comfortable than those with less expressive, often racist, dominant white males.( 39)
We have only begun to acknowledge the leadership roles of certain key women in the Civil Rights Movement. Many more were known leaders in their local communities. Although some lip service has been given to the participation of women in mass events, the true extent of their contribution has yet to be assessed. The cover illustration of Aldon Morris' book on the origins of the Civil Rights Movement is undoubtedly intended to convey a message. He shows active participants at a mass meeting in Albany, Georgia, "waving papers they have signed saying they will go to jail the next day for marching on city hall to protest segregation." Most of them are women.( 40)
This paper has addressed the present and continuing reconstruction of the history of the Civil Rights Movement, in which past omissions or distortions are being corrected. Women's history, as black history, has suffered the fate of being overlooked and downgraded. Since the advent of the modern feminist movement, stimulated as it was by the Civil Rights movement, new information is coming to light on the role of women leaders at certain crucial phases of the black freedom struggle. Black and white women in the movement welcomed and encouraged black male leadership as it became available--and the men's names were the ones that became known. Regarding mass participation, it is sometimes recognized, but hardly ever emphasized that the mass mobilization of black communities in the South was heavily dependent on women. Hopefully, others will agree that the unveiling of women's roles in the movement is a sign of progress, both for historical accuracy and for the scientific understanding of gender in social movements. I believe we can look forward to the exciting rediscovery of many more forgotten heroines and of women's lost movement history.
I would like to thank Guida West and Helen M. Hacker for their critical comments, and the Douglas Fellows Opportunity Fund of Rutgers University for financial support.