As we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his legacy today, we thought it important to note that MLK did not dream all on his own. While many know of the men who marched alongside Martin Luther King Jr., like James Farmer and current United States Representative John Lewis, there are a number of exemplary women who were instrumental in the development of the civil rights movement — and we’re not just talking Coretta Scott King and Rosa Parks. The women below supported and strengthened the dream of equal rights for all, adding momentum to the movement that has afforded us many of the freedoms we have today. As we remember Dr. King today, let us also remember their contributions. Learn more about each of them in the video above.
President of the National Council for Negro Women for 40 years, Height was a contemporary of Martin Luther King, Jr., even standing on the stage as he gave his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963.
Diane Nash was a founding member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in 1960 freedom rides. Nash was also one of the organizers who brought MLK, Jr. to Montogomery, Alabama to support the Riders.
An American activist who was a leader of the American Civil Rights Movement in Selma, Alabama and a key figure in the 1965 Selma to Montgomery marches. She was one of the leaders who convinced MLK, Jr. to come to Selma in the first place.
JO ANN ROBINSON
After Rosa Parks was arrested for famously not giving up her bus seat, Jo-Ann Robinson jumped in to organize support for the Montgomery Bus Boycotts in 1955. She was a crucial member of the movement, also assisting with the carpools that took people to and from work during the boycotts.
Once dubbed the “Mother of the Movement” by none other than Martin Luther King, Jr. himself. She worked with Thurgood Marshall on getting equal pay for black teachers and even accompanied MLK to his Nobel Peace Prize ceremony.