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The National Woman's Party and Suffrage for African-American Women

Document 9

Race Issue Hits Feminist Party

Crops up at Exercises for Late Inez Milholland

Her Father Injects It


       Race antagonism was injected in dramatic manner today into the campaign which the National Woman's Party is to wage for the election of women congressmen who will fight for legal equality of the sexes. After a memorial service for Inez Milholland, who died Nov. 25, 1916, while campaigning for suffrage in the West, the delegates marched out of the little Congregational church at Lewis, 12 miles from here, and to the top of the nearby mountain where the feminist leader is buried.  

       John E. Milholland, her father, had with him three negroes who are his house guests. . . . None of them had been asked to participate in the program at the grave and Mr. Milholland in the midst of the services, suddenly felt unable to contain himself.  

       "Friends of Inez," he said with obvious emotion, "I am her father and I want to say to you what I had intended to say until now, as I stand here beside her grave. I feel a duty to speak out. If I did not think her spirit would rise up from the grave and say to me, 'Dad, why were you afraid.'"  

       "And so I want to remind you that in the first suffrage parade, Inez herself demanded that the colored women be allowed to march, and now today we were told that it would mar the program to have these guests of mine speak. I have nothing to say except that Inez believed in equal rights for everybody."  

       The party workers admitted that Mr. Milholland's outburst had caused them much uneasiness. Mrs. Gatewold Boyers explained why it was that none of the Negroes had been placed on the program.  

        "We did not want it to go out," she said, "that we were bringing in the colored people. It would be bad politics. We want to try to elect some women congressmen in the southern states, and after all, this is our convention--not Mr. Milholland's."  

       Miss Alice Paul of Washington, the vice-president of the party, said:  "This was arranged as a demonstration of women and it was no place for colored people to speak. We have invited them to carry a wreath to the grave and their feelings were not hurt."

-- Excerpts from "Race Issue Hits Feminist Party," New York World, 17-18 August 1924

14. Why did Inez Milholland's father protest the treatment of his guests?




15. Why did the National Woman's Party exclude African Americans from the formal program?




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