Women Organizers in the Civil Rights Movement

Topics: African American, Social movement, Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee Pages: 6 (2170 words) Published: October 22, 2012
Women organizers in the Civil Rights movement (1950's-1960's)

Women have always been regarded as key parental figure in raising and developing children in the society. During the period of 1950 to 1970, many parts of the world were marred with civil rights movement. The movements were characterized with protests and civil resistance complaining about discrimination economic and political self sufficiency. Women took up the initiative to participate in these movements. This situation later led to serious confrontation between government authorities and activists. Thousands of people took part in the civil right movement of that period especially in the United States. The key leaders of the campaign, include; Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Stokely Carmichael, Rosa Parks, James Meredith and Medgar Evers, played crucial roles for of the achievements of the Civil Rights Movement in America[1]. This paper covers factors that motivated women, the contributions they had, roles they played as well as the problems they encountered during the civil rights movement of 1950’s and 1960’s. Most of the women who were involved in these movements were born during the slavery period, hence the pain and suffering they experienced at that time stimulated them to speak out against oppression. One of the most vocal women who started to speak against oppression was Wells Barnett. She began her struggle in 1909, by travelling abroad to seek international attention on this issue[2]. She also formed National association for the advanced of Colored people. Her efforts were later joined by the struggle for gender sensitization by Mary Church Terrell. She was very vocal and spoke about segregation of the blacks in public eating joints. She led most of the citizens to boycotts and picketing to attract attention to racial injustice[3]. She established the black club movement that led to the formation of National Association of Colored Women similar to that of Barnett. She was also very instrumental in bringing up socially progressive institutions such as mother clubs and nursery schools. The three year struggles with authorities bow her fruits when the Supreme Court ruled that segregation of public eating places was unconstitutional[4]. Another very instrumental lady in these movements was Mary McLeod. She often worked together with both Terrell and Barnett. Mary became the president of National Association of Colored Women[5]. Being at the supreme of the organization, she became a good friend of Sara Roosevelt the mother of Franklin Roosevelt mayor of New York. She used the good rapport she had with this politically influential family to continue her struggle for social justice of the black[6]. She was later appointed to be the head of National Youth Council by President Roosevelt. Eleanor Roosevelt took the same path after being inspired by Terrell and Mary McLeod. After her husband was elected as the 32nd president Eleanor became instrumental in fighting injustice by calling for international and national attention to the effects of oppression and racial discrimination. She took a bold step and resigned from the Daughter of American Revolution since they had differed in ideologies. Ella baker was another activist who dedicated her time to speak out against oppression. She was regarded as the leader behind the scenes. She struggled to study due to the fact that her family was not well of. She graduated and became a teacher. She relocated to New York and quit her profession to engage in social change. She got involved with NAACP in the grassroots level in recruiting more people to the organization. She also was instrumental in the formation of other small organizations such as Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. These movements later were used by Martin Luther King Jr. to organize his boycott and nonviolent movement. The wave of women participation in the civil...
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