Civil Rights: Gender, Race, and Sexuality Redefined
In Unit 6 you examined how women’s gender roles, racial identity, and sexuality began to be redefined. In this unit, you will consider how African American, Hispanic American, and Native American leaders struggled with ideas about how to live in post-Civil War America. You will determine the success of the Chicano, American Indian, and civil rights movements, as well as the impact of activism on women’s lives in the 20th century.
In the years after the end of the Civil War, and prior to the dawn of the 20th century, African American women had been freed from the bondage of slavery. However, hardships accompanied that freedom, particularly throughout the South, where African American women encountered racism that had not dissipated with the end of the Civil War. The institution of segregation and Jim Crow laws restricted African Americans. In addition, African Americans also lived in widespread poverty, with laws and rules often in place to prevent their advancement. It would be in this environment in which significant changes would occur for women of color.
Hispanic American women, as part of the Chicana movement, fought the maschismo of Chicano (male) rights organizations, and disputed the notion that women’s place was in the home. Women actively fought for freedom in areas such as reproductive rights, welfare, and social services.
Native American women became involved in the American Indian Movement (AIM), an effort to restore tribal rights; the occupation of Alcatraz Island would be a visual example of AIM. Three key Native American women, La Nada Means, Wilma Mankiller, and Ellen Moves Camp, would be integral members of AIM; 1977 National Women’s Conference provided Native American women with a platform to call for improvement in federal policies for Native Americans
After completing this unit, you should be able to:
Analyze the ways in which leaders brought attention to their goals of improving the lives of individuals of color
Assess the impact of women’s activism on prescribed gender roles for women of all races
Explain the philosophies on improving the lives of women of color
The Unit 7 readings consider the movements for change by women of color. The readings will consider the struggles of African American women beginning with the Civil Rights movement. In addition, the reading will consider Hispanic women’s activism, specifically during the Chicano movement in the 1960s. This unit will also provide the opportunity to extend knowledge of Native Americans from Unit 1, with a specific focus on AIM, the American Indian Movement, including the takeover of Alcatraz in 1969.
American Indian (AIM) Movement:
African American Women’s Activism and Civil Rights
Review the important terms for this unit by playing the term matching game.
We Shall Remain: Episode 5, Wounded Knee
The March on Washington, August, 28, 1963 , A transcript for the video is available in Doc Sharing
Although this Seminar is not graded, it is highly beneficial for you to participate each week to explore the concepts and assignments in more detail and answer questions that you may have. You will also benefit from the interaction with your classmates. Your Seminars each week will offer an opportunity to interact as a community through a real time connection.
Women in the civil rights movement, while members of various civil rights organizations, did not always hold significant leadership roles within the organizations. This week in Seminar, you will consider women’s involvement in the civil rights movement, as well as the impact of the media on the civil rights movements.
Seminar Question 1: La Raza (Chicana women’s organization) member Mirta Vidal noted, “The only real unity between men and women is the unity forged in the course of struggle against their oppression.” What does this indicate about women’s activism of the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s?
Seminar Question 2: How did female leaders such as Mirta Vidal (Chicano), Sacheen Littlefeather (AIM), and Fannie Lou Hamer (civil rights) bring attention to the concerns of individuals of color? What impact did media attention have on women’s activism in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s?
Women in the civil rights movement
Read Chapters 10 & 11 of the course text Through Women’s Eyes.
Put yourself in the shoes of a woman who was part of the civil rights movement. Provide a response that details your experiences so far in the movement, and explains why it is important for you to participate in the movement despite the risk.
Then using the “journal” feature on the course home page write an informal journal entry of 150-250 words that elaborates on these thoughts:
What do you hope to accomplish by taking part in the civil rights movement? What do you expect to learn? How would this experience help you in the future? What were the main issues that women were fighting for? To what degree were they successful?
Points and Rubric
This assignment is worth 50 points. The rubric for this assignment is available from the Grading Rubrics page under Course Home.
Read this question carefully so that you can post a response that addresses all aspects of the question.
You should also respond to at least two classmate’s postings for each thread; each response should contain a minimum of 100 words.
The Discussion Board grading rubric in the course syllabus will help you understand how this assignment will be graded.
Women’s activism increased significantly from the 1960s to the 1980s. How did women’s roles in the American Indian movement (AIM), the Chicano movement, and the civil rights movement provide empowerment for women? Include a specific example from each of the three movements to indicate how each movement provided women with a voice.