing-suffrage/id575542956?ls=1
More about the book can be found on this website.
From the publisher, the University of Tennessee Press:
On March 3, 1913, the day before Woodrow Wilson’s inauguration, leaders of the American suffrage movement organized an enormous march through the capital that served as an important salvo on the long road to the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment. Coinciding with the widespread rise of photography in daily newspapers and significant shifts in journalism, the parade energized a movement that had been in the doldrums for nearly two decades. In Seeing Suffrage, James G. Stovall combines a detailed account of the parade with more than 130 photographs to provide a stunning visual chronicle of one of the most pivotal moments in the struggle for women’s rights.
Although the women’s suffrage movement was sixty-five years old by 1913, the belief that women should vote was still controversial. Reactions to the march—a dazzling spectacle involving between five thousand and eight thousand participants—ranged from bemusement to resistance to violence. The lack of cooperation from the Washington police force exacerbated conflicts along the route and, ultimately, approximately one hundred marchers and participants were injured. Although suffrage leaders publicly expressed disgust at the conduct of the crowd and police, privately they were delighted with the turn of events, taking full advantage of the increased media coverage by repeatedly tying the unruly mob and the actions of the police to those who opposed votes for women.
The 1913 procession stands as one of the first political events in American history staged in great part for visual purposes. This revealing work recounts the march from the planning stages to the struggle up Pennsylvania Avenue and showcases the most interesting and informative photographs of that day. Although supporters needed seven more frustrating years to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment, the Washington Suffrage Parade of 1913 can, as this book demonstrates, rightly be seen as the moment that forced the public to take seriously the effort to secure the vote for women.
James G. Stovall, Edward J. Meeman Distinguished Professor of Journalism at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is the author of Writing for the Mass Media and Journalism: Who, What, Where, When, and How. He is also coauthor, with Patrick R. Cotter, of After Wallace: The 1986 Contest for Governor and Political Change in Alabama.
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