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Daisy Gaston Bates

Daisy Gaston Bates (November 11, 1914-November 4, 1999)

Activist/Journalist/Publisher/Guardian

During Black History Month 2014, the Center for the Church and the Black Experience is honoring faithful Black women freedom fighters. Today we honor Daisy Gaston Bates.

Daisy Gaston BatesDaisy Lee Gaston Bates born on November 11, 1914 in Huttig, AR, a small sawmill town in Union County raised by friends of the family. Mrs. Bates was President of the Arkansas National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP: the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization), working in partnership with L.C. Bates (her husband) who was the NAACP’s regional director. Mrs. Bates was also a star reporter and co-owner of the largest black newspaper in the state, the Arkansas State Press. Together the couple led efforts to end segregation in Arkansas — on buses, in libraries and in the public schools.

In 1957, she helped nine African-American students (the Little Rock Nine) become the first to attend the all-white Central High School in Little Rock, who became known as the Little Rock Nine. The group first tried to go to the school on September 4. A group of angry whites jeered at them as they arrived. The governor, Orval Faubus, opposed school integration and sent members of the Arkansas National Guard to prevent the students from entering the school. Despite the enormous amount of animosity they faced from white residents, the students were undeterred from their mission to attend the school.  The Bates’ home became the headquarters for the battle to integrate Central High School and Mrs. Bates served as a personal advocate and supporter to the students.

The Arkansas State Press Newspaper closed in 1959 because of low advertising revenue. Three years later (1962), Mrs. Bates’ account of the school integration battle was published as The Long Shadow of Little Rock. Mrs. Bates returned to Little Rock in the mid-1960s and spent much of her time on community programs. After the death of her husband in 1980, Mrs. Bates also resuscitated their newspaper [1984 to 1988].

Mrs. Bates died on November 4, 1999, Little Rock, Arkansas.

Sources:
Photo: University of Arkansas Little Rock http://ualr.edu/race-ethnicity/files/2011/09/daisy-bates-large.jpg http://ualr.edu/race-ethnicity/files/2011/09/daisy-bates-large.jpg
http://www.biography.com/people/daisy-bates-206524?page=2  (Accessed 12/26/13)
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=14563865 (Accessed 12/26/13)

Compiled by Beverly Moore

Viola Liuzzo

Viola Liuzzo (1925-1965)

Martyr for Justice

During Black History Month 2014, the Center for the Church and the Black Experience is honoring faithful Black women freedom fighters. Today we honor Viola Liuzzo.

Viola LiuzzoMrs. Viola Liuzzo was a Detriot housewife and medical technician who became immersed as an undergrad in the Civil Rights Movement through her church. A Unitarian Universalist, she worked for education and economic justice and gave her life for the cause of civil rights. Mrs. Liuzzo was one of few Whites who joined the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Detroit chapter (NAACP: the oldest and largest African-American civil rights organization).  As an active NAACP member in her local chapter, she was horrified at the violence she saw inflicted upon black protesters on television, so when she heard of a four-day, 54-mile walk from Selma to Montgomery, Ala., to support voting rights, she packed a bag. Before leaving Mrs. Luizzo told her husband before departing for Selma: "It's everybody's fight."

Mrs. Liuzzo joined the movement's carpool system soon after arriving in Selma. The 39 year-old mother of five was shot to death while giving a ride to a 19-year-old black man, Leroy Moton who escaped with injuries.

Her husband Jim Liuzzo said to then President Lyndon Johnson: “My wife died for a sacred battle, the rights of humanity. She had one concern and only one in mind. She took a quote from Abraham Lincoln that all men are created equal and that's the way she believed."

Sources:
Photo: Michigan Women’s Historical Center and Hall of Fame http://tinyurl.com/moog2h3
http://www.cnn.com/2013/02/28/politics/civil-rights-viola-liuzzo (Accessed 12/26/13)
http://www25.uua.org/uuhs/duub/articles/violaliuzzo.html (Accessed 12/26/13)
http://civilrightsteaching.org/about/handouts-sample-lessons/womens-work-an-untold-story-of-the-civil-rights-movement/  (Accessed 12/26/13)

Compiled by Beverly Moore

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (October 29, 1938-)

World Leader/PeaceMaker/Liberator

President of Liberia

During Black History Month 2014, the Center for the Church and the Black Experience is honoring faithful Black women freedom fighters. Today we honor Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is President of the Republic of Liberia and the first woman ever elected as President of an African nation. Born in Liberia in 1938, President Johnson Sirleaf was schooled in the United States before serving in the Liberian government. A military coup in 1980 sent her into exile, but she returned in 1985 to speak out against the military regime. She was forced to briefly leave the country.

President Johnson Sirleaf is a development expert–the former head of UNDP’s Africa Bureau, who has also held senior positions with the World Bank, the IMF and the African Development Bank. She is a highly respected economist who held top posts with Citibank and the Equator Bank.

