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Silent Protest Parade: Topics in Chronicling America

A guide for researching the topic of the "silent protest parade of 1917" in the Chronicling America digital collection of historic newspapers.


"NEGROES PARADE IN AGAINST PROTEST RACE RIOT," The New-York Tribune (New York, NY), July 29, 1917, Page 13, Image 13. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

Nearly ten thousand African Americans march in silence down New York City’s Fifth Avenue on July 28, 1917. There is no singing or chanting, just the muffled thump of drums. The silent protest follows brutal riots in East St. Louis, Ill. Organized by the newly-formed NAACP, it will go down as the first African American protest of its kind, and set the stage for future civil rights demonstrations. Read more about it!

The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.

The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.


July 1-3, 1917 Race riot breaks out in East St. Louis, IL and rages on for days.
July 1917 NAACP leaders James Weldon Johnson and W.E.B. DuBois form Parade Committee made up of influential members of the black community.
July 28, 1917 10,000 people silently march down 5th Ave. in New York in protest of riots, lynching, and other violence against blacks.
August 1, 1917 Parade Committee brings anti-lynching petition to the White House.
1917 - 1930s Inspired by New York march, silent protests continue in cities throughout the country.