Many headlines in 2020 spoke of two pandemics: covid-19 and white supremacy. These stories highlight various forms of protest, from candlelight vigils for those killed by police to students fighting for more inclusion in their classrooms.
Black civil rights leaders in COFO and other organizations organized the second Freedom Day in Philadelphia, PA on Sunday, October 11, 1964. Students boycotted Philadelphia public school, attending local freedom schools. Unlike the previous Freedom Day, the local sheriffs partnered with COFO to ensure the group of 39 registrants stayed safe.
As part of the Freedom Stay Out day, 20,571 children, nearly 22% of Boston's public school population, skipped classes on February 26, 1964. Children flocked to the 34 Freedom Schools set up for the day by civil rights leaders. The Massachusetts Freedom Movement organized the boycott to "[amplify] Negro grievances over the schools, especially the alleged existence of de facto segregation."
The Million Women March, founded by Phile Chionesue, was a protest march that took place in Philadelphia, PA in 1997 under the mission of supporting African-American women's self-determination. The march was envisioned and intended to help bring social and economic development and power throughout the black communities of the United States, as well as to bring hope, empowerment, unity, and sisterhood to women, men, and children of African descent globally regardless of nationality, religion, or economic status. It is estimated 300,000 to 500,000 people attended the peaceful march.
In the 1950s Georgia Gilmore organized The Club from Nowhere to fundraise for the Montgomery Bus Boycott. She and other women sold baked goods in beauty salons and on street corners to buy gas and station wagons so people could get to and from work during the boycott. Gilmore’s food became a symbol of her activism during that time and now the legacy of her cooking is a way for the people of Montgomery, AL to connect to her memory.
The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) conducted sit-ins at segregated lunch counters in Greensboro, North Carolina.
In 1962, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) organized a food drive and distribution program in Greenwood, South Carolina to protest the "Greenwood Food Blockade."
The Montgomery Bus Boycott was a civil rights protest during which African Americans refused to ride city buses in Montgomery, Alabama, to protest segregated seating. The boycott took place from December 5, 1955, to December 20, 1956, and is regarded as the first large-scale U.S. demonstration against segregation. Four days before the boycott began, Rosa Parks, an African American woman, was arrested and fined for refusing to yield her bus seat to a white man. The U.S. Supreme Court ultimately ordered Montgomery to integrate its bus system, and one of the leaders of the boycott, a young pastor named Martin Luther King Jr., emerged as a prominent leader of the American civil rights movement.
Isabella Baumfree, who later changed her name to Sojourner Truth, made her way from being born into slavery to becoming one of the most powerful advocates for human rights in the nineteenth century. After freeing herself from her master in 1827, she became an itinerant preacher and changed her name to Sojourner Truth in 1843. She went on to become an eminent figure in the antislavery movement and gave one of the most famous abolitionists and women's rights speeches in American history, "Ain't I a Woman?" at the 1851 Women’s Rights Convention held in Akron, Ohio, motivating women and African Americans to speak out for their rights.
The Black Church Food Security Network is an organization that was started at Pleasant Hope Baptist Church in Baltimore, MD. The organization helps churches establish community gardens on their land, hosts mini farmer’s markets, and buy produce from black farmers to benefit the community. Churches around the US act as food hubs and distributors to serve their communities too. The BCFSN aims to improve the health and wealth of the African-American community through food and empower African-American people in the process.
The Flying Black Medics were begun in 1970 by a group of black medical practitioners who flew from Chicago to Cairo, Illinois to bring healthcare and health education to residents of the remote community. One of the participants, Dr. Leonidas Harris Berry, was also an active member of the civil group, United Front, an organization that provided protection, monetary support, and other assistance to the people in Cairo, Illinois who were the victims of racist attacks.