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Legislators celebrate suffragettes

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Published on: Thursday, February 28, 2013

By Donna Broadway

ANNAPOLIS  - The Women Legislators of Maryland, a bipartisan group of all the women in serving in the Maryland General Assembly, commemorated the 100th anniversary of the Women’s Suffrage March of 1913 by marching into the February 22 session wearing black with yellow sashes and carrying signs related to women’s suffrage.

Del. Melony Griffith (D-Prince George’s) led the caucus’s 56 legislators in opening the event by singing the National Anthem while the marchers chanted “votes for women.”

Sen. Katherine Klausmeier (D-Baltimore County), the organizer of the event, said “Our February date coincides with the anniversary of the original marchers going through Overlea in Baltimore County.”

Sixteen women began the journey from New York City to Washington on Feb. 12, 1913. Three weeks later, on March 3, 1913, thousands of women marched on Pennsylvania Avenue demanding the right to vote.

The march ended with about 100 women hospitalized and many more arrested.  Seven years later, the nineteenth amendment passed.

Area organizations will continue the commemoration with activities from March 1-3 sponsored by various community organizations, including Unite Women, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and the National Women’s History Museum in Washington.

Linda Denny, a member of the National Women’s History Museum Board of Directors, emphasized the relevance of women’s issues.

“The suffrage movement is usually covered in two and a half pages, but this battle was waged by millions of individuals over three generations,” Denny said.

“There are a lot of rights women need to pay attention to. We still don’t have equal pay, and if you think you do, good for you, but you don’t.  Violence against women is acceptable and maybe they will renew the Violence Against Women Act and maybe they won’t. If they would simply pass the Equal Rights Act, it would take care of all that and it is good for men and women both. It just says men and women will be treated the same regardless and I think that really needs to happen,” she continued.

The celebration will end with a recreation of the picket of the march down Pennsylvania Avenue led by Delta Sigma Theta. Denny said tens of thousands of women are expected to attend the activities.

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