This Day in History

July 28, 1917: Silent March Down Fifth Avenue

Time Periods: 1910
Themes: African American, Racism & Racial Identity

On July 28, 1917, W. E. B. Du Bois and the NAACP organized a silent march.

Silent Protest | Zinn Education Project

Silent protest parade in New York against the East St. Louis riots, 1917. Source: Library of Congress.

Ten thousand people, including children, walked down New York City’s Fifth Avenue to protest the recent massacre of African Americans in East St. Louis, Illinois, as well as the recent lynchings in Waco, Texas, and Memphis, Tennessee.

The participants marched behind a row of drummers carrying banners calling for justice and equal rights.

The only sound was the beat of muffled drums.

Learn More

The Library of Congress offers a page linking to open access news reports about the silent march. See also essays at Black Past and the NAACP about this protest.