The Silent Parade of 1917
In 1917, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), churches and community leaders organized a silent march in New York City to protest racism and discrimination. The gathering was one of the first mass protests in U.S. History, and it followed an outbreak of racial violence in St. Louis earlier that year.
Look at the images of the Silent Parade here and answer the questions that follow.
After reviewing your answers to the questions, discuss the following:
- How was this parade an example of Black Americans demanding equal rights and treatment under the law as citizens?
- Do you think it was effective? Why or why not?
- This parade took place over 100 years ago. How have methods of civil rights activism changed or stayed the same over time?
Explore more images of the Silent Parade in this 10-minute BRIdge from the Past video.
Explore John Lewis’s speech at the March on Washington in 1963 with our Plainest Demands of Justice: Documents for Dialogue curriculum.
Compare this event with the 1917 protests of the Silent Sentinel in the Women’s Suffrage movement. How were these protests similar? How were they different? How did they both connect to Founding principles of liberty, equality, and justice?
Protest and Calling for Change: Images of the Silent Parade | BRIdge from the Past
What was the “Silent Parade”? In this episode of BRIdge from the Past, Mary examines images of a 1917 silent march down Fifth Avenue in New York City to understand why 10,000 African Americans participated. What events precipitated this march? How do these images compare with those of other historical events or protests where Americans have called for change?
Alice Paul and the Struggle for Women’s Suffrage
How did Alice Paul fight for equality of the sexes?
The Plainest Demands of Justice: Documents for Dialogue on the African American Experience
Through primary source analysis, this new resource from the Bill of Rights Institute explores the efforts to realize the Founding principles of liberty, equality, and justice by exploring key periods in African American history. Students of history know that there is no substitute for being there - but primary sources come close!