Ms. Nash was a strategist and leader in the Civil Rights movement, particularly among students. She organized the first successful campaign to integrate lunch counters (in Nashville, TN) and the Freedom Riders, who de-segregated interstate buses. She co-founded the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and helped found the Alabama Voting Rights Project. She helped organize the Selma Voting Rights Movement, which led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Later, she became active in the peace movement. Ms. Nash was arrested many times for her activism. In 1962, while four months pregnant, she was threatened with a two year jail sentence for contributing to the delinquency of minors – by encouraging them to become Freedom Riders. She wrote, "I believe that if I go to jail now, it may help hasten that day when my child and all children will be free — not only on the day of their birth but for all their lives."
Dr. Hooke was the first African-American woman to serve in the Coast Guard in active duty, and one of the first African-American women to receive a PhD at the University of Rochester. She is the oldest survivor of the 1921 Tulsa Massacre, in which 300 African-American people were killed and 10,000 were left homeless when a group of white people attacked the Greenwood District (known as "Black Wall Street") and burned an area of 35 city blocks to the ground. In 1997, Dr. Hooker worked with other survivors to found the Tulsa Race Riot Commission, which recommended reparations to survivors and their descendants. Dr. Hooke served as director of the Kennedy Child Study Center for 22 years, and is professor emerita at Fordham University. She was a practicing psychologist until age 87. Dr. Hooke turned 100 in February 2015.
Ms. Baker grew up listening to her grandmother's stories of slave revolts (her grandmother was once a slave). She went on to make a life of civil rights activism, first with the NAACP, then the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) was formed at a meeting Ms. Baker organized. She became a mentor to the fledgeling organization, and helped organize SNCC's 1961 freedom rides. In 1964, Ms. Baker helped form the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (the Mississippi Democratic Party was all-white). Ms. Baker worked to support and promote gender equality and local, grass-roots organizing. She inspired Sweet Honey in the Rock's "Ella's Song," which we'll hear on the March 16th edition of The Nightfly.
Born in Selma, AL, Ms. Bland began her career as a civil rights activist at age 8. She was 11 when she marched on "Bloody Sunday," and again on "Turnaround Tuesday." She was the youngest person jailed in a civil rights demonstration. Ms. Bland is the cofounder and former director of the National Voting Rights Museum in Selma. (Bill Ganzel photo)
Born in 1911, Amelia Boynton Robinson campaigned for women's suffrage when she was a young girl. In 1964, she became the first Black woman from Alabama to run for Congress in Alabama, and the first woman to run for office as a Democrat in Alabama. She was one of the organizers of the Selma to Montgomery march. She was beaten unconscious while attempting to cross the Edmund Pettus bridge on "Bloody Sunday," March 7, 1965. She is pictured below, 50 years ago, and today (in wheelchair, holding President Obama's hand).
At 15, Lynda Blackmon Lowery was the youngest person to finish the Selma to Montgomery march in 1965. On March 7, "Bloody Sunday," the then-14 year old was beaten so badly she needed 7 stitches above her right eye and 28 in the back of her head. By age 15, she had been jailed 9 times while demonstrating for civil rights. Ms. Lowery has recently written a memoir, "Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom."
On March 2, 1955, 15-year-old Claudette Colvin refused to give up her seat to a white woman on a Montgomery, Alabama bus. Rosa Parks did the same thing- nine months later. Colvin was inspired to act by her study of Black history and the U.S. Constitution. Thanks to the Zinn Education Project for introducing us to this civil rights pioneer. https://www.facebook.com/ZinnEducationProject
Sanguine Fromage, WERU radio personality since 2005, current host of UpFront Soul, former host of The Nightfly, Off the Wall, Enjoy Yourself, and Sound Travels.
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