Home Local News Gloria Richardson, leader of Cambridge Movement, dead at 99

Gloria Richardson, leader of Cambridge Movement, dead at 99

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Gloria Richardson, an influential yet largely unsung civil rights pioneer whose determination not to back down while protesting racial inequality was captured in a photograph as she pushed away the bayonet of a National Guardsman, has died. She was 99.

Tya Young, her granddaughter, said Richardson died in her sleep Thursday in New York City and had not been ill. Young said while her grandmother was at the forefront of the civil rights movement, she didn’t seek praise or recognition.

“She did it because it needed to be done, and she was born a leader,” Young said.

FILE - In this July 21, 1963, file photo, Gloria Richardson, head of the Cambridge Nonviolent Action Committee, pushes a National Guardsman's bayonet aside as she moves among a crowd of African Americans to convince them to disperse in Cambridge, Md. Richardson, an influential yet largely unsung civil rights pioneer whose determination not to back down while protesting racial inequality was captured in a photograph as she pushed away the bayonet of a National Guardsman, died Thursday, July 15, 2021, in New York, according to Joe Orange, her son in law. She was 99.

Richardson was the first woman to lead a prolonged grassroots civil rights movement outside the Deep South. In 1962, she helped organized and led the Cambridge Movement on Maryland’s Eastern Shore with sit-ins to desegregate restaurants, bowling alleys and movie theaters in protests that marked an early part of the Black Power movement.

“I say that the Cambridge Movement was the soil in which Richardson planted a seed of Black power and nurtured its growth,” said Joseph R. Fitzgerald, who wrote a 2018 biography on Richardson titled “The Struggle is Eternal: Gloria Richardson and Black Liberation.”

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Source: GANNETT Syndication Service