Dream and Reality: The Modern Black Struggle for Freedom and Equality

By Jeannine Swift | Go to book overview

comfortable than those with less expressive, often racist, dominant white males.( 39)


WOMEN'S ROLE AS MASS PARTICIPANTS

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)


CONCLUSION

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.


NOTES

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.

1.
See Sara Evans, Personal Politics ( New York: Alfred Knopf, 1979); and Mary King, Freedom Song: A Personal Story of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement ( New York: Morrow, 1987).
2.
Some of these ideas were presented in an earlier paper, "The Intersection of Race and Gender in the Civil Rights Movement," at the 55th Annual Meeting of the Eastern Sociological Society, March 16, 1985 in Philadelphia.
3.
Septima Clark, Ready from Within: Septima Clark and the Civil Rights Movement, edited and with an introduction by Cynthia Stokes Brown ( California: Wild Trees Press, 1986); Jo Ann Gibson Robinson, The Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Women Who Started It, ed. with a foreward by David J. Garrow ( Knoxville, TN: University of Tennessee Press, 1987); and Mary King, Freedom Song ( New York: William Morrow & Co., 1987).
4.
Clark, Ready from Within, 19.

-26-

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Dream and Reality: The Modern Black Struggle for Freedom and Equality
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Recent Titles in Contributions in Afro-American and African Studies ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • 1: A Tale of Two and One-Half Decades 3
  • Notes 11
  • 2: A Tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. 13
  • 3: Rediscovering Women Leaders of the Civil Rights Movement 19
  • Conclusion 26
  • Notes 26
  • 4: The Civil Rights Movement: Upheaval and Organization 29
  • Conclusion 39
  • Notes 40
  • 5: Blacks and the New South: Civil Rights in the Eighties 43
  • Introduction 43
  • Conclusion 49
  • Notes 50
  • 6: Improving the Plight of Black, Inner-City Youths: Whose Responsibility? 53
  • Notes 65
  • 7: Racial Attitudes of Black and White Adolescents Before and After Desegregation 69
  • Conclusion 73
  • Notes 74
  • 8: The Ills of Integration: A Black Perspective 77
  • Introduction 77
  • Notes 84
  • 9: A Dream Deferred for Quality Education: Civil Rights Legislation and De Facto Segregation in the Cincinnati Schools, 1954-1986 87
  • Notes 91
  • 10: The Housing Conditions of Black Americans: 1960s-1980s 93
  • Conclusion 98
  • Notes 105
  • 11: The Collapse of the Employment Policy Agenda: 1964-1981 107
  • Introduction 107
  • Conclusion 120
  • Notes 121
  • 12: Black Workers at Risk: Jobs for Life or Death 125
  • Conclusion 131
  • Notes 133
  • 13: "Where Do We Go from Here" 137
  • Notes 144
  • Index 147
  • About the Editor and the Contributors 153
  • Hofstra University's Cultural and Intercultural Studies Coordinating Editor, Alexej Ugrinsky 157
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