Google Creates Doodle to Remember the Historic Silent Parade of 1917

On Saturday, July 28, 1917, nearly 10,000 African Americans marched in complete silence down New York City’s Fifth Avenue, among an estimated 20,000 onlookers, to protest racial violence and white supremacy in the United States. With women and children dressed in all white and the men dressed in black, New York City and the nation had never observed such an extraordinary scene.

To commemorate the anniversary of the Silent Parade of 1917, Google created a doodle on the homepage honoring the first mass African American protest of its kind, as the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports. When clicked on, Google will redirect users to a search page featuring articles and news stories about the iconic march.

According to the National Humanities Center, a flyer that was handed out prior to the march cited several hateful acts against African Americans including lynchings in Waco, Texas, Memphis, and the East St. Louis race riot of July 1917 – where at least 39 African Americans were killed by white residents and thousands were left homeless after their homes were burned down. The flyer distributed by Rev. Chas D. Martin details the order of the march and the purpose.

“We march because we want out children to live in a better land and enjoy fairer conditions than have fallen to out lot,” the flyer reads. “We march in memory of out butchered dead, the massacre of the honest toilers who were removing the reproach of laziness and thriftlessness hurled at the entire race. They died to prove our worthiness to live. We live in spite of death shadowing us and ours. We prosper in the face of the most unwarranted and illegal oppression.”

Banners and picket signs in the Silent Parade had powerful mottos and words of protest such as, “Thou shalt not kill,” “We are maligned as lazy, and murdered when we work,” “Your hands are full of blood,” and “Mothers, do lynchers go to heaven?”

From the March on Washington where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his “I Have a Dream” speech for jobs and freedom to the Black Lives Matter Movement that is opening people’s eyes to social injustices against African Americans that are still prevalent today – the Silent Parade of 1917 marked the beginning of a new powerful time in history for the fight for black freedom in the United States.

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