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Women You Didn't Know Were Heavily Included in the Civil Rights Movement

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When you think of the Civil Rights Movement, the general education system had us remember Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks. While these people are widely known for a reason, the Civil Rights Movement was huge for its time, much bigger than two people. While our society knows that a plethora of protests took place, therefore, a mass amount of people partaking in history, there had to be leaders to help others get there. The names of these leaders were Aurelia Browder, Mary Louise Smith Ware, Jo Ann Gibson Robinson, Claudette Colvin, and Susie McDonald. These were all black women who either refused to give up the bus seat to a white person or was an activist for their trial. 

Let's start with Aurelia Browder, famous for the Browder vs. Gayle case before Rosa Park’s boycott towards the bus system. Browder was fighting for segregation on Montgomery’s bus systems. Similar to Aurelia Browder, Mary Louise Smith Ware, refused to give up her bus seat, but she didn’t stop there. All at age 18 she was part of the segregation law attempts towards the YMCA. Serving as a plaintiff, in this case, was Susie McDonald. What adds a unique quality to her is that she was 70-year-olds, light-skinned, enough to come off as white, of course, she always was quick to say otherwise. Working alongside McDonald was Claudette Colvin who received little notice when she boycotted the bus system. On December 20, 1956, they won the case. 

 All of this conversation about the bus system alone, what about all the other commotion that occurred? Well to save the day with that was Jo Ann Gibson Robinson who was, firstly, the first college graduate in her family who went on to get a master’s degree from Atlanta University to pursue her dream as a teacher. When she moved to Montgomery, Alabama she started an organization for African Americans who were involved in civic affairs, trying to vote and victims of sexual assault.

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What all of this information has to say is perfect timing for Black History Month. These women went incredibly unnoticed for the work they put into such a marvelous historical time. This is why Black History month is so important, it gives our society the chance to learn so much more than the basic history textbook high school has to offer. And as a woman, who believes in empowering women, I say our society needs to do a lot more learning because these women specifically deserve it.