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THE GREENSBORO TIMES Women’s History > from page 1


for anti-lynching efforts and saw the organization of the national antilynching society grow. Wells became the national and international leader of the anti- lynching campaign. On returning from her first British trip, Wells moved to Chicago. There she worked with Frederick Douglass and a local lawyer and editor. Ida B. Wells was a Co-Founder of the NAACP in1909 and continues her outspoken criticism of racism. She created a stir when she endorsed violence as a means of self protection and retaliation. She later withdrew her membership from the NAACP, criticizing the organization for not being militant enough. In 1913, Ida B. Wells was part of a delegation to see President Woodrow Wilson to urge nondiscrimination on federal jobs. In 1913, Wells organized the Alpha Suffrage League an organization of African women supporting women’s suffrage.


Rosa Parks is considered the Mother of the American Civil Rights


Movement. In Montgomery, Alabama, December 1, 1995, Rosa Parks sat on the bus in the “Colored Section”. When the bus became crowded, the driver asked her to give up her seat to a White man. Three of the other Black passengers on Rosa Park’s bus complied with the driver. Parks refused and remained seated. The driver called the police who then arrested her for civil disobedience. Park’s act of resistance gave African Americans the confidence and courage to stand up to racism and racial segregation. Parks was a highly respected and a beloved individual in her community at the time. Although African Americans had previously refused to give up their seats, it was Rosa Parks who sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott. She was a civil rights activist and her action inspired Martin Luther King and she worked with Dr. King to dismantle “Jim Crow” segregation throughout the South. Parks helped initiate the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955 which help to launch the nationwide effort to end segregation of public facilities. Because of her actions, Parks lost her department store job and her husband was fired. Her family moved to Detroit Michigan and there, Rosa Parks made a new life for herself, working as a secretary and receptionist in US Representative John Conyer’s Congressional Office. She served on the Board of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. She received many accolades during her lifetime, including the NAACP’s highest award and in 1995 she was the first recipient to receive the Alston/Jones International Civil and Human Rights Award from the Civil Rights Museum in Greensboro, North Carolina. Rosa Parks died on October 24, 2005, at age 92. Her death was marked by several memorial services among them lying in State at the Capitol Rotunda in Washington, D.C. where an estimated 50,000 people viewed her casket. On February 4, 2013, the US Postal Service issued a Rosa Parks “forever” stamp, honoring her on what would have been her 100th birthday.


Harriet Tubman was an American abolitionist, humanitarian, and army scout and spy for the United States. Tubman was best known as a woman who led slaves to freedom along the Underground Railroad. Born into slavery in 1822 she was beaten and whipped by her various masters as a child. She was a devout Christian and experienced strange visions and vivid dreams, which she ascribed to premonitions from God. In 1889 Tubman escaped from the Dorchester County Maryland plantation. She subsequently made some thirteen missions to rescue some seventy enslaved people, including family, and friends. Slowly, one group at a time, she brought and guided dozens of slaves to freedom. Traveling at night and in extreme secrecy, Tubman, or“ Moses” as she was called, “never lost a passenger”. Using the network of anti-slavery activists and safe houses known as the Underground Railroad, She later helped abolitionist John Brown recruit men for his raid on Harper’s valley. After the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 passed, she helped fugitives farther north into British North America, and helped newly freed slaves find work.


When the Civil War began, Tubman worked for the Union Army, first as a


cook and nurse and then as an armed scout and spy. The first woman to lead an expedition in war, she guided the raid at Combahee Ferry, which liberated more than 700 slaves. After the war she retired to the family home property she had purchased in 1859 in Auburn New York, where she cared for her aging parents. She was active in the women’s suffrage movement until illness overtook her and she had to be admitted to a home for elderly African-Americans that she helped to establish years earlier. After she died in 1913 she became an icon of American courage and freedom. The US Treasury Secretary announced on April 19, 2016 that Harriet Tubman will replace the slave holder Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill.


Norman B. Smith, Attorney at Law Smith, James, Rowlett & Cohen, L.L.P.


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