Women in the Movement

Resources and documents relating to key women within the civil rights movement who challenged both Jim Crow and, on occasions, the sexism of their male allies within the movement.

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Fannie Lou Hamer addresses the Democratic Party Convention (1964)
Fannie Lou Hamer addresses the Democratic Party Convention (1964)
Hamer was a tough-as-nails activist from Mississippi who had worked in the state to achieve the vote and challenge the dominance of the racist state Democratic Party. In speaking at the Democratic National Convention (where many tried to stop her) she exposed the pragmatism/hypocrisy of the national party that backed both civil rights legislation on the one hand, while trying to maintain support from Southern conservatives on the other. A key moment in the clash between the idea of freedom and party politics.
Pauli Murray condemns 'Jane Crow' (November 1963)
Pauli Murray condemns 'Jane Crow' (November 1963)
A brief speech in Murray sets out the double burden of racism and sexism facing African-American women.
Pauli Murray memo on women's rights & civil rights (1964)
Pauli Murray memo on women's rights & civil rights (1964)
Pauli Murray was a lawyer and the head of the National Council of Negro Women. Here, during the passage of the Civil Rights Act, she explains the relationship between women's rights and civil rights.
Sex and Caste: A Kind of Memo (1965)
Sex and Caste: A Kind of Memo (1965)
In this famous document, 2 young white SNCC activists compare and contrast the politics of gender and race.
Ella Baker Oral History interview (4th September, 1974)
Ella Baker Oral History interview (4th September, 1974)
Ella Baker was a key organiser within the civil rights movement. An organiser for the NAACP in the 1940s, she helped King organise SCLC in the 2950s, before helping to establish SNCC in 1960. This comprehensive interview covers much of Baker's career in great detail. The transcript is 100 pages, the audio lasts over 3 hours. Those seeking highlights are best advised to use the shortcuts below the description.
Ella Baker Oral History interview (19th April, 1977)
Ella Baker Oral History interview (19th April, 1977)
A further three-hour interview with Baker (with shortcuts below). This one examines Baker's family history and considers her role in NAACP, SCLC & SNCC.
The Rebellious Life of Miss Rosa Parks
The Rebellious Life of Miss Rosa Parks
Companion to the new Jeanne Theoharris biography of Parks. Contains some fantastic primary source material as it tells the story of Parks' life in Montgomery and beyond.
NPR: Before Rosa Parks, There Was Claudette Colvin
NPR: Before Rosa Parks, There Was Claudette Colvin
Radio interview with Claudette Colvin explaining why, despite being thrown off a bus in Montgomery for defying segregation a few months prior to Rosa Parks (aged only 15), her case was not the focus of the campaign.