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Historical Happenings in March 2024



‘Top of the morning to ya! This March, we’re celebrating the start of spring with these monumental moments — plus a pinch of leprechaun magic!


History at a Glance:


  • March 3, 1913: The Women’s Suffrage Parade

  • March 15, 44 B.C.: The Ides of March

  • March 31, 1933: The Establishment of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC)

March 3, 1913: The Women’s Suffrage Parade


In a strategic move to promote women’s rights, more than 5,000 suffragists gathered in Washington, D.C., on March 3, 1913, to march for the right to vote. The organizers of the parade picked March 3 because it was the day before the presidential inauguration of Woodrow Wilson, guaranteeing that the press and spectators would already be there. The route was along Pennsylvania Avenue, which Wilson would also travel on during his inaugural parade the next day,[1] and it began at the U.S. Capitol and ended at the Treasury Building.[2] 


For decades, suffragists had been advocating for women’s right to vote. Legislation still hadn’t been passed to grant this right to women, so the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA), Alice Paul, and Lucy Burns coordinated the march to draw national attention to their cause. Leading the parade was activist and lawyer Inez Milholland astride her horse, Grey Dawn. Twenty floats followed behind her, and the first float had a banner that read: “We demand an amendment to the Constitution of the United States enfranchising the women of this country."[3]


The marches were organized into sections, with the first section in the parade comprised of women from other countries. The second section, known as the “Pioneers,” were women who had been suffragists for several years. The following sections were career women who were grouped according to their jobs and wore their work attire, which included nurses, farmers, doctors, actresses, librarians, and women in academia. Next were state delegations, followed by men who supported the movement, which rounded up the procession.[4]


Black suffragists also marched, but not without initial pushback from the organizers of the parade. The NAACP’s magazine, The Crisis, reported at the time that the women were originally going to be segregated in the parade; however, they protested and “marched according to their State and occupation without let or hindrance,” as stated in The Crisis. According to The Crisis, over 40 Black women joined delegations based on where they were from or which industry they worked in. Additionally, the first Native American woman to become a lawyer, Marie Louise Bottineau Baldwin, marched with her fellow lawyers.[5] 


Over 250,000 onlookers watched the parade, but not all of them were peaceful. Many people in the crowd verbally and physically attacked the women suffragists while others blocked their path. The police did very little to control the crowds. Despite this, the women bravely soldiered on and continued marching, and eventually, the U.S. Army came to clear their route.[6] Helen Keller was a part of the procession and was planning on giving a speech; however, the crowd was so wild that she was “so exhausted and unnerved by the experience in attempting to reach a grandstand where she was to have been a guest of honor that she was unable to speak later at Continental Hall,” according to a report by The Baltimore Sun.[7] More than 100 women were wounded and required medical attention from injuries inflicted by the violent spectators.[8] 


Once they reached the Treasury Building, the marchers presented a pageant. A woman dressed as Columbia stepped out from behind the building’s columns while “The Star Spangled Banner” played. She was joined by other women who wore costumes to represent Justice, Charity, Liberty, Peace, and Hope.[9] 


Coverage of the march in newspapers drew attention to the suffragists’ cause and spread their message across the nation.[10] Even though the 19th Amendment wasn’t ratified until August 18, 1920, the cause for women’s right to vote was furthered by the Women’s Suffrage Parade.[11]


Celebrate this monumental moment during Women’s History Month with our Women’s History titles!


Teacher Resources: 



March 15, 44 B.C.: The Ides of March


“Beware the Ides of March,” warned a soothsayer in William Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar in Act I, Scene 2. This ominous foreshadowing has become a much-quoted line in literature, and it was based on an actual event in history: the assassination of Roman dictator Julius Caesar. Caesar’s death was planned by his assassins to take place on the Ides of March, which, based on the Roman calendar, would be March 15.[12]


According to the Roman calendar, the moon’s cycle was divided each month into three groups: Kalends, Nones, and Ides. The new moon at the beginning of the month was referred to as the Kalends, which usually occurred on the first day of the month. The Nones were the moon’s quarter phases, which were usually the fifth or seventh day of the month. The Ides represented the full moon, which occurred in the middle of the month, typically on the 13th or 15th day. The Ides were especially significant because it was on this day each month that sacrifices were made to the Roman sky god Jupiter. The Ides of March, in particular, held even more meaning because it was considered the first full moon of the year since March was recognized as the beginning of the year. Additionally, it was a day that people paid their debts.[13]


With Caesar’s military campaign only days away and the Senate’s scheduled meeting on March 15, the Ides seemed like the perfect time for the assassins to strike.[14] Senators Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus spearheaded the assassination, with a total of 60 men joining them in the Roman Senate to attack Caesar.[15] Their reason for killing Caesar was that they believed his death would revive the Roman Republic, which was threatened with Caesar’s new title of dictator for life in 45 B.C.[16]


