A Day Trip Following the Suffragist Movement Presence in DC

This self-guided tour follows destinations related to the US Suffrage movement in Washington, DC.

The movement’s journey to fight for the voting rights of American women started in the middle of the 19th in the first National Women’s Convention in Seneca Falls, NY.

Their actions took place in each state locally and nationally in Washington, DC.

At the beginning of their battle for equality, the suffragists focused mainly on regular gatherings, founding newspapers, and tried to convince the government to correct the injustice. When that did not work, the suffragists took their fight to the streets, organized rallies, picketing, marches, and more. And this finally led to the ratification of the 19th amendment to the United States Constitution, giving women the right to vote. Click here to read more.

The following itinerary is a self-guided tour to follow key locations of the movement’s path until the success of the struggle with the ratification of the 19th amendment to the United States Constitution, giving women the right to vote.

Download a pdf format map.

We organized the walk in a convenient order to start near Union Station and end near the White House, but you may choose a different direction and order per your desire, interest, and time. Admission is free to all, and all indoor stops have bathrooms…

Recommended time: Any season when the weather is welcoming a walk outside, just be prepared with an umbrella since even in the summer there might be rainy days.

Duration: The tour’s total distance is 2.5 miles. The walk takes about an hour and a half, but if you plan to visit inside all the sites, you should add three to four more hours.

Arriving at the starting point: The closest Metro station for arriving at our recommended first location is Union Station, a beautiful train station with lots of food and beverages options .

Guided tour options: Several guided tours offer a shared walk while learning about the history of the movement and its leaders.
We highly recommend combining it in the day trip to learn deeper. The guided tours usually take two hours, and they cover some of the places listed here. View some of the options here.

1. Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument
144 Constitution Ave NE, Washington, DC 20002.

The home of the National Woman’s Party is the place where women gathered to discuss their action plan and strategies of their fight for equal rights. Since 2016, it is a monument and museum called BelmontPaul Women’s Equality National Monument.

The museum tells the story of the suffragist movement and the National Woman’s Party, showcasing exhibitions about their leaders, actions, and more. Read more here.

2. Woman Suffrage Movement’s statue at the US Capitol
First St NE, Washington, DC 20515.

From the museum, walk to the US Capitol, the home of the Congress, an important and impressive building, a symbol for lots of moments in American history. In the Capitol rotunda, next to the founding fathers and key leaders’ statues, since May 1997, stands the group portrait monument to the pioneers of the Woman Suffrage Movement – Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Lucretia Mott.

The statue was created by the sculptress and feminist Adelaide Johnson and unveiled in February 1921.

To see the statue, you will need to join a guided tour in the Capitol (it’s free). The tour takes 1.5-2 hours, and you will also learn about the building and the history of the American people.

During the high season, it is recommended to reserve a spot for a tour in advance – click here for reservations and more info.

The US Capitol - part of a day trip following the suffragist movement in DC - WWP

3. Pennsylvania Avenue and the National Council of Negro Women
633 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20004.

Leave the Capitol and walk along Pennsylvania Avenue. This large boulevard hosted the largest 1913 Suffragist Parade in WDC, planned by Alice Paul for the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). Here thousands of women marched quietly demanding their right to vote, while thousands of men tried to block their way.

The women were led by Inez Milholland, while she was wearing white and sitting on a white horse, marching towards the US Treasury.

Not directly related to the parade, but still an important stop at 633 Pennsylvania Ave., is the National Council of Negro Women, founded in 1935 by Mary McLeod Bethune to empower African-American women and still active until today.

If you are interested to learn more, The Mary McLeod Bethune Council House is a museum, showcasing the council’s history and the life of Mary McLeod Bethune.

National Council of Negro Women - part of a day trip following the suffragist movement in DC - WWP

4. National Archives Museum
700 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20408.

Across the road is the National Archives Museum which hosts lots of documentation, pictures, posters and more about the suffragist movement.

One of the museum’s events (till 2021) is the exhibition “Rightfully Hers: American Women and the Vote”, which presents the long women struggle for the right to vote, even years after the ratification of the 19th amendment.

5. Alice Paul Call Box
14th St NW & Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20230.

A renovated call box, painted in the suffrage movement’s colors, purple, white, and yellow, honors the suffragists and one of its leaders, Alice Paul.

Paul (1885-1977) devoted her life to the fight for women’s rights. She was the National Woman’s Party’s co-founder and an equal rights activist.
The marker stands on Pennsylvania Ave, where the famous Suffrage March took place in 1913.

More call boxes commemorating women legacy can be explored in this self-guided tour.

6. US Department of the Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20220.

Back to 1913 and the suffragist parade, continue to walk along Pennsylvania avenue till arriving at the US Department of the Treasury.

Here was the last stop of the extraordinary parade of 1913 which ended with a gathering and performances. This amazing public relations act brought a lot of positive publicity to the women’s struggle.

The US Treasury Department - part of a day trip following the suffragist movement in DC - WWP

1913, suffragists and girls in front of the US Treasury Department. Photo credit – Library of Congress.

7. The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20500.

As the official residence and workplace of the president of the United States, here, since 1917 for two and a half years, women protested silently, rain or shine, holding signs, demanding their voting rights. Despite their non-violent actions, some of them got arrested and were force-fed. At last, in 1920, the 19th amendment got ratified to the constitution, allowing women the right to vote. If you wish to visit inside the white house, submit a request with your Member of Congress, at least three weeks before the visit. Click here for more information.

Suffragists in front of the White House - part of a day trip following the suffragist movement in DC - WWP

Winter 1917, suffragists are picketing in front of the White House. Photo creditLibrary of Congress.

8. The Renwick Gallery
1661 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20006.

Not related to the suffrage movement, but near the White House is the Renwick Gallery, a branch of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, with unique changing exhibitions. In the past, it was a government office building, and Jackie Kennedy campaigned for it to become the wonderful museum it is today.

Renwick Gallery exhibition room.

The tour ends here. If you would like to walk back to Union Station, it is a nice 40 minutes walk, via the National Mall or F street. If you decide to stay in the area, there are lots of restaurants and cafes around.

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