Inez Milholland Boissevain at the National American Woman Suffrage Association parade on March 3, 1913 in Washington, D.C.
Inez was a suffragette, attorney, journalist, and social justice advocate. During the summer between her sophomore and junior years at Vassar College, Inez joined Britain’s militant suffrage movement, participating in several English demonstrations. When she returned to Vassar, she organized the college’s first suffrage meetings in direct disobedience to the anti-suffrage college president.
After graduating from Vassar, Inez attended New York University’s School of Law. As an attorney, she practiced divorce, criminal, and labor law. She was a member of a number of prominent social justice organizations including the National American Woman Suffrage Association, the Women’s Trade Union League, the National Child Labor Committee, and the NAACP.
Inez helped to organize the March 3, 1913 parade in Washington, DC. In the photo above she is preparing to lead the parade dressed in white robes and astride a white horse. She carried a banner that read, “Forward Out of Darkness, Leave Behind the Night, Forward Out of Error, Forward Into Light.”
Four months later, Inez married Dutch importer Eugen Jan Boissevain. She proposed to him and considered this a mark of the new freedom of women.
During World War I, Inez served as a war correspondent and peace advocate. She returned to the US in 1916 and embarked on a pro-suffrage speaking tour of twelve western states. On October 22, 1916, Inez collapsed while giving a speech in Los Angeles. She died of pernicious anemia at the age of thirty on November 25, 1916.
Inez was immediately declared a martyr of the suffrage movement. A memorial service was held for her in the US Capitol’s Statuary Hall on Christmas Day 1916. Three weeks later, 300 women attempted to met with President Wilson and give him the suffrage resolutions drafted during Inez’s memorial service. He refused to meet with them, setting off the Silent Sentinel protests that lasted from 1917 to 1919.