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” Marching against the status quo was not easy for white women, but it was even more difficult for African American women because of the racist sentiment of the day, as well as white suffragists who did not favor suffrage for black women.
According to Catherine H. Palczewski, a professor of women’s and gender studies at the University of Northern Iowa, after the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, a “racist component“ of the suffrage campaign ensued. Suffragists Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony did not support black male suffrage unless women also had the right to vote.
As pointed out by Mary Walton, “Everyone was welcome to participate, including men, with one exception. In a city that was Southern in both location and outlook, where the Christmas Eve rape of a government clerk by a black man had fanned racist sentiments, [Alice] Paul, a white woman, was convinced that other white women would not march with black women. In response to several inquiries, she had quietly discouraged blacks from participating. She confided her fears to a sympathetic editor: ‘As far as I can see, we must have a white procession, or a Negro procession, or no procession at all.’ ”