Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Many Women Attended March: `These Men Always Need Us' Civil Rights Pioneer Rosa Parks, 82, among Prominent Speakers

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Many Women Attended March: `These Men Always Need Us' Civil Rights Pioneer Rosa Parks, 82, among Prominent Speakers

Article excerpt

There were a lot of women at the Million Man March.

Besides watching and listening, they ran medical stations and voter registration booths, supplied food and drink and offered support. They also spoke from the podium.

Among the speakers were Rosa Parks, 82, who helped spark the civil rights movement when she refused to give up her bus seat in Montgomery, Ala., in 1955, and Dorothy Height, who at 84 continues to lead the National Conference of Negro Women, which she joined in 1937.

Parks told the gathering that she was there to "honor my late husband, Raymond Parks, other freedom fighters and men of good will who could not be here. Raymond, or Parks as I called him, would have stood proud and tall to see so many men committing themselves to better lives for themselves and their families."

Height, recalling the 1963 March on Washington, remembered that women didn't speak at all to that gathering, although Mahalia Jackson sang. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other black men called on the nation to overcome the legal barriers keeping blacks out of the American mainstream.

"There was a feeling of righteous indignation then," Height said. "That righteous indignation is not here today. . . . The civil rights gains we thought were ours seem more tentative. Young men and women have rights, but they do not have the economic opportunity. The time has come for those who have made it to help those on the bottom who haven't."

Betty Shabazz, widow of slain Black Muslim leader Malcolm X, told the gathering that, as a woman and single parent, she welcomed the men's march, with its commitment to family and "to calm these mean streets in America." `We Came To Support'

Pockets of women dotted the Mall and Capitol lawn. Some were with fathers, husbands, boyfriends, brothers and cousins. …

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