Black women civil rights talk
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Black women civil rights talk Presentation Transcript

  • 1. “Black Women are the mules of the Earth”Zora Neale Hurston, “Their Eyes were watching God”Honoring the contributions of the women who worked tirelessly and selflessly in support of civil rights.
  • 2. The civil rights movement could not have succeeded without the incredibly hard work of many women who received little or no attention for their efforts.―Women played a major role in the struggle for civil rights, though most histories dont tell their stories.‖;col1
  • 3. "The most powerful person in the struggle of the sixties was Miss Ella Baker, not Martin Luther King." Stokely Carmichael
  • 4. Ella Baker (1903 - 1986)―While she was content to work in supportive roles, she urged African American women to take up their struggle for equality. She explained the social environment of the 1950s and 1960s: "The [civil rights] movement … was carried largely by women, since it came out of church groups‖
  • 5. Ella Baker
  • 6. Ella Baker‘s ‗credentials‘―She had become discouraged with not only the failure to place women in leadership roles, but she disagreed with the leader-centered management of the organization. She believed that rather than depend upon one person for leadership, a group- centered style of leadership should be implemented.‖
  • 7. Ella Baker and Martin Luther King―In addition, she was also unimpressed with [Rev. Dr. Martin Luther] King. Most frustrating to her was his failure to treat her on equal footing with men and his disinterest in her ideas.‖
  • 8. Ella Baker, left, with actor Ruby Dee
  • 9. why you‘ve never heard of Ella Baker… studies of the Civil Rights movement have focused almost exclusively on the contributions of male leaders [as opposed] to community mobilizing, in part because the most visible and vocal public figures in the movement were men such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and Stokely Carmichael.
  • 10. other than Rosa Parks, have you heard of any woman civil rights leader?The grassroots organizing done largely by women--the "spade work." as Baker called it, that tilled the ground in preparation for campaigns such as the Montgomery bus boycott and the 1963 March on Washington--has received little attention
  • 11. Septima Poinsette Clark
  • 12. Septima Poinsette Clark (1898 - 1987)So little has been written about Septima Clarks life that most Americans have never heard of her. Those who knew and worked with Clark remember her as one of the most influential women in the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s.
  • 13. Septima Poinsette ClarkClarks passion for racial equality stemmed from her experiences as a teacher and a mother in the segregated South; she wrote in her 1962 autobiography ―Echo in My Soul:There is nothing worse than having to teach a black child "that none of the pleasant things in life are for him ... explaining why the native soil is such a hard place for the native to grow in.‖
  • 14. Septima means seventh or sufficient―Septima Clark, one of the most effective and yet unsung heroes of the civil rights movement, believed that literacy was the key to empowerment. After teaching for many years in the public schools of South Carolina, she went on to work tirelessly with the Highlander Folk School in Tennessee and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in Georgia.Lanker, Brian. I Dream a World. NYC, Workman Publishing (1989) pp. 164
  • 15. ―I have a great belief in the fact that whenever there is chaos, it creates wonderful thinking. I consider chaos a gift.‖Clark, Septima; ed. Brown, C.S. Ready from Within. Navarro, CA: Wild Tress Press, 1986With her talent for developing leadership, she established innovative citizenship schools throughout the South. She recruited hundreds of teachers who taught thousands of others to read, to register to vote, and to stand up for their rights.‖Lanker, Brian. I Dream a World. NYC, Workman Publishing (1989) pp. 164
  • 16. Septima Clark teaching a citizen education class
  • 17. Septima Clark in her own words:―In those days I didn‘t criticize Dr. King other than asking him not to lead all the marches. Like other black ministers, Dr. King didn‘t think too much of the way women could contribute. I see this as one of the weaknesses of the civil rights movement, the way the men looked at women.‖Lanker, Brian. I Dream a World. NYC, Workman Publishing (1989) pp. 164
  • 18. Charlayne Hunter-Gault
  • 19. Charlayne Hunter-Gault (1942 - )―Charlayne Hunter was one of two black students to desegregate the University of Georgia in Athens in 1961 … ‗Even in the best high school in Atlanta, we had hand-me-down textbooks and our labs were certainly not as well equipped … We didn‘t want to go to school with whitepeople – that wasn‘t it. It was those facilities they had.‖Lanker, Brian. I Dream a World. NYC, Workman Publishing (1989), pp 62
  • 20. C. Hunter-Gault …―You have to assess every situation that you‘re in and you have to decide, is this happening because I‘m black? Is this happening because I‘m a woman? Or is this happening because this is how it happens. Lanker, Brian. I Dream a World. NYC, Workman Publishing (1989), pp 62
  • 21. C. Hunter-Gault …Whatever I have faced as a woman is probably a lot more subtle than what I have faced as a black person. … I have never looked on being black or being a woman as a handicap and, honestly, I have used those things to my advantage, in the workplace particularly. Lanker, Brian. I Dream a World. NYC, Workman Publishing (1989), pp 62
  • 22. Charlayne Hunter-Gault
  • 23. C. Hunter-Gault on the U.S.Whatever you say about this country, we do have a Constitution where equality of opportunity is a basic principle … If people are informed they will do the right thing. It‘s when they are not informed that they become hostages to prejudice.‖Lanker, Brian. I Dream a World. NYC, Workman Publishing (1989), pp 62
  • 24. Fannie Lou Hamer
  • 25. Fannie Lou Hamer (1917 – 1977) ―I‘m sick and tired of being sick and tired‖She was instrumental in organizing Mississippi Freedom Summer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and later became the Vice-Chair of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, attending the 1964 Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in that capacity.
  • 26. photo: plain-spoken manner and fervent belief in the Biblical righteousness of her cause gained her areputation as an electrifying speaker and constant champion of civil rights.