In Shakespeare’s play, Caesar utters, “Et tu, Brute?”(Latin for “You too, Brutus?”) as Brutus betrays him with a fatal blow of his knife. Shakespeare may have taken some creative license with this line, but this moment of betrayal did happen. According to the historical accounts that Shakespeare referenced while writing Julius Caesar, Roman historian Suetonius wrote that Caesar said, “Kai su teknon?” which is Greek for “You too, my son?”[17] 


The assassins’ plans for the restoration of the Roman Empire as a republic backfired. Caesar’s death ignited a series of civil wars, which his grand-nephew Octavian won, thus becoming Rome’s first emperor.[18] According to Suetonius, a Roman biographer, in his writing of Lives of the Caesars, Octavian avenged Julius Caesar’s death in a number of ways.[19]


Nowadays, and for many years after Julius Caesar’s death, we see all sorts of reenactments, performances, and works either about or involving him, as he has made quite an impression on the history of the Roman Empire.


After his death, and even now, Julius Caesar's legacy continues to live on through various reenactments, performances and works, solidifying his lasting impact on the history of the Roman Empire for years to come.


Teacher Resources:



March 31, 1933: The Establishment of the Civilian Conservation Corps


The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was created in 1933 to be included in FDR’s New Deal plans during The Great Depression.[20] With so many people out of work and poor families suffering in the United States from 1929 until 1939 due to The Great Depression, there was something that needed to be done to help Americans during this time. President Franklin D. Roosevelt devised the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), an organization that put men, ages 18 to 25, to work by assigning them to conservation projects across the United States. The CCC came into play to help with the dual problems of widespread unemployment and deteriorating natural resources in the United States at the same time.[21]


The service that was needed for these projects included work on conservation and natural resource projects across the country. The CCC focused on restoring forests, parks, and other natural areas. It also included improving infrastructure like roads, bridges, and dams. These major projects all required a large team of people to properly and efficiently complete. About 88,000 Native Americans living in Indian Reserves, World War I Army veterans, and experienced foresters and craftsmen enrolled in the program. Many of the men attempting to enroll were living in the East, and much of the work that was being tasked was in the West. In about five months after the program began, about 1,500 work camps were up and running across the country, and workers were being transferred as needed. They received room and board, as well as a small monthly wage of $30, with about $25 of that wage being sent home to their families. Meals, lodging, clothing, medical, and dental care were all free for enrollees, and they only had to spend a small amount of their monthly wages on toiletries, postage, or whatever they needed or wanted to spend it on. They could only serve six-month terms at a time, and men could participate and reenroll for two years total.[22]


While the enrollees had busy itineraries, the CCC also provided educational opportunities for them to participate during their free time. They offered many different kinds of classes, such as basic math and science courses or lessons involving literacy, vocational skills, and environmental conservation. Some courses included skill-building in areas such as welding, building, carpentry, and even driving. Various educational programs and activities were established for its members. Enrollees were given the opportunity to attend evening classes, workshops, and lectures.[23] In addition, the CCC collaborated with local schools and educational institutions to provide enrollees access to educational resources and support.


About 57,000 men working as enrollees in the CCC were illiterate, but many learned to read during their time living in the work camps. Many volunteers offered their time to help teach. Some of the instructors were locals living near the camps, appointed people from the CCC organizers, and even the enrollees themselves. If the men participating in the program had their education careers interrupted to work, some of them who participated in the learning opportunities left the work camp with a high school diploma and sometimes even a college degree.[24]


Over the course of its nine-year existence, the CCC ended up eventually employing around three million young men and completed thousands of projects that significantly improved the nation's natural resources and infrastructure. The CCC planted more than three billion trees and constructed trails and shelters in more than 800 parks nationwide, helping to shape the modern national and state park systems we enjoy today.[25] 


Teacher Resources:



 

Sources:


[1] “1913 Woman Suffrage Procession.” National Park Service, https://www.nps.gov/articles/woman-suffrage-procession1913.htm. Accessed 13 February 2024.

[2] Cohen, Danielle. “This Day in History: The 1913 Women’s Suffrage Parade.” The White House, 3 March 2016, https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/blog/2016/03/03/this-day-history-1913-womens-suffrage-parade. Accessed 13 February 2024.

[3] Cohen, Danielle. “This Day in History: The 1913 Women’s Suffrage Parade.” The White House, 3 March 2016, https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/blog/2016/03/03/this-day-history-1913-womens-suffrage-parade. Accessed 13 February 2024.

