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3 March: On this day in history

What events happened on 3 March in history? We round up the events, births and deaths…

Published: March 3, 2022 at 6:04 am
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3 March 1913: Women’s suffrage takes off in Washington DC

Thousands of women march through the US capital to the sound of jeers and abuse


On 3 March 1913, Washington DC was a city waiting for its new master. The next day, Woodrow Wilson was due to be sworn in as the president of the United States, and there was a palpable sense of anticipation.

For thousands – perhaps millions – of women, however, it was 3 March itself that was the real red-letter day. The day before Wilson’s inauguration had been chosen for the capital’s first suffragist parade, organised by the National American Woman Suffrage Association “in a spirit of protest against the present political organisation of society, from which women are excluded”.

Although the parade got off to a slow start, it was soon evident that this was no passing demonstration. Never before had so many women marched together in pursuit of their right to vote. Marching down Pennsylvania Avenue with two dozen floats, nine bands and four mounted brigades, they were led by the figure of the lawyer and activist Inez Milholland, atop a white horse and wearing a white cape.


For all too many of the marchers, however, the parade quickly became an ordeal. After a few blocks, the women began to be jeered and harassed by men on the sidewalks. Observers reported hearing torrents of “indecent epithets” and “barnyard conversation”. Instead of intervening, the Washington police did nothing; indeed, some of them joined in the abuse. | Written by Dominic Sandbrook

Julian Humphrys rounds up smaller anniversaries

3 March 1710
The French exploded a mine under the English-held citadel of Alicante. It killed 54 men, including the commander Colonel John Richards, who was standing on the parade ground to encourage his men, but the castle held out for a further five weeks.
3 March 1792
Scottish neoclassical architect and interior designer Robert Adam died in London, aged 63. His architectural works include London's Apsley House, Pulteney Bridge in Bath and the Register House in Edinburgh.
3 March 1808
Death in Kiel of Danish entomologist Johann Christian Fabricius. During his life he named and classified about 10,000 species of insect.
3 March 1847
Telephone pioneer Alexander Graham Bell is born in Edinburgh.
3 March 1911
The original 'blonde bombshell', film actress Jean Harlow, was born Harlean Harlow Carpenter in Kansas City, Missouri.
3 March 1923
The first issue of Time Magazine was published. Joseph Gurney Cannon, the Republican politician who retired from the House of Representatives on the same day, featured on the cover.
3 March 1959 
After refusing to take part in a work party at the British detention camp at Hola in Kenya 11 Mau Mau prisoners are beaten to death by their guards while many need hospital treatment. Attempts by the local authorities to ascribe the deaths to water poisoning are soon exposed as lies and the Hola Massacre, as it became known, attracts universal opprobrium. Enoch Powell joins Barbara Castle in condemning the affair in the Commons but no criminal charges are brought against any individuals for the deaths.

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