Women's Role In The Civil Rights Movement

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As the 1960’s dawned in the United States and gave rise to the second wave of feminism, many activists, as well as society as a whole, began to explore the ways that women were being restricted from possible opportunities. This included opportunities for social advancement, employment, and independence that were investigated by the President’s Commission on the Status of Women and later various state commissions. Meanwhile, the African-American people of the country had already identified ways that society was impeding on their freedom and fought back using various forms of protest as well as organizations like the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Mary King was a young woman who joined the staff of the Student …show more content…
Their message was criticized when delivered, but, in 1965, after the passage of the Equal Pay Act and the Civil Rights Act, they decided to coauthor a letter to forty women across various social movements. This document, “A Kind of Memo from Casey Hayden and Mary King to a Number of Other Women in the Peace and Freedom Movements,” appealed for comradery amongst the women they wrote to for support for women across their movements. In their memo, King and Hayden asserted to their contemporaries that equality for women deserved a place within the Civil Rights movement because the treatment of women and African Americans was comparable, self-perceptions and institutions were beginning to change, conversations about women’s issues were being suppressed, and the problems faced by women were also the problems of society. The integration of women’s rights, specifically as leaders, in the Civil Rights movement was restrained, but King and Hayden argued that organizations like SNCC ought to …show more content…
This deficit was visible throughout personal relationships, the media, and society at large. It was evidenced by the treatment of women across society, even within freedom movements like the Civil Rights movement. King and Hayden seek to find how to “build a society which would see basic human problems (which are now seen as private troubles), as public problems…” (King and Hayden 1965). To them, the problems of women were basic human problems and ought to be treated as such and addressed by society. Half a century later, this struggle still exists as women in society still encounter societally imposed limitations, sometimes as glass ceilings, that attempt to suppress them in domains like reproductive rights or workplace equality reinforcing the memo’s sentiment that there must be a place for women’s voices to be

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