6 year old Ruby Bridges was the first black child in the south to attend a white school after the forced integration following the landmark ruling of Brown Vs. The Board of Education. A willing participant in her mother's decision that she would go and endure what was to be sure a very tough road in the name of helping forge the path of the civil rights movement, Ruby faced death threats and intense bullying with courage and grace.
In 1966 Martin Luther King Jr. was stoned (a thrown rock struck him in the head) during a March he lead (of about 700 people) in Marquette Park on Chicago's Southwest Side. The civil-rights leader and his supporters were in the white ethnic enclave to protest housing segregation practices. Approx 30 others were injured along with Dr King. He later explained why he put himself at risk: "I have to do this--to expose myself--to bring this hate into the open."
Sally Ride (First American Woman in space) has died after a 17-month long battle against pancreatic cancer. She became a household name after her historic flight on Space Shuttle Challenger in 1983, and then used her high-profile to encourage kids, especially young girls, to pursue science, math, and engineering careers. Sally, you will be dearly missed.
Mrs. F.E.W. Harper, 1858 – She refused to give up her seat or ride in the “colored” section of a segregated trolley car in Philadelphia (100 years before Rosa Parks) and wrote one her most famous poems, “Bury Me In A Free Land,” when she got very sick while on a lecturing tour. Her short story “The Two Offers” became the first short story to be published by an African American.