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Rosa Parks Among Countless Women in US Civil Rights Movement


Rosa Parks is one of many women who played important roles in the history of the U.S. civil rights movement, but most of the others have not received as much public notice.

Vivian Malone Jones, who died earlier this month, was one of two black students who enrolled at the University of Alabama in 1963, defying the governor of the state who tried to prevent them from entering the school.

Septima Poinsette Clark was an educator who fought for blacks to be allowed to teach in public schools in Charleston, in her home state of South Carolina. She also worked to fight illiteracy, and was active in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

Other notable figures include Coretta Scott King, the wife of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Junior; and Fannie Lou Hamer, a sharecropper in Mississippi who became a political activist and spoke before the credentials committee at the 1964 Democratic National Convention.

Historians say women played critical roles throughout the history of the civil rights movement, but were often forced into background roles, because they were battling sexism as well as racism.