January 15, 1968: The Jeannette Rankin Brigade March
Image: AP Photo
You’ve likely heard the feminist phrase, “Sisterhood is Powerful,” but where did it originate? It’s been reported that the slogan was first used on Jan. 15, 1968, when five thousand women took to Washington to protest the Vietnam War in the Jeannette Rankin Brigade March. This march was named after the first woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.
Rankin was the first woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1916, and again in 1940. Even in 2018, she’s the only woman to have ever been elected from Montana. The Progressive Era Republican pacifist played a huge role in the women’s suffrage movement and her influence followed through to the second-wave feminist movement.
Despite being 87 years old, Rankin was at the front of the march, holding a banner that read, “End the war in Vietnam and the social crisis at home!” According to The Cut, the march was a theatrical protest, meant to be a funeral for traditional womanhood — complete with a blonde effigy — and attendees were invited to “bury” passive female roles while marching alongside a coffin.
“We met radical women from other cities at the Jeannette Rankin protest," Carol Hanisch, a writer and attendee of the march told The Cut. "Although we weren’t all in agreement about where we wanted to go or how to get there, we were encouraged to find others ready to take our oppression seriously and do something about it."