Women of Action
Ella Baker (1903-1986) organized northern support for the Montgomery bus boycott, and in 1957 became acting director of Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
Ruby Hurley (1909-1980) aided in all of the major school desegregation cases of the 1950’s and 1960’s. She also took part in the investigation of the murder of Emmett Till.
J.R. Clifford (1848-1933), Union Army veteran and West Virginia’s first African American attorney, was a founding member of the Niagara movement, a forerunner to the NAACP.
Joel Spingarn (1875-1939), a literary critic and Columbia University professor, was among the leading figures in the NAACP during its first three decades.
Medgar Evers (1925-1963), a World War II veteran turned civil rights leader who returned home from Normandy with a determination to secure his rights as a citizen.
Fannie Lou Hamer (1917 –1977) had been jailed and beaten by the police for her civil rights activities. She offered a dramatic account of the methods used to deny blacks the ballot that was televised across the nation.
Mary Church Terrell (1863-1954) was a writer and lecturer, who became a leading voice for racial justice and women’s rights in the United States and abroad.
Mary White Ovington (1865-1951) was a founder of the NAACP and a leading figure in the association for nearly four decades. Ovington was responsible for enlisting W.E.B Du Bois in the venture of the NAACP.
Charles Hamilton Houston (1895-1950) is often referred to as the architect of the civil rights movement. As dean of Howard Law School, he transformed the school into a laboratory for civil rights law.
Walter White (1893-1955) could easily pass for white, and used this to his advantage in his daring undercover investigations and exposes of lynchings.
'The Call' for Change
Oswald Garrison Villard drafted “The Call” that led to the founding meeting of the NAACP. Villard provided financial support essential to launching the NAACP as a permanent organization.
Daisy Bates (1914-1999) won national attention for her leading role in the 1957 desegregation of Little Rock’s Central High School, one of the pivotal moments in the modern Civil Rights Movement.