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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?

Extension Activities:

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?

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