At the height of the Civil Rights Movement (1954-1968), women played a big part in not only keeping the crusade alive, but also played a big part in energizing the masses to continue the long and arduous struggle against the seemingly impenetrable institutions of power which disenfranchised African-Americans and regarded their humanity as nothing more than mere pieces of property owned by others. Women like Coretta Scott King, Fannie Lou Hamer, Ella Baker, Septima Clark and countless mothers, sisters, and daughters proved to be important
The civil rights movement broadened the definition of leadership to include women, and left an impression of women as powerful and determined activists. Jo An Robinson and Ella Baker are just two of the many women who were able to take charge and make an impact on the movement. Robinson led the Women’s Political Council, which plotted strategy for a one-day bus boycott in Montgomery following Rosa Parks’ arrest. The Council was able to recruit clergy to lend their churches for mass meetings and was able to tap into a new minister in town, Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. to lead the Montgomery Improvement Association, which would coordinate the larger Montgomery Bus Boycotts . It was the women that organized this key moment in the civil rights movement – which was, in fact, spurred by a woman, Rosa Parks, refusing to take her seat in the back of the bus. Ella Baker was similarly key in the Civil Rights movement. She was instrumental in organizing a conference of student sit-in activists in 1960, forming the beginning of what would become the SNCC. By educating and fostering leadership, Baker helped members to see themselves as potential leaders – regardless of race or gender. That does not mean that leadership in the
Females across the nation started speaking out against gender inequality. Discrimination in areas such as the workplace, marriage, and government had become overwhelmingly obvious and women started fighting back (Banks 207). This uprising coincided with the Civil Rights Movement. During the same time, African-Americans were standing up against segregation and for racial equality. These two movements went hand-in-hand, as they both had similar motives. Both women and blacks were fighting against oppression in their own country, and they benefitted from each other’s successes. But it wasn’t strictly these two minority groups standing up for themselves during this time, as Mexicans and Native Americans joined the cause too. They also spoke out against inequality by hosting similar protests and demonstrations as the black and women’s rallies. This showed how the 1960’s were a popular time for minority groups to take a stand and make their voices heard, and women were only one of the many groups of people who rallied for change during that time.
For one, African American leaders in the ‘90s to the ‘20s attempted to end the disenfranchisement of African Americans, done through poll taxes and literacy tests, by advocating their cause in the more sympathetic North. Later, in the fifties and the sixties, these same goals, enlign poll taxes and literacy tests, were once again fought for by African American leaders, through advocacy and agitation. This shows a major similarity as they wanted to achieve the same things. Furthermore, during the nineties to the twenties, leaders of African Americans sought to end segregation in the South, as caused by Plessy v. Ferguson. Similarly, African American leaders from the fifties to the sixties also fought for the end of segregation, in cases such as Brown v. Board of Education. This shows a significant similarity in that both time periods’ leaders attempted to achieve the goal of ending
Hull and Barbra Smith provided four issues that seem important for a consideration of the politics of Black women’s studies: “(1) the general political situation of Afro-American women and the bearing this has had upon the implementation of Black women’s studies; (2) the relationship of Black women’s studies to Black feminist politics and the Black feminist movement; (3) the necessity for Black women’s studies to be feminist, radical and analytical; and (4) the need for teachers of Black women’s studies to be aware or our problematic political positions in the academy and of the potentially conditions under which we must work” (Hull, Smith 187). These concepts are stepping stones to developing a better image for African American females. If society applied these, women would have a more even-chance to pursue what they believe in.
African-American women have often been an overlooked group with the larger context of American Society. Historically, oppression has been meted out to the African-American woman in two ways. Historically, everything afforded to African-American, from educational and employment opportunities to health care have been sub-par. As women they have been relegated even further in a patriarchal society that has always, invariably, held men in higher regard.
Across cultures and throughout history, women have experienced ongoing systemic oppression; and they have responded with progressive movements of protest and creative alternatives. Harriet Tubman in the fight against slavery: Fannie Lou Hamer for voting rights: Ella Baker and Mary White Ovington in the civil rights movement: Rosa Luxemburg in the German socialist movement: Winnie Mandela in the anti-apartheid movement: Puerto Rican independence leader and poet Lolita Lebron: and American Indian movement activists Anna Mae Aquash, Ingrid Washinawatok, and Winona LaDuke (Mink and Navarro). Women have pioneered in movements for labor rights, prison reform, reproductive rights and health, education, affordable housing, affirmative action and equal rights, human rights, and environmental safety. These women’s leadership styles span a range from soft to harsh, from wielding individual, hierarchical power to possessing a commitment to collectivism, and from identifying as “woman as caretaker of life” to woman as requiring and utilizing equal power to man. There is no one characteristic that applies to all women as social change leaders (Hurtado).
The gender bias found in relation to leadership in the civil rights movement often excludes African-American women’s contributions as being of less importance and prominence; however, in hindsight informal leaders were on equal level with formal leaders and bridge leaders served an important function resulting from exclusion.
Often times, women are excluded from history books and historical primary document sources. Women have just as much to say, if not more than men, especially during times where they were denied basic rights. Sojourner Truth, Amy Garvey, and Ella Baker were all African American activists for human rights; Truth and Garvey for women’s rights and Baker for African American rights. Each woman brings a new perspective to the movements and has great reasoning. During a time when women weren’t allowed to say much, they had a great amount to say.
Feminist leaders were also inspired by the Civil Rights movement, through which many of them had gained civic organizing experience. At the same time, according to tavaana.org, black women played a key role in the Civil Rights movement, especially through local organizations, but were shut out of leadership roles. Meanwhile in the 1970’s, the women's anti-war movement was joined by a new generation of more radical young women protesting "the way in which the traditional women's peace movement condoned and even enforced the gender hierarchy in which men made war and women wept.”[Ibid. 367
Women history is something that has had a vast amount of changes throughout the decades. Feminist have fought hard for women equal rights. As a collective we know that women aren’t valued as much as men, but it goes deeper than the idea of gender roles. It’s affected by the race of a women as well. In this case the African American women voice. These women weren’t only affected by equal rights for women but equal rights for blacks as well, so it was harder for them to speak out to get their voices heard. Most black women were silenced by society historically. One example of a black women voice being heard was Rosa Parks when she refused to give up her seat to a white passenger. Rosa Parks didn’t conform to social norms of sitting in the back
In history, women have always struggled to gain equality, respect, and the same rights as men. Women had had to endure years of sexism and struggle to get to where we are today. The struggle was even more difficult for women of color because not only were they dealing with issues of sexism, but also racism. Many movements have helped black women during the past centuries to overcome sexism, racism, and adversities that were set against them. History tells us that movements such as the Feminist Movement helped empower all women, but this fact is not totally true. In this paper, I will discuss feminism, the movements, and its "minimal" affects on black women.
Even though the behavior of African-American women activists like these did not always fit contemporary notions of proper female behavior, they still fit comfortably into that established tradition of African-American female assertiveness that came straight out of slavery. Yet, what was considered acceptable and normal in the black community was not necessarily acceptable to white American
African American women had a huge impact on impact of society. For many years African American women fought for their equal rights. These women fought for every woman to have a voice to prove that a woman can do anything a man can. They started by protesting for women's rights. They wore and held high in the sky to prove they mean it. We have women battling through breast cancer and they are not giving up. As long as you fight and never give up you shall reach your goal.
The issue necessitating this empirical study I the low representation of African American women in Philadelphia in positions of power and leadership. Within the private and public sector of organizations within city agencies and businesses, there is still little representation of women-owned or led agencies within the City even though special consideration is given to women-led organizations. There are two African