GLORIA RICHARDSON, BRAVE CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST NOW 98 YEARS OLD
Meet Gloria Richardson, She’s known as the leader of the Cambridge movement doing the 1960’s Civil Rights Movement. Richardson was recognized as a huge figure in the Civil Rights Movement at the time, she was one of the signatories to “The Treaty of Cambridge”, signed in July 1963 with Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, and state and local officials after the riot the month before.
In June 1962, Richardson was asked and helped organize the Cambridge Nonviolent Action Committee (CNAC), the first adult-led affiliate of SNCC. She became its official spokesperson. Richardson said in a later interview on why she was committed to CNAC’s leadership reflecting the community. “The one thing we did was to emphasize that while you should be educated, that education, degrees, college degrees were not essential [here]. If you could articulate the need if you knew what that need was if you were aware of the kinds of games that white folk play that was the real thing”.
In June 1963 the Cambridge protests had attracted students and other activists from around the country. At 8 P.M. the night of June 11, 250 African Americans staged a “freedom walk” to the Dorchester County Courthouse. Shortly after the demonstrators stopped to pray, they were attacked and pelted with eggs by crowds of more than 200 white townsfolk. Two carloads of whites drove in and started a gun fight with armed African Americans. State police used tear gas and guns to disperse the mob.
By the autumn of 1963, black children in Cambridge were attending previously all-white schools, bus transportation was desegregated, the library and hospital were desegregated, and a black policeman on the force was promoted. In this period, Richardson rose to national prominence as a civil rights leader. In August 1963 she was saluted as one of the six “Negro Women Fighters for Freedom” featured on the stage of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Like most of the other women that day, however, she was not permitted to address the crowd.