[4] “Marching for the Vote: Remembering the Woman Suffrage Parade of 1913.” Library of Congress, https://guides.loc.gov/american-women-essays/marching-for-the-vote. Accessed 13 February 2024.

[5] “1913 Woman Suffrage Procession.” National Park Service, https://www.nps.gov/articles/woman-suffrage-procession1913.htm. Accessed 13 February 2024.

[6] “1913 Woman Suffrage Procession.” National Park Service, https://www.nps.gov/articles/woman-suffrage-procession1913.htm. Accessed 13 February 2024.

[7] "Here's the Speech Helen Keller Never Got a Chance to Deliver." Katie Couric Media, https://katiecouric.com/entertainment/book-guide/undelivered-speeches-history-jeff-nussbaum/. Accessed 13 February 2024.

[8] Cohen, Danielle. “This Day in History: The 1913 Women’s Suffrage Parade.” The White House, 3 March 2016, https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/blog/2016/03/03/this-day-history-1913-womens-suffrage-parade. Accessed 13 February 2024.

[9] “Marching for the Vote: Remembering the Woman Suffrage Parade of 1913.” Library of Congress, https://guides.loc.gov/american-women-essays/marching-for-the-vote. Accessed 13 February 2024.

[10] “1913 Woman Suffrage Procession.” National Park Service, https://www.nps.gov/articles/woman-suffrage-procession1913.htm. Accessed 13 February 2024.

[11] Cohen, Danielle. “This Day in History: The 1913 Women’s Suffrage Parade.” The White House, 3 March 2016, https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/blog/2016/03/03/this-day-history-1913-womens-suffrage-parade. Accessed 13 February 2024.

[12] Ostberg, René. "Ides of March". Encyclopedia Britannica, 4 Dec. 2023, https://www.britannica.com/topic/Ides-of-March. Accessed 16 February 2024.

[13] Ostberg, René. "Ides of March". Encyclopedia Britannica, 4 Dec. 2023, https://www.britannica.com/topic/Ides-of-March. Accessed 16 February 2024.

[14] Tracey, Liz. “Beware the Ides of March. (But Why?).” 15 March 2022, https://daily.jstor.org/beware-the-ides-of-march-wait-what/. Accessed 20 February 2024.

[15] Ostberg, René. "Ides of March". Encyclopedia Britannica, 4 Dec. 2023, https://www.britannica.com/topic/Ides-of-March. Accessed 16 February 2024.

[16] History.com Editors. “The Ides of March.” HISTORY, 16 March 2021, https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/the-ides-of-march. Accessed 16 February 2024.

[17] “‘Et Tu Brute,’ Meaning.” No Sweat Shakespeare, https://nosweatshakespeare.com/quotes/famous/et-tu-brute/. Accessed 22 February 2024.

[18] History.com Editors. “The Ides of March.” HISTORY, 16 March 2021, https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/the-ides-of-march. Accessed 16 February 2024.

[19] Ostberg, René. “Ides of March.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 16 Feb. 2024, www.britannica.com/topic/Ides-of-March. Accessed 06 Mar. 2024.

[20] National Parks Service. “Civilian Conservation Corps.” National Parks Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, 10 Apr. 2015, www.nps.gov/thro/learn/historyculture/civilian-conservation-corps.htm#:~:text=The%20Civilian%20Conservation%20Corps%20. Accessed 18 Mar. 2024.

[21] Glass, Andrew. “Congress Enacts Huge Jobs Program, March 31, 1933.” Politico, 31 Mar. 2019, www.politico.com/story/2019/03/31/this-day-in-politics-march-31-1243146. Accessed 18 Mar. 2024.

[22] National Parks Service. “Civilian Conservation Corps.” National Parks Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, 10 Apr. 2015, www.nps.gov/thro/learn/historyculture/civilian-conservation-corps.htm#:~:text=The%20Civilian%20Conservation%20Corps%20. Accessed 18 Mar. 2024.

[23] National Parks Service. “Civilian Conservation Corps.” National Parks Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, 10 Apr. 2015, www.nps.gov/thro/learn/historyculture/civilian-conservation-corps.htm#:~:text=The%20Civilian%20Conservation%20Corps%20. Accessed 18 Mar. 2024.

[24] Neatrour, Anna. Roosevelt’s Tree Army: Civilian Conservation Corps. Digital Public Library of America. September 2015. https://dp.la/exhibitions/civilian-conservation-corps.

[25] History.com Editors. “Civilian Conservation Corps.” HISTORY, A&E Television Networks, 11 May 2010, www.history.com/topics/great-depression/civilian-conservation-corps. Accessed 18 Mar. 2024.

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