Hundreds take part in historic Savannah march - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Hundreds take part in historic Savannah march

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Hundreds of women marched through downtown Savannah on Saturday, under a banner that's been flying for a century.

They were re-enacting the 1913 women's suffrage march on Washington, D.C., Southern-style, marching from Forsyth Park to Johnson Square. Delta Sigma Theta sorority hosted the event and paid homage to the first deltas, 22 young women from Howard University – who, with their chaperone, were the only African-Americans in that historic "Women's Suffrage Parade."

"It just brought me back to the reason I wanted to be a Delta in the first place," Aleisha Donald, a 20-year-old Savannah State junior dressed in 1913 garb, said in an interview. "It's all about change. It's all about living for others and making sure that others have the same opportunities as you."

Preserving and growing those opportunities were at the forefront of march organizer Shirley James' mind.

"Laws are still being passed that, in my opinion, that takes away our individual capability to make decisions for ourselves on a lot of issues personally to our bodies," James said, standing outside the Mansion at Forsyth Park after the march. "But then we still have inequality in the workplace."

The strides of the past century were evidenced by the audience. Savannah Mayor Edna Jackson and Savannah's four female city council members were there. Mayor Pro Tem Van Johnson carrying the flag for the male half of council.

"We have a female district attorney with Meg Heap," Judge Patricia Stone said during a ceremony in Johnson Square. "We have more women judges. Of the five courts in our state, three of them have women serving as presiding judges."

It's been a long road since 1913, when the Deltas of Howard were required to bring male chaperone along with them on their march. In a top hat and tails, Mayor Otis Johnson played that part in today's remembrance.

"I don't know if anybody was even thinking that they would've come this far when they were protesting the right to vote in 1913," he said in an interview.

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