These women didn’t stand on ceremony; they accepted the risks of activism and fought for worlds where others might have freedoms that they themselves would never enjoy.
During the civil-rights movement, African Americans led the fight to free this country from the vestiges of slavery and Jim Crow. Though they all too often were—and remain—invisible to the public, African-American women played significant roles at all levels of the movement. Some led causes and organizations, such as Dorothy Height, the president of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and the National Council of Negro Women. Others did not have titles or official roles, including Georgia Gilmore, one of the cooks who organized to raise money to support the Montgomery bus boycott. These women didn’t stand on ceremony; they simply did the work that needed to be done, without expectation of personal gain. Often unnamed or underappreciated, African-American women helped to construct the cultural architecture for change.
African-American women leaders and activists addressed the most important and volatile issues of the times—segregation, lynching, education, and economic justice. Even before the civil-rights movement began, the crusading anti-lynching journalist Ida B. Wells-Barnett tried to protect black women from sexual violence and the antebellum (and later Jim Crow) tradition that allowed white men to abuse and rape black women at will and without punishment. Rosa Parks, whose courageous refusal to surrender her seat to a white man sparked the Montgomery bus boycott, followed in Wells-Barnett’s footsteps. Read more here: https://www.thenation.com/article/the-selfless-servant-leadership-of-the-african-american-women-of-the-civil-rights-movement/