- NAME: Gloria Richardson
- OCCUPATION: Civil Rights Activist
- BIRTH DATE: May 06, 1922 (Age: 91)
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Baltimore, Maryland
- Full Name: Gloria St. Clair Hayes Richardson Dandridge
- Maiden Name: Gloria St. Clair Hayes
- AKA: Gloria Richardson Dandridge
- AKA: Gloria H. Richardson
- Nickname: Glorious Gloria
- AKA: Gloria St. Clair Richardson
- AKA: Gloria Richardson
- ZODIAC SIGN: Taurus
Best Known For
In the early 1960s, Gloria Richardson was the leader of the Cambridge Movement, a struggle for civil rights and economic opportunities in Cambridge, Maryland.
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Born in 1922, Gloria Richardson grew up in Cambridge, Maryland. As the Civil Rights Movement gained strength during the 1960s, Richardson was the leader of the Cambridge Movement, a sometimes violent fight for civil rights in her hometown. She espoused the need for economic justice and tactics beyond nonviolent demonstrations. Richardson also took the stage during 1963's March on Washington.
"Self-defense may actually be a deterrent to further violence. Hitherto, the government has moved into conflict situations only when matters approach the level of insurrection."
"They act like people had a movement so they could have sexual relations!"
"There were threats that my house would be bombed, and I later found out that I was No. 2 on the Klan's list after Martin Luther King."
"Public accommodations are a right that cannot be given or taken away by a vote."
"I don't think we're free. I think it would have been much better if every president after Kennedy had had a moral obligation to see that racial problems were solved."
"Those were certainly troubled times, but the unity that came out of that was magnificent. People were ready and willing to fight City Hall."
"I don't think there is a movement anymore. This Supreme Court is backward and extremely right-wing. They did a job on affirmative action and will certainly go after 'Roe v. Wade.'"
"What are the college students doing? They are certainly not like those of the '60s. Where is their activism?"
Gloria Richardson was born Gloria St. Clair Hayes on May 6, 1922, in Baltimore, Maryland. When she was six years old, her family moved to Cambridge, Maryland. As a teenager, she attended Howard University, where she studied sociology and participated in a few protests for civil rights. After graduating, she worked for the federal government during World War II. She then returned to Cambridge and married, becoming Gloria Richardson.
In January 1962, members of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee protested against segregation in Cambridge. After Richardson's daughter, Donna, became involved with the SNCC, Richardson joined in forming the Cambridge Nonviolent Action Committee. Selected to head the CNAC—the only affiliate of the SNCC that was not student-led—Richardson became a leader of the Cambridge Movement, the first push for civil rights to take place outside of the Deep South.
With Richardson at the helm, the Cambridge Movement began to advocate for economic rights as well as desegregation. Richardson herself had been unable to find work using her degree. Her family was well-off, but she also understood the need to improve the economic situation for African Americans in Cambridge, who had an unemployment rate approaching 50 percent, several times higher than the rate for the white population.
Though Martin Luther King Jr. and other leaders of the Civil Rights Movement wanted activists to use nonviolence, Richardson did not agree that this was the only protest tactic, and some in the Cambridge Movement defended themselves when attacked. In 1964, Richardson stated, "Self-defense may actually be a deterrent to further violence. Hitherto, the government has moved into conflict situations only when matters approach the level of insurrection."
In the spring of 1963, 80 protesters, including Richardson, were arrested over seven weeks. In June 1963, a tense atmosphere took hold during demonstrations. Riots then broke out, violence that both sides contributed to (though Richardson spoke out in support of nonviolence at the time). Maryland's governor soon declared martial law, bringing in the National Guard.
In July 1963, Attorney General Robert Kennedy—who Richardson had asked earlier to provide protection for demonstrators' constitutional rights—met with Richardson, other civil rights activists and government officials to broker the Treaty of Cambridge, an agreement covering desegregation, housing and employment issues. In August 1963, Richardson went to the March on Washington, where she was one of six "Negro Women Fighters for Freedom" on the program.
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