Women in the Movement  


Perhaps one of the most neglected aspects in studies of the civil rights movement is the role women played. The reality of the situation, however, is that women formed the backbone of the movement. Individuals like Victoria Gray Jackson, Fannie Lou Hamer, Bea Jenkins, Rosa Parks, Gladys Noel Bates, Angela Davis, Kathleen Cleaver, Viola Liuzzo, Hattye Gatson, Ella Baker, and a host of others risked their lives so that younger generations might enjoy the benefits of democracy. While many people simply assume that women activists did all the typing, filing, and cleaning for the "real leaders," the truth is that without the courage and insight provided by women, other participants might have remained on the sidelines, content with the way things were. Engaging in activities like voter registration drives, boycotts, protest marches, sit-ins, and the like, female activists were living proof that men had no monopoly on the ability to make substantial change in local, state, and national politics.