15 jan 1968 & anti-war march
“If we had 10,000 women who were willing to make the sacrifices that these boys had given their lives for...we could stop the war.”
Jeannette Rankin (1967)
#OTD Monday 15 January 1968, ~5,000 women marched from Union Station onto Louisiana Avenue toward the U.S. Capitol to demand an end to the war in Vietnam and "social crisis" in the U.S. The march was co-organized by Women Strike for Peace, an organization founded in 1961 to protest above ground testing of nuclear weapons.
The marchers originally intended to engage in civil disobedience at the Capitol and risk getting arrested. However, the U.S. Capitol Police invoked a late 19th century law forbidding demonstrations on Capitol Grounds. Instead of breaking the law, organizers chose to convene at Union Station and march to the Capitol plaza. Throughout the march, the police was out in full force. After the march, participants reconvened at the Omni Shoreham Hotel where Coretta Scott King, among others, spoke and the Radical Women's Group urged the coupling of violence in Vietnam and violence against women in the U.S.
The march is more commonly known as the Jeannette Rankin Brigade, named after the white Congresswoman who was one of the organizers. In May 1967, Rankin spoke at an Atlantans for Peace meeting and argued that women as wives and mothers (not simply as citizens) had particular roles to play to end the Vietnam War. This deployment of maternalist & familial language would be both applauded and challenged.
Your comments are welcome below. Do you remember this march? Did you participate in the march? Do you recognize the individuals in the photograph? You may also comment privately here.
Photo source: Courtesy DCPL Special Collections. Bernie Boston, photographer.
Interview with Charlotte Bunch, 2017.
Liberation News Service, “Women Plan to Fill Jails on 15th in Protest Against Vietnam War,” Hilltop 5 January 1968.
"The Jeannette Rankin Brigade," WETA 2016