A century before Candace B. Hollingsworth became the first African-American mayor of Hyattsville, a group of women gathered in a field along Rhode Island Avenue in the same city to speak, march, and fight for women’s right to vote.
It was July 1913 and the effort those women waged was not easy. Many were ridiculed and beaten by men who felt their place was in the home.
Thus it was befitting that on the first weekend of Women’s History Month politicians such as Mayor Candace Hollingsworth and Del. Anne Healey, the Girl Scouts, and many supporters gathered along U.S. 1 in Hyattsville for the unveiling of a historical marker to commemorate a local protest organized by women fighting for the right to vote.
On July 31, 1913, women met in a Hyattsville field for a rally before driving to D.C. for the national protest for women’s suffrage. Hollingsworth said in that group were members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority who wanted to be part of history.
The women’s suffrage movement, which inspired rallies like the one in Hyattsville in 1913, led to the passing of the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote in 1920.
For many women attending Saturday’s unveiling, the day was not just a moment to commemorate the 1913 suffragettes but to also acknowledge the importance of those women to their lives and careers.
“Many of us in public service would not have been able to do this had it not been for this movement,” Hollingsworth said in an interview. “It is important to recognize history where it is.”
Maj. Gen. Linda L. Singh, the first woman of color to lead the Maryland National Guard, also recognized how impactful the suffragettes of 1913 were to future women. As she looked at the Girl Scouts, Gen. Singh said what they are doing today is paving the way for a new generation. Singh said women fighting for and gaining the right to vote, is a direct tie to her own career.
“I couldn’t wear the uniform, I couldn’t be a general if the women didn’t fight for this,” Singh said in an interview. “I couldn’t vote for this country and when I think about the legacy that we are going to leave it makes me excited.”