Posted on November 11, 2018
There have been so many awesome black women I have written about over the past year or two - and today's famous birthday is yet another!
Another activist, journalist, lecturer. One of the rare-for-then black publishers. Another Civil Rights icon.
Daisy Bates was born on this date in 1914 in Arkansas. She was adopted when she was only a few months old, and when she was only 8 years old she learned why: her mother was murdered, and her father had no way to raise a tiny baby while working his job at the mill.
Daisy's mother was killed by three white men - and I won't get into the horrific, sickening details - but murder was barely investigated by the (white) police, and the killers were never found.
Of course, young Daisy was really angry about that. And she had every right to be. But she reported that her adoptive father gave her some important advice:
"You're filled with hatred. Hate can destroy you, Daisy. Don't hate white people just because they're white. If you hate, make it count for something. Hate the humiliations we are living under in the South. Hate the discrimination that eats away at the South. Hate the discrimination that eats away at the soul of every black man and woman. Hate the insults hurled at us by white scum—and then try to do something about it, or your hate won't spell a thing."
When Bates was a married adult, she and her husband started a weekly newspaper called the Arkansas State Press. It featured civil rights stories on the front page and stories of the achievements of black Arkansans throughout much of the rest of the paper. This newspaper was recognized as a voice for civil rights even before the nationwide Civil Rights Movement.
Bates had also been involved with the NAACP and was elected president of one of its branches.
|Notice that Daisy Bates was featured alongside Jackie Robinson|
and Dr. Martin Luther King!
Bates and her husband fought against school segregation - which was at that point illegal but still happening in Arkansas - through the power of the press and through publicizing the NAACP's protest events.
But Daisy Bates was even more hands-on with integration: she was the one who guided and advised the "Little Rock Nine," the nine black students who dared to enroll in the previously all-white Little Rock Central High School. She arranged for ministers to escort the kids to school. Her house was the official drop-off and pick-up point for the kids, and Bates communicated often with the kids' parents. She joined the PTA of the high school (even though she didn't have a child there). In part because of her persistence, the kids did enroll, did attend, and eventually things did get better.
|Now the Little Rock Nine are honored by statues!|
Also on this date:
Armistice Day and
Independence Day in Poland
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