FEMINIST FRIDAY

With Monday being the celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr/’s life and accomplishments, I decided to go back and refresh my memory about his wife and co-worker in the struggle for racial equality CORETTA SCOTT KING.

What follows is an excerpt from her obituary in the New York Times:

“She was a woman born to struggle,” Mr. Young said, “and she has struggled and she has overcome.”

Mrs. King rose from rural poverty in Heiberger, Ala., to become an international symbol of the civil rights revolution of the 1960’s and a tireless advocate for social and political issues ranging from women’s rights to the struggle against apartheid in South Africa that followed in its wake.

She was studying music at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston in 1952 when she met a young graduate student in philosophy, who on their first date told her: “The four things that I look for in a wife are character, personality, intelligence and beauty. And you have them all.” A year later, she and Dr. King, then a young minister from a prominent Atlanta family, were married, beginning a remarkable partnership that ended with his assassination in Memphis on April 4, 1968.

Mrs. King did not hesitate to pick up his mantle, marching, even before her husband was buried, at the head of the striking garbage workers that he had gone to Memphis to champion. She then went on to lead the effort for a national holiday in his honor and to found the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Non-Violent Social Change in Atlanta, dedicated both to scholarship and to activism, where Dr. King is buried.

Mrs. King has been seen as an inspirational figure around the world, a tireless advocate for her husband’s causes and a woman of enormous spiritual depth who came to personify the ideals Dr. King fought for.

“She’ll be remembered as a strong woman whose grace and dignity held up the image of her husband as a man of peace, of racial justice, of fairness,” said the Rev. Joseph Lowery, who helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference with Dr. King and then served as its president for 20 years.

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FEMINIST FRIDAY – DAISY BATES

TODAY I WOULD LIKE TO INTRODUCE YOU TO DAISY BATES A HEROINE OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT.

Daisy Bates
Publisher, Civil Rights Activist, Journalist (1914–1999)

Civil rights activist, writer, publisher, Daisy Lee Gatson was born on November 11, 1914, in Huttig, Arkansas. As a teenager, Bates met Lucious Christopher “L.C.” Bates, an insurance agent and an experienced journalist. The couple married in the early 1940s and moved to Little Rock, Arkansas. Together they operated the Arkansas State Press, a weekly African-American newspaper. The paper championed civil rights, and Bates joined in the civil rights movement. She became the president of Arkansas chapter of the National Association for Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1952.

As the head of the NAACP’s Arkansas branch, Bates played a crucial role in the fight against segregation. In 1954, the United States Supreme Court declared that school segregation was unconstitutional in the landmark case known as Brown v. Board of Education. Even after that ruling, African American students who tried to enroll in white schools were turned away in Arkansas. Bates and her husband chronicled this battle in their newspaper.

Little Rock Nine

In 1957, she helped nine African American students to become the first to attend the all-white Central High School in Little Rock, who became known as the Little Rock Nine. The group first tried to go to the school on September 4. A group of angry whites jeered at them as they arrived. The governor, Orval Faubus, opposed school integration and sent members of the Arkansas National Guard to prevent the students from entering the school. Despite the enormous amount of animosity they faced from white residents of the city, the students were undeterred from their mission to attend the school.

Bates’ home became the headquarters for the battle to integrate Central High School and she served as a personal advocate and supporter to the students. President Dwight D. Eisenhower became involved in the conflict and ordered federal troops to go to Little Rock to uphold the law and protect the Little Rock Nine. With U.S. soldiers providing security, the Little Rock Nine left from Bates’ home for their first day of school on September 25, 1957. Bates remained close with the Little Rock Nine, offering her continuing support as they faced harassment and intimidation from people against desegregation.

Later Activism

Bates also received numerous threats, but this would not stop her from her work. The newspaper she and her husband worked on was closed in 1959 because of low adverting revenue. Three years later, her account of the school integration battle was published as The Long Shadow of Little Rock. For a few years, she moved to Washington, D.C., to work for the Democratic National Committee and on antipoverty projects for the Lyndon B. Johnson’s administration.

Bates returned to Little Rock in the mid-1960s and spent much of her time on community programs. After the death of her husband in 1980, she also resuscitated their newspaper for several years, from 1984 to 1988. Bates died on November 4, 1999, Little Rock, Arkansas.

For her career in social activism, Bates received numerous awards, including an honorary degree from the University of Arkansas. She is best remembered as a guiding force behind one of the biggest battles for school integration in the nation’s history.

The Biography.com website

http://www.biography.com/people/daisy-bates-206524

A&E Television Networks

DAISY2

DAISY BATES YOU ROCK!

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