Conflict: African American Women and the New Dilemma of Race and Gender Politics

By Cindy Hooper | Go to book overview

Chapter 4
Gender Bias within the
Civil Rights Movement

Women hold up half the world—in the case of the civil rights movement, it’s
probably three-quarters of the world
.

—Julian Bond

As with the women’s suffrage movement, African American women would play a significant role in another political movement for equal rights in America. The civil rights movement focused on ending racial segregation in American life, suppressing voter disenfranchisement and ending racially motivated violence. It was a movement that was defined by the struggle to end what was viewed as second class citizenship for African Americans in the United States. The civil rights movement spanned several decades, beginning primarily in the 1950s. The beginnings of the civil rights movement included Rosa Parks’s iconic refusal to move to the back of a Montgomery Alabama city bus, hence igniting the Montgomery bus boycott, the first significant event of the American civil rights movement.

One of the culminating events during the civil rights movement was the 1963 March on Washington. This march was the result of a coalition of civil rights organizations of the time including the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NCAA), the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters (BSCP), and the National Urban League (NUL). The focus of the march was the passage of civil rights legislation, the desegregation of public schools, and the eradication of racial discrimination. The platform of the 1963 March

-27-

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