The Million Woman March took place on October 25, 1997 in Philadelphia along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The event was in response to the Million Man March in Washington, D.C. held two years prior.
The march was organized by activist and Black nationalist Phile Chionesu and Asia Coney, who worked with one another in Philadelphia on a variety of grassroots issues. Instead of relying on celebrity endorsements or the promise of famous names to speak at the event, Chionesu and Coney depended on a coalition of Black women from around the country willing to organize to make the event happen.
While the star power was less in comparison to the Million Man March, figures such as Winnie Mandela, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Jada Pinkett Smith, Dr. Dorothy Height, and Rosa Parks, among others, addressed the crowd.
The organizers had the support of local Black officials but drew criticism for not including the likes of the NAACP or any local elected Black officials to speak at the event. The event organizers claimed as many as 2.1 million women were in attendance although news outlets and park officials say the numbers were closer to 1 million at the most. Still, a significant number of women from across the nation attended the march and walked away inspired.
Like the Million Man March before it, the Million Woman March has inspired similar events over the years.
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