The year was 1913 and at Howard University, 22 women were organizing to create the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. At the same time, women all across America were agitating for the right to vote.
In March of that year, women from across the country converged on Washington to demand their right to cast ballots. The Deltas were there—the only African American organization to take a place in the protest lines.
One hundred years later, on March 3, 2013, the Deltas led a march in celebration of their 100th anniversary and the centennial of that 1913 march. Some came decked out in period attire, almost all donned the trademark red and white.
The event gave members of the sorority the experience of being where their foremothers had been all those years ago. The theme to the event was “Tracing the Footsteps of our Founders.”
“Our Founders’ participation in women’s suffrage was the first official act of public service and social advocacy in the rich history of our organization,” said Cynthia M. A. Butler-McIntyre, national president of Delta Sigma Theta, in a statement. “It is only befitting that, during the 100th anniversary of the birth of Delta Sigma Theta, we honor them by literally tracing their steps which set a precedent for every Delta to emulate.”
Under steely skies, the sorority members gathered on the west front of the U.S. Capitol and marched the 3.1 miles down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Washington Monument, where closing arguments were delivered.
Besides Delta Sigma Theta, co-sponsors included the National Organization for Women, the National Women’s History Museum and the Sewall-Belmont House Museum, organizers said.