standing up for their rights

October 1, 2010 in 1950s-1960s, Social history

Though Rosa Parks is the most famous for resisting Jim Crow, and segregated transportation facilities, she was not the first. Woman with gumption had paved the path for Parks starting almost a hundred years before her famous resistance.
Josephine DeCuir was a wealthy Louisiana plantation owner who bought a ticket on the steam boat Governor Allen was denied her right to a cabin and was forced to eat her meals after the white passengers were done (Dixson 99). In 1872 she sued the steamship company for 75,000 dollars. Decuir won her case at a district court who was going to give her 1,000 dollars but this never happened for the Supreme Court overturned the decision. (Robnett, 53).
Ida B. Wells after sitting in all white train car was asked to move to the smoking car the only one available for blacks. She refused and resisted his efforts to drag her to the black train car. As he tried to drag her Wells locked her foot under the seat and bit the conductors hand. Eventually it took three men to move her to the black train car. Wells sued the railroad and won but yet again the supreme court halted justice and failed to protect African American right and overturned the division.(Robnett, 54)
Mrs. Burks was in a traffic accident that involved a white woman in 1946. Mrs. Burk was accused of cursed the white woman. Due to this accusation resulted in Mrs. Burks being arrested. The woman whom she had supposedly cursed exonerated her and she was released. As a result of this experience she created Woman’s political council; a group dedicated to teaching people of their right and encouraging them to register to vote.(Robnett, 55)

Robnett, Belinda. “How long? How Long?” Oxford University Press. New York. 1997
Dixson, Adrienne and Roussaeu, Celia, “Critical Race Theory in Education” 2006. Taylor and Francis Group L.I.C.

3 responses to standing up for their rights

  1. Thanks for finding and pointing out this famous book by Belinda Robnett! It was and continues to be so important to understanding the history of women in the civil rights era. I really liked her chapter on “rethinking social movement theory” and talking about how men’s access to and use of leadership roles differed from women’s. She called women who, at the grassroots level as followers or organizers, were “bridge leaders” – they helped create and foster ties within the communities that allowed the civil rights movement to work and transform how people lived, thought and imagined themselves. Robnett doesn’t discuss any Kentucky women (that I could find) so, I hope this course helps you find and tell the story of “bridge leaders” here in Kentucky too.

  2. This book is extremely valuable and I love how it broke down the roles played by people in the civil rights movement. Males being the ones in the eyes of the public in the leadership roles. People like Malcolm X and M. L. King Jr. who had access to the nations largest stages to spread the message of the C.R.M. While women played the roles of “bridge leaders” and were responsible for bring the community together and connecting local communities with the larger nation wide movement that was happening by the leaders of the movement. I also find it disturbiong that the two women, Ida B. Wells and Mrs. Burks won both of their trials, but then had them both overturned on a Supreme Court level. This is institutional racism at the highest level, but acts like this help spread the message aroung the country more.

  3. It is important to acknowledge women that are not very common that have paved the way for people such as Rosa Parks to fight for their Civil Rights. It is so crazy how after the Civil Right amendments were passed the government still enacted ways to deny African Americans of their rights. It is very important to know understand the impact of these people and what they did for Civil Rights.

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