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The Selfless Servant Leadership of the African-American Women of the Civil-Rights Movement

During the civil-rights movement, African Americans led the fight to free this country from the vestiges of slavery and Jim Crow. Though they all too often were—and remain—invisible to the public, African-American women played significant roles at all levels of the movement. Some led causes and organizations, such as Dorothy Height, the president of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and the National Council of Negro Women. Others did not have titles or official roles, including Georgia Gilmore, one of the cooks who organized to raise money to support the Montgomery bus boycott. These women didn’t stand on ceremony; they simply did the work that needed to be done, without expectation of personal gain. Often unnamed or underappreciated, African-American women helped to construct the cultural architecture for change.

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