Photograph: Suffrage Procession, 1917

This photograph shows picketers marching from the National Women’s Party headquarters to their posts in front of the White House.
In January 1917, members of the National Woman's Party (NWP) became the first people to picket the White House. Protesting the government's failure to pass a constitutional amendment enfranchising women, NWP members, led by Alice Paul, began picketing the White House. Their purple, white, and gold banners asked President Woodrow Wilson, "Mr. President what will you do for woman suffrage?" and "Mr. President how long must women wait for liberty?" Tolerated at first, the "silent sentinels" were increasingly seen as an embarrassment to the administration. As the United States entered the First World War, the NWP pickets' banners often pointed out the hypocrisy of fighting for democracy and freedom in Europe while denying it to women at home. In June 1917, the D.C. police began arresting picketers for obstructing sidewalk traffic. 90 women were sentenced to terms ranging from 60 days to six months in the Occoquan Workhouse. When their demands to be treated as political prisoners were ignored, they went on hunger strikes and were forcibly fed. The publicity surrounding their ordeal generated public sympathy for the suffragists and their cause.
Currently not on view
Object Name
National Woman's Party
associated person
Paul, Alice
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
average spatial: 5 3/4 in x 7 in; 14.605 cm x 17.78 cm
associated place
United States: District of Columbia, Washington
ID Number
catalog number
nonaccession number
Government, Politics, and Reform
Women's Suffrage
Equal Rights Amendment
Voting Rights
Woman Suffrage
See more items in
Political History: Political History, Women's History Collection
Woman Suffrage
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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