After an unsuccessful run for office in 1997, she ran again in 2005 and won campaigning on a platform of economic development, to put an end corruption and civil war in the country.  In 2006, President Johnson Sirleaf immediately launched The “First 150 Days Action Plan” to start rebuilding the nation after 14 years of Civil War.  She declared that “the education of girls is to become a cornerstone of development in Liberia” and launched Liberia's National Girl’s Education Policy.

President Johnson Sirleaf shared the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize with Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkol Karman for their nonviolent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work. She has stated that: “Because I represent the aspirations of women all over Africa, I must succeed for them.  I must keep the door open for women’s participation in politics at the highest level.  That is both humbling and exciting.”

Sources:
Photo: http://www.thp.org/files/images/ellen_johnson_sirleaf.jpg
http://www.thp.org/what_we_do/key_initiatives/honoring_africa_leadership/laureate_list/ellen_johnson_sirleaf (Accessed 12/26/13)
http://www.biography.com/people/ellen-johnson-sirleaf-201269  (Accessed 12/26/13)

Compiled by Beverly Moore

Yuri Kochiyama

Yuri Kochiyama (1921-)

Human Rights Activist/

Member, Organization for Afro-American Unity

During Black History Month 2014, the Center for the Church and the Black Experience is honoring faithful Black women freedom fighters. Today we honor Yuri Kochiyama.

Yuri Kochiyama An unlikely meeting became the catalyst that would connect Yuri Kochiyama with acclaimed civil rights leader Malcom X. Mrs. Kochiyama was born in California, to first generation immigrants to the United States. Her family experienced firsthand the perils of war and racism after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Her family, along with other Japanese Americas, was forcibly moved from their home and imprisoned in an internment camp where they were held for two years during the war. It is because of this suffering that she identified well with the ongoing struggle of African-Americans especially during the tumultuous 50s and 60s.

In the 1960s, Mrs. Kochiyama moved to Harlem, NY with her husband. They lived in housing projects among black and Puerto Rican neighbors. Mrs. Kochiyama began participating in sit-ins and inviting Freedom Riders to speak at weekly open houses at her apartment. In October 1963, she and her eldest son, 16-year-old Billy, were arrested along with hundreds of other people, mainly African-Americans, during a protest in Brooklyn, N.Y.  Mrs Kochiyama as a member of the Organization for Afro-American Unity, the organization founded by Malcolm X, she worked for racial justice and human rights.

Although in advanced age, she continues to tour the country speaking to youth about social justice and racial equality.

Sources:
Photo: Kochhiyama family/UCLA Asian American Studies Center
http://civilrightsteaching.org/about/handouts-sample-lessons/womens-work-an-untold-story-of-the-civil-rights-movement/  (Accessed 12/26/13)
http://www.npr.org/blogs/codeswitch/2013/08/19/209258986/the-japanese-american-internee-who-met-malcolm-x  (Accessed 12/26/13)

Compiled by Beverly Moore

Dorothy Miller-Zellner

Dorothy Miller-Zellner (1938-)

Freedom Fighter/Fundraiser/Student Voice

Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, The Student Voice Editor

During Black History Month 2014, the Center for the Church and the Black Experience is honoring faithful Black women freedom fighters. Today we honor Dorothy Miller-Zellner.

Dorothy MillerDorothy Miller-Zellner grew up in New York City with a heart for the suffering of others. As a White woman of Jewish descent, she seized an opportunity in 1960 to travel south with Congress of Racial Equality (CORE:  an interracial Civil Rights organization pivotal in ending racial inequality in the United States through use of nonviolent direct action organizing) for training in non-violent resistance. Ms. Miller participated in sit-ins in New Orleans and also went to Miami with 35 community leaders where she was arrested immediately for demonstrating against racial inequality.  In 1962 she joined Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC: Civil Rights organization comprised of college students) first as a research volunteer and later as a staffer working with Director Julian Bond on SNCC's newspaper, The Student Voice. This newspaper, in the early 1960s, built community and morale within the Movement's widely dispersed field workers and supporters. It also was one of the few publications reporting the daily violence committed against southern Blacks and movement workers.

Ms. Miller met and married SNCC's first white field secretary, Bob Zellner, and joined him in the Boston SNCC office, where she raised funds and helped send food and clothing to Mississippi. She also worked to screen volunteers for the Mississippi Freedom Summer.

Mrs. Zellner is currently an activist fighting against the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

Sources:
Photo: Thomas Good (NLN) http://www.antiauthoritarian.net/NLN/photo-gallery/2009_03_07_gaza/ (Accessed 12/26/13)
http://jwa.org/discover/infocus/civilrights/zellner  (Accessed 12/26/13)
http://civilrightsteaching.org/about/handouts-sample-lessons/womens-work-an-untold-story-of-the-civil-rights-movement/  (Accessed 12/26/13)
http://mlk-kpp01.stanford.edu/index.php/encyclopedia/encyclopedia/enc_student_nonviolent_coordinating_committee_sncc/ (Accessed 1/16/14)
http://mlk-kpp01.stanford.edu/index.php/encyclopedia/encyclopedia/enc_congress_of_racial_equality_core/ (Accessed 1/16/14)

Compiled by Beverly Moore

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