  • 27. ―And ultimately, MLK brokered the deal with LBJ to seat the Mississippi delegation and made some other concessions, but in a way that, again, really made Fannie Lou Hamer and the women and men that she brought with her feel that the overall Civil Rights Movement had sold out the interests of the poorest and the most vulnerable that the movement was meant to help … invoking her helps us to remember that even the Civil Rights Movement was not a moment of pure unity of race, that there was always these questions of class and of gender that complicated the racial movements in America.‖ s_obama_to
  • 28. Fannie Lou Hamer
  • 29. Rosa Parks (1913 – 2005)The only well known female of the civil rights movement, Rosa Parks‘ refusal to give up her bus seat to a white male passenger on 01 December, 1955 ―sparked the Montgomery bus boycott.‖
  • 30. ―the mother of the civil rights movement‖―After the bus boycott got going and (Martin Luther) King got involved, they wouldn‘t even let Rosa Parks speak at the first mass meeting,‖ she said. ―She asked to speak, and one of the ministers said he thought she had done enough.‖
  • 31. Rosa Parks was proactive, not a docile ―good girl‖Olson added that Parks is often depicted as a deferential woman who defied segregation laws at the urging of movement leaders, but in fact she had for years quietly pushed for racial justice — and she had carefully planned the actions that led to her arrest.―She was not just a symbol,‖ Olson said. ―She was an agent.‖ Olson, Lynne. “Freedom’s Daughters: The Unsung Heroines of the Civil Rights Movement from 1830 to 1970.” Scribner. 2002.
  • 32. Mrs. Parks was the first woman to lie in state in the U.S. Capitol‘s rotundaRosa Parks‘ death highlights the fact that she was one of the very few female civil rights figures who are widely known d/9862643/
  • 33. E.D. Nixon, former president of the Alabama N.A.A.C.P,escorts Mrs. Parks to her trial on March 19, 1956.
  • 34. Shirley Anita St. Hill Chisholm (1924 – 2005)Shirley Chisholm was the first black woman elected to the United States Congress.―Developing a keen interest in politics, she began to learn the arts of organizing and fund raising. She deeply resented the role of women in local politics, which consisted mostly of staying in the background, sponsoring fund raising events, and turning the money over to male party leaders who would then decide how to use it.‖
  • 35. Shirley Chisholm‘s 1972 presidential campaign―One of the four founders of the National Womens Political Caucus in 1971, she often said that during her twenty years in local politics "I had met far more discrimination because I am a woman than because I am black." Indeed Shirley Chisholm was so outspoken in favor of womens rights that she was often criticized for not paying enough attention to black issues.
  • 36. Shirley Chisholm in her own words …―When I was about six or seven … even then I was beginning to show signs of leadership. At that time it was called a rebellious little girl … I moved into the Presidential bid and that was the worst campaign I ever went through in my life in terms of almost being destroyed by men. They never attacked me in terms of my ability and articulation. It was always an attack based on my gender.Lanker, Brian. I Dream a World. NYC, Workman Publishing (1989), pp. 106
  • 37. ―Why should black men be any different from white men, brown men, pink men, whatever? They‘re all part of the male gender, who for so many years had preconceived notions and stereotypical thinking about the role of women …Nobody calls on black women to find out what they‘re thinking about because we‘re always part of somebody else‘s agenda … I want to organize black women in this country so that they‘ll become a force to be dealt with.‖Lanker, Brian. I Dream a World. NYC, Workman Publishing (1989), pp. 106
  • 38. Rachel, Jackie Jr and Jackie Robinson at home in 1956.
  • 39. Rachel Robinson Jackie Robinson foundation chairperson, psychiatric nurse and businesswoman―It is very easy to be drawn into being a professional widow. People want to preserve the widow of a great man in that role and I saw it as a trap – one that I recognized long before Jack died, because it was also a potential trap to be just Mrs. Jackie Robinson. It was important, but I had to work at becoming Rachel Robinson, too.‖ Lanker, Brian. I Dream a World. NYC, Workman Publishing (1989), pp. 116
  • 40. ―If I have one motto for myself, it‘s ‗Fight Back.‘ I almost pin it on the walls around my house. We‘re engaged in a struggle that will be on-going for generations, I fear. So the willingness to fight back and the psychological stamina and disciplien to keep focused on basic goals is essential.‖Lanker, Brian. I Dream a World. NYC, Workman Publishing (1989), pp. 116
  • 41. Dr. Melissa Harris-Lacewell
  • 42. Dr. Melissa Harris-Lacewell Associate Professor of Politics and African American Studies at Princeton University―In a recent piece in The Nation magazine titled ―Obama and the Sisters,‖ Melissa Harris-Lacewell describes these women as the lost prophets of American democracy. Harris-Lacewell writes, ‗The Obama candidacy is built on the organizational foundation laid by these women at least as much as it is on the oratorical showmanship of black male preachers.‘‖
  • 43. Dr. Harris-Lacewell‘s thoughts on Ella Baker―Ella Baker is an African American—first of all, everyone should read Barbara Ransby‘s book about Ella Baker, which returns her really to public discourse. She‘s an African American woman who, again, was a community activist and organizer, was brought up in a family of organizers, and was not a speechmaker.And she was consistently silenced by Martin King. She was consistently marginalized by the male preachers of the Civil Rights Movement. Most of us don‘t remember Ella Baker‘s name, even though we benefit from her work.
  • 44. Questions … comments? Myra Michele Brown Information Resource Officer (regional) U.S. Embassy, Accra Accra office: 233 021 741172 mobile phone: 233 024 432 2007Sierra Leone; Liberia; Cote d‘Ivoire; Ghana; Togo; Benin; Gabon & Cameroon