Where were the female leaders of the civil rights movement in 1963? Democracy Now!‘s Amy Goodman is joined by 91 year old Gloria Richardson, co-founder of the Cambridge Nonviolent Action Committee in Maryland,to discuss the silencing of women at the 1963 March on Washington. Ms. Richardson was on the stage with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that day but before she was allowed to speak the microphone was snatched from her hand. She later became friends with Malcolm X. She also discussed her work to desegregate schools and hospitals in Maryland and her assessment of President Obama and the civil rights struggle today.
Transcript can be read here
GLORIA RICHARDSON: Yes, we had hotel accommodations and they came and got me to take me to the March. I was late, but that wasn’t because of me – they took me to the tent. When I got to the tent, the women were all there. They got up after a while and said they were going to the ladies room and would be back. So, I sat and waited for them to come back. In the meantime, I was doing some interviews. But then all of a sudden, Bayard Rustin popped up and said, what are you doing here sitting in a tent? I said, I am waiting – I explained to him I was waiting for them. Oh, no, he said, come, go with me. He took me through the crowd to the stage, and that’s when… [..]
And they said to me, they have taken your chair away. Well, it proved they had chairs I guess for everybody maybe that was named, with a banner across it. So, and asked me, you should raise Hell. I thought, no, I don’t have to do that. We’re out in the streets so I said to them, no, I see a lawyer back there and I have a problem, so I’m going to go back and talk with him. [..]
they called the name and I went up. People kept saying, go up anyhow. So I went up. So, I said hello, and I, really, by that time, was so annoyed, I was going to tell them, you all just sit here until they pass that civil rights bill, even if it is a week from away. And I said, hello. I guess they were right.
AMY GOODMAN: And they pulled the mic from your mouth.
GLORIA RICHARDSON: Oh yeah, they pulled it, but had one of the marshals. Then they came after — I don’t think I heard Daisy Bates speak, but, they came and got me —