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Exhibition Shall Not Be Denied: Women Fight for the Vote

Lucy B. Johnston (1846–1937), Kansas Equal Suffrage Association, to Alice Paul (1885–1977), March 5, 1913. Typescript signed letter. NWP Records, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (066.00.00)
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Suffrage Parade. Hearings before a subcommittee . . . to investigate the conduct of the District police and Police Department of the District of Columbia in connection with the Woman’s Suffrage Parade on March 3, 1913. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1913. NAWSA Collection, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (067.00.00)
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[Exhibit 14] Suffrage Parade. Hearings before a subcommittee . . . to investigate the conduct of the District police and Police Department of the District of Columbia in connection with the Woman’s Suffrage Parade on March 3, 1913. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1913. NAWSA Collection, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (067.00.00)
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Congressional Investigation of Police Conduct

Public outcry over the ill treatment of women participating in the 1913 parade, as expressed in this letter, led to a congressional investigation, the removal of the police chief, and “indignation meetings” staged throughout the country. The congressional hearings introduced photographs of the parade as evidence of misconduct. Suffragist Helen Gardner, who rode on one of the parade floats, testified that the police “were smiling and looking amused and pleased” and that most of the crowd were men, “unless the women all wear derby hats.” Even NAWSA officials, leery of Alice Paul’s affiliation with militant British suffragettes, conceded that the police debacle solidified support among “those who were wavering” and brought “to our ranks thousands of others who would never have taken any interest.”

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