4 Female Civil Rights Leaders You Didn’t Learn About in School

Most people know who Rosa Parks is — here are four other women in the Civil Rights Movement whose names you should know.


Express Newspapers/L360/Getty ImagesYoung women at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, Washington DC, August 28, 1963.

Many forget that when Rosa Parks famously refused to give up her seat in a Montgomery, Alabama bus, this was not the first time she had done so. People likewise forget that she was not the first African-American woman to stand her ground in a public transportation setting — and that Parks was but one star among a constellation of African-American women who helped lead the movement for equality and the end of segregation in the 1950s, 1960s and beyond.

Indeed, several of her contemporaries were, like Parks, working women whose advocacy and activism were simply part of their day-to-day lives. This, in a way, makes them and their achievements all the more extraordinary.

Four of these female civil rights leaders are profiled here, to celebrate not just Parks’ legacy, but the collective courage of the women of her generation:

Abby Norman
Abby Norman is a writer based in New England, currently writing a memoir for Nation Books. Her work has been featured on The Rumpus, The Independent, Cosmopolitan, Medium, Seventeen, Romper, Bustle, and Quartz.
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