ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The 100th Anniversary of The Silent March (a.k.a., The Silent Protest Parade)

Updated on July 28, 2017
Black Women Marching in The Silent Protest Parade (Silent March) on July 28, 1917
Black Women Marching in The Silent Protest Parade (Silent March) on July 28, 1917 | Source

What was the Silent March?

The Silent Protest Parade (aka, The Silent March) took place on Saturday, July 28, 1917, exactly 100 years ago, today. The march was sponsored by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

The Silent March was a protest against recent acts of violence against African Americans, to include modern day lynchings, murders, and the East St. Louis Race Riots, which saw white mobs claim the lives of up to 250 African Americans, and left nearly six thousand blacks fleeing from burning homes.

The East St. Louis Race Riots
The East St. Louis Race Riots | Source

Organization for The Silent March (Silent Protest Parade)

The NAACP, led by civil rights activists, W. E. B. Du Bois and James Weldon Johnson, orchestrated a gathering of other civil rights leaders at the historic St. Philip's Episcopal Church in Manhattan.

The group agreed a traditional, potentially volatile, mass protest was not desired, instead they decided upon a silent protest in the hopes that such a demonstration might lead to an end to the violence, and educate others to the idea of racial reform.

W. E. B. Du Bois, Nina Du Bois, and James Weldon Johnson
W. E. B. Du Bois, Nina Du Bois, and James Weldon Johnson | Source

The idea for a silent protest originally came from NAACP founding member, and civil rights activist, Oswald Garrison Villard, who was also the editor for the New York Evening Post. The group agreed the protest should be carried out by all black citizens, since blacks were the target of the violence.

Oswald Garrison Villard | Originator for the Idea of a Silent March | Founding Member of the NAACP & Editor of the New York Evening Post
Oswald Garrison Villard | Originator for the Idea of a Silent March | Founding Member of the NAACP & Editor of the New York Evening Post | Source

The Silent March Convenes

The parade was comprised of nearly ten thousand men, women and children. The children took the lead and were dressed in all white, women followed close behind in all white as well, and the men followed in dark suits. The procession marched in silence, besides the shuffling of feet, the only other audible sound from the protesters came from a muffled drum line.

The parade route began on New York’s 5th Avenue and ended in Madison Square. The marchers carried banners and signs that reflected their reasons for participating. African American Boy Scouts passed out informational flyers to onlookers, the flyers described the various forms of racial violence and racist oppression for which the NAACP fought against.

Men Marching in The Silent Protest Parade on July 28, 1917
Men Marching in The Silent Protest Parade on July 28, 1917 | Source

U.S. President Woodrow Wilson's Response (or lack thereof..)

Besides public awareness to extreme violence against blacks, the NAACP sought to impress upon President Woodrow Wilson the urgency for him and his administration to intervene and make good on his campaign promises to radically address the issues faced by African Americans.

However, the White House turned a deaf ear to the protest, and the NAACP overall, and black causes were ignored by President Wilson. In fact, in President Woodrow Wilson’s time in office, discrimination grew stronger. His response to the increasing racial discrimination under his administration was, “If the colored people made a mistake in voting for me, they ought to correct it..."

Discrimination Increased Under U.S. President Woodrow Wilson
Discrimination Increased Under U.S. President Woodrow Wilson | Source

The Silent March Impresses Upon Those Who Witness

The Silent March did manage to make an impression on the thousands of onlookers in New York City, many of all races were visibly touched by the parade, and certainly hundreds of eyes, hearts and minds were opened on that day.

James Weldon Johnson would later go on to write in his autobiography, Along This Way, “the streets of New York have witnessed many strange sites, but I judge, never one stranger than this; among the watchers were those with tears in their eyes.”

The Silent March (Silent Protest Parade) was the first of its kind in New York City, and the second instance of African Americans participating in public demonstration for civil rights, the event paved the way for many to follow, and proved especially effective for future civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Over time, protest marches took a detour from silence, but the method of demonstration was so successful that similar approaches were soon adopted by activists for peace, women’s issues, gay rights, and other causes.

Civil Rights Activist & NAACP President, James Weldon Johnson's Response to The Silent March
Civil Rights Activist & NAACP President, James Weldon Johnson's Response to The Silent March | Source

On July 28, 2017, Google Doodle commemorated the 100th Anniversary of the Silent March, and it sparked many to explore America’s history of racial injustice. 100 years later, racial inequality and injustice still exists.

Google Doodle for July 28, 2017 Celebrates the 100th Anniversary of The Silent March & Implores Web Surfers to Explore America's History of Racial Injustice
Google Doodle for July 28, 2017 Celebrates the 100th Anniversary of The Silent March & Implores Web Surfers to Explore America's History of Racial Injustice | Source

Lift Every Voice and Sing | The National Black Anthem | Written by James Weldon Johnson | Performed by Melba Moore & Friends

© 2017 Rachelle Williams

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • CatherineGiordano profile image

      Catherine Giordano 

      10 months ago from Orlando Florida

      This is stunning. I'm so glad I read this. I never knew about it before. Yu told the story so movingly.

    • janshares profile image

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      14 months ago from Washington, DC

      Beautifully done, Rachelle. Thank you for commemorating our history with this piece. Sharing!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)