Ambitious campaigns affecting large groups of the population are often successful due to the participation of many people, who unite under a common cause. The goals of such movements generally represent the combination of the leader’s ideas. However, the impact of some contributors is occasionally forgotten. The role and achievements of women in the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s seem to be unremembered because, according to Ling and Monteith (2014), they rarely were holding key positions in the movement structure being mostly field-workers, which is why it is vital to review them once more.
Women in the movements of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s
Female activists appear to have contributed considerably to the common cause of restoring the rights of the underprivileged black population. One of the most cherished leaders of the Civil Rights movement was Ella Baker. Among other activities, she took part in organizing the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), being practically their leader and source of inspiration. She became the role model for many people inspiring the desire to act and belief in self-empowerment in men and women alike (Ling & Monteith, 2014).
Another example of women’s important role in promoting ideas of the Civil Rights movement is the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW), the leaders of which made and still make an enormous contribution to the popularization of black women’s needs (Dubois & Dumenil, 2016). Pauli Murray, for example, drew attention to inequality, segregation, and black youth problems by writing scientific articles (Gore, 2012). Additionally, she was a founding member of the National Organization for Women (NOW). Together with Dorothy Kenyon, she won the case in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which has equalized women’s rights to serve on juries. One of the main ideas of all the women work in the framework of the Civil Rights movement was to raise awareness of the topic of women’s rights as it was rarely spoken of before and make politicians actualize these rights in bills and laws so that the women could feel protected by the system. Today it could be argued that these tasks were mostly accomplished.
Personal Life and Women Activism
The women who are wholeheartedly committed to the cause of activism would have problems with personal life as the task is very time-demanding. Family and relationship also need considerable investments of time, so it is doubtful that they could have both at the same time. Both Baker and Murray had trouble creating a family. Instead, they left a vast legacy of writings and achievements and became legends in the field of women’s rights defenders.
As far as I am concerned, enrollment in the university has changed my life. A great number of possibilities here and the atmosphere of infinite knowledge within reach make me feel that if work hard enough I could change the world with what I do. I imagine that women, who participated in the Civil Rights movement, felt the same as they met people who shared their ideas and desire to make a difference laying the foundation of women’s rights activism.
The inspiring example of the women, who made a great contribution to the Civil Rights movement, needs to be remembered and used to promote ideas of equal rights in the present time and the future. The achievements of the women who were one of the 21-century frontiers and took the missionary role of promoting gender equality seem to have influenced the life of the present generation of activists as they continue their work. Despite the notion that such commitment to the cause may affect personal happiness, this is a sacrifice, which needs to be made to change millions of women’s lives for the better.
Dubois, E.C., & Dumenil, L. (2016). Through women’s eyes (4th ed.). Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin’s.
Gore, D. F. (2012). Radicalism at the crossroads: African American women activists in the Cold War. New York, NY: NYU Press.
Ling, P. J., & Monteith, S. (Eds.). (2014). Gender in the Civil Rights Movement. London, UK: Routledge.