Annapolis, Maryland (AP) — Influential but little-known civil rights pioneer Gloria Richardson photographs the National Guard’s determination to not retreat while protesting racial inequality. Pushed away the bayonet. She was 99 years old.
Her granddaughter, Tya Young, said Richardson died Thursday in New York City during her sleep and was not ill. Young said she wasn’t seeking praise or recognition while her grandmother was at the forefront of the civil rights movement.
“She did it because she needed to do it, and she was born as a leader,” Young said.
Richardson was the first woman to lead a protracted grassroots civil rights movement outside the Deep South. In 1962, she organized and led the Cambridge movement on the east coast of Maryland in a sit-in to racialize restaurants, bowling alleys, and cinemas in a protest that showed an early part of the Black Power movement. Assisted.
“I think the Cambridge movement was the soil that Richardson planted and nurtured the growth of Black Power,” said Joseph R. Fitzgerald, who wrote the 2018 biography of Richardson. .. “
Richardson has become a leader in demonstrations of bread and butter economic issues such as work, access to medical care, and ample housing.
“Everything the Black Lives Matter movement is currently working on is a continuation of what the Cambridge movement was doing,” Fitzgerald said.
To pursue these goals, Richardson claimed the right of blacks to protect themselves when attacked.
“Richardson has always supported the use of non-violent direct action during protests, but she fully supports her right to protect themselves when the protests end and blacks are attacked by whites. I did, “said Fitzgerald.
Richardson was born in Baltimore and later lived in Cambridge, Dorchester County, Maryland (the same county where Harriet Tubman was born). She entered Howard University at the age of 16. While in Washington, she began protesting racism at drug stores.
In 1962, Richardson attended a meeting of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in Atlanta and later joined the board.
J. in the summer of 1963, after a peaceful sit-in became violent in Cambridge. Governor Millard Tauze has declared martial law. When Cambridge Mayor Calvin Mobley asked Richardson to stop the demonstration instead of ending the arrest of a black protester, Richardson declined to do so. On June 11, a white supremacist riot broke out and Tauze summoned the National Guard.
While the city was still in the presence of the National Guard, Richardson met with US Attorney General Robert Kennedy to negotiate what became informally known as the “Cambridge Treaty.” In exchange for the one-year moratorium of the demonstration, he ordered equal access to public facilities in Cambridge.
Richardson was the signatory of the treaty, but never agreed to end the demonstration. Only the Civil Rights Act of 1964 began to solve problems at the local level.
She was one of the leading female civil rights activists in the United States and inspired young activists to protest racial inequality in the late 1960s and 1970s.
Richardson was on stage at an important march in Washington in 1963 as one of the six women listed as “fighters for freedom” in the program, but Mike took it. I could only say “hello” before I was asked.
The fact that the male-centric Black Power movement and Richardson’s leadership in Cambridge lasted for about three years may have obscured how influential she was, but Fitzgerald said she was black. He said he was well known in the United States.
“She was only active for about three years, during which she was literally the center of the high stakes black liberation campaign and threatened,” Fitzgerald said. , Threatening her in her life. “
Richardson resigned from the Nonviolent Action Committee in Cambridge, Maryland in the summer of 1964. He divorced his first husband, married photographer Frank Dandridge, moved to New York, and did a variety of jobs, including the National Council for Black Women.
She survives with her daughters Donna Orange and Tamara Richardson, and granddaughters Young and Michelle Price.