Black Freedom Struggle
Women are the unsung heroes of both the Civil Rights Movement and Black Panther Party. However, the image we visualize of its leadership, far too often it is of a man. Woman and girls of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds played a vital role in defining and reshaping the push for civil liberties of Black Americans. My timeline will expose the domino effect of their heroic actions, brave voices, and unwavering faith. Not only were women an integral part of the creation and shaping of the Black Freedom Struggle, they also defied societal gender roles as strong, assertive, revolutionary figures. In my timeline, it was important through imagery, I displayed the dramatic shift in how women presented themselves with the Civil Rights Movement and the Black Panther Party. In the early 50s to the mid to 60s, the image of black women for the greater part was extremely careful and particular. Women were often older, rarely did you see younger women in the forefront of the movement. These women were expected to maintain a clean image as well. They were often photographed with their hair neatly kept, clothing was every prim and proper as well. When they spoke about seeking justice, their tone was calm and collected. Moving forward however, to the Black Panther Party the women were much more radicalized. They dawned Afros and spoke freely about their tiredness of oppression. One of the significant images of the women were indeed their afros. No longer were they perming or straightening their hair to subject themselves to the Eurocentric standards of beauty. Black women fight two struggles: being a woman and being black. There was an ongoing struggle to fight as a woman in these predominately male-ran organizations and having to be constantly subjected to sexism all while fighting racism from the rest of the world. Colorism against the black women was also an awful factor that affected black women. Lighter-skinned Black women were often chosen to be the face for Black women in the Black Freedom Struggle.