“I heard Charles Black say [something] on a panel that stayed with me. He said that ‘the civil rights movement … the African American freedom struggle was long, wide and deep,’ remembers Vicki L. Crawford, Ph.D., director of the Morehouse College Martin Luther King, Jr. Collection of archives during a recent Literary Salon and dinner held at the academic institution’s Leadership Center.
The topic of this discussion was Crawford’s book Women in the Civil Rights Movement: Trailblazers & Torchbearers 1941-1965, which she co-authored with Jacqueline Anne Rouse and Barbara Woods.
“I have spent the last 20 years of my life learning more and documenting the role of women in the movement. [The] book is a result of a conference held at the King Center in 1989, in collaboration with Georgia State University. It was the first major conference that brought together activists and scholars who were interested in the role of women in the civil rights movement,” Crawford says.
The book turned into a passion project for Crawford who’s had the “rare opportunity” to be in the presence of the unsung heroines of the movement.
“I was very fortunate to sit at the table of Mrs. Christine King Farris, with Mrs. Coretta Scott King, present for about five hours one Sunday evening. It was a rare opportunity. The essays in the books are selections from papers at the conference.”
Crawford treated the audience of young scholars, faculty members, including the host and associate dean of the Office of Housing and Residential Life Maurice Washington and parents from the Jack and Jill of America Inc. Atlanta Chapter to the award-winning documentary Standing on My Sisters’ Shoulders, a firsthand account of the struggles of women in Mississippi who risked their lives in the fight for Civil Rights and emerged as heroines. Additionally, attendees received a personalized copy of Women in the Civil Rights Movement. –yvette caslin