And you will be put out if you do it.’” Lonnie King was an activist with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in Atlanta.He remembers meeting other students from the Nashville movement when SNCC became a nationwide organization in 1960. He reflects on the sacrifices that women college students at Howard made in joining the struggle, and remarks on the constraints they faced after doing so: “It is only in retrospect that I recognize the extraordinary price that our sisters paid for being as devoted to the struggle as they were.Of course, ever since then we've had women in key roles--not in the majority, but in the very key roles which were responsible for the evolution of the NAACP.
Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons was a member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and one of three women chosen to be a field director for the Mississippi Freedom Summer Project.
She discusses the difficulties she faced in this position and notes that gender equality was not a given, but had to be fought for: “I often had to struggle around issues related to a woman being a project director. We had to fight to get a good car because the guys would get first dibs on everything, and that wasn’t fair…it was a struggle to be taken seriously by the leadership, as well as by your male colleagues.” She continues, “One of the things that we often don’t talk about, but there was sexual harassment that often happened toward the women.
And if somebody had XYZ skills, and somebody only had ABC, we had to come together.
We used to joke about that, but in reality, the women, you know, were strong.
He recalls his surprise that Diane Nash was not elected to be the representative from Nashville, and echoes Simmons’ criticisms about male privilege and domination: “Diane Nash, in my view, the Nashville movement and by that I mean this: Others were there, but they weren’t Diane Nash. It meant that they weren’t into homecoming queen kind of activities.
Diane was articulate; she was a beautiful woman, very photogenic, very committed. I never did understand how, except maybe for sexism, I never understood how [James] Bevel, Marion [Barry], and for that matter, John Lewis, kind of leapfrogged over her. That they weren’t into the accepted behavior of a Howard lady.
I personally was molested by my pre-school teacher, his wife and their son. I ask you, how can we survive if we're our own biggest enemy? I am urging everyone to become a mentor to an abused child.
If that won't shock you, he was the minister of our local church. We'd like to think that they are scary looking and easy to recognize, but the harsh reality is that these people can range from our family members and spouses, to our friends and neighbors. It is our duty as adults to guide and protect our youth from the horrible crimes against children. At the first sight of an abusive situation we shoul...
Many women experienced gender discrimination and sexual harassment within the movement and later turned towards the feminist movement in the 1970s.
The Civil Rights History Project interviews with participants in the struggle include both expressions of pride in women’s achievements and also candid assessments about the difficulties they faced within the movement.