Race Gender Relations
THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT is best understood as part of a continuous history of resistance by both Black men and Black women. There have been untold numbers of Black heroes and heroines who have risked and given their lives for the freedom of their people. This struggle for survival is at the heart of Black consciousness. Yet the accepted historical record filters out the accomplishments of Black women with accounts of women's history as largely about White women. Even in the case of the civil rights movement, White women's participation has received more attention than that of Black women, despite the fact that the latter participated in greater numbers. 1 On the other hand, Black history has generally focused on the efforts and accomplishments of Black men. 2 Moreover, throughout history, Black women have had to divide their loyalties between the causes of women and that of their race, the latter often taking precedence. For this reason, issues of gender could never be divorced from issues of racism and racial oppression. Therefore, any story of Black women's movement participation must also be a story of the Black struggle, which includes the sons, husbands, and fathers of these courageous women.
Most of the women civil rights activists interviewed, in telling me their stories, included the courageous acts of men and women, and did not perceive their actions