When I think about the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s, the first person that comes to mind is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
, whom for me and many others was the embodiment of the Civil Rights Movement. My knowledge of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950’s and 1960’s has been limited to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. I don’t think that this limitation has anything to do with information not being documented, but for the fact that society tends to place an individual, particularly a male, upon a platform and focus upon that one person as being the significant leader of the cause.
I do not necessarily disagree with this approach, but unfortunately, many people become excluded and unrecognized for their contributions for the same cause. Just as many have the conception that the Civil Rights Movement in itself began in the 1960’s. On the contrary, that was far from the beginning of the fight for freedom by African Americans. The fight for freedom and equality began when the first slaves were shipped to this country, there was always a will to be free and a struggle to obtain that freedom.
For the purposes of this discussion, I will focus on another group that may have been somewhat overlooked within the Civil Rights Movement. The Women in the Civil Rights Movement Essay of the 1950’s and 1960’s, who were not only contributors, but supported, worked extremely hard, and dedicated their lives in the fight for equal rights in this country. Without the women that were involved in Civil Rights Movement, Dr. King would not have been able to accomplish as much as he did.
African American women played a more significant leadership role in the Civil Rights Movement than what chroniclers typically acknowledge. (Lisa Crumrine Klionsky, News UC Davis). Besides the more visible black male leaders of the Civil Rights Movement, both black and white women played important and key roles in the struggle for racial equality. Women’s experiences in the Civil Rights Movement can tell us a lot about the lives of ordinary and extraordinary women and their ability to access and be denied power in a movement for black liberation that was based on the idea of equality. There was an inherent contradiction within the movement for although many women were doing much of the organizing work; they still remained largely invisible while the men shone in the spotlight. Women of all different social classes and racial backgrounds participated in many different capacities throughout the Civil Rights Movement.
Women that were involved in the movement could be found working behind the scenes or in the trenches along side the men helping to bring about social change throughout the movement. They could be found putting their bodies on the line in protest at segregated lunch counters, on buses for Freedom Rides travelling throughout the segregated South, as well as working door-to-door on voter registration drives throughout the South. (University of Florida: The Role of Women in the Civil Rights Movement). Traditionally, women have played a role in the growth and development of children, and children are still strongly influenced by women, but, little emphasis has been placed on where, when, why and how women have assisted in shaping this country. Based on Charles Payne study of the Civil Rights Movement, women involved in the Civil Rights Movement canvassed more than men, showed up more often at mass meetings and demonstrations, and frequently attempted to register to vote.
(Crawford, Rouse and Woods, p. 2). Because sexism and racism intersected, women involved in the Civil Rights Movement had to not only have the strength to stand up for the rights of African-Americans, but also to be able to stand up to the sometimes one-sided views of the men involved in the movement. There are several women who were leaders, who had the strength and courage to fight and advocate for freedom and equality. It is true that women were organizers throughout the movement, whether they were working with the male public and private leaders of the movement or men at the grassroots level.
At some point, they all faced the opposition and ridicule of .