by Carlos Zaragoza, 11th grade
According to a study published with the title “Civil Rights Leaders Who Changed History”, the answer is not women.
Although men and women possess the qualities that enable them to work effectively as leaders, such as embracing confidence, courage, optimism, and bravery, women were not recognized for leading masses and meeting demand obligations due to gender discrimination and sexism. Although black women played a huge role in the civil rights movement by becoming female panthers, activist and participatory members of the black community they received little recognition for such bravery.
The civil rights movement was a movement for racial equality. However, I believe the movement was gendered by the mobilization of resources, organizations and liberty of voice. Black female activist were denied the opportunity to participate directly in the marches, due to the U.S gender construction of that decade. Society expected women to be housewives and domestic secretaries who needed to be dominated by black men for a liberation in the movement to occur.
As if, women did not give up!
Dorothy Height, president of the National Council of Negro Women, leader of enrichment meetings, and feminist who has been titled by Barack Obama as the “Godmother of the civil rights movement” made one of the biggest impacts as a black woman during the civil rights struggle.
Daisy Bates, leader of the Little Rock Nine, a president of the NAACP, and activist who aspired to end segregation in Arkansas, advocated for gender-equality and race-equality throughout her years.
It’s evident that women had pivotal roles during the Civil Rights Movement. Their participation involved activism, leadership and courage. However female activist were accused of emasculating black man. “Manhood” was far more important for a past society that only thrived with men.
Although barriers such as gender discrimination, sexism, racism prevented women to seek their own form of justice, we have found great hope with our future generation! Because our present society thrives with both women and men!