|Born||Gloria St. Clair
May 6, 1922
|Known for||Cambridge movement during Civil Rights Movement|
Gloria Richardson Dandridge (born Gloria St. Clair, May 6, 1922) is best known as the leader of the Cambridge movement, a civil rights struggle in Cambridge, Maryland in the early 1960s. She was recognized as a major figure in the Civil Rights Movement at the time and was honored on the stage at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
Gloria Richardson was born into the affluent St. Clair family, which owned a successful hardware store and had also produced one of Cambridge's only black city council members. Blacks could vote in Cambridge, but with only a third of the population, had never been able to completely overturn Jim Crow laws. According to Richardson, her uncle died in his early twenties when he contracted a major illness but the segregated local hospital would not treat him. Richardson earned a B.A. in sociology from Howard University in 1942. The city government would not hire black social workers, however, and she focused on being a housewife and mother for over a decade. In an interview with Robert Penn Warren for the book Who Speaks for the Negro?, Richardson comments that in Cambridge, blacks were "the last hired and first fired."
In 1961, a Freedom Ride came to Cambridge. The black city council member at the time attempted to discourage the campaign by insisting that the city was already desegregated. In contrast, Richardson and her college-age daughter Donna both responded to outreach by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). At first Richardson rarely participated in civil disobedience, because she could not accept the original SNCC nonviolence regulations. Nonetheless, in 1962, she helped organize the Cambridge Nonviolent Action Committee, the first adult-led affiliate of SNCC, and became its official spokesperson.
The Cambridge Movement began with black Cambridge residents sitting in at segregated movie theaters, bowling alleys and restaurants, but the movement evolved into a struggle for the economic rights of Cambridge citizens, many of whom were burdened with low wages and unemployment. The Cambridge Movement's focus on economic equality and its use of armed self-defense tactics have been cited as signaling the beginning of the Black Power phase of the civil rights movement.
Richardson recalled that she had been a rebellious individual since childhood, but also situated herself as part of a community of militant African-American women: "I think I turned out like a lot of women in Cambridge...They did their cooking and ironing, but I don't remember them walking two steps behind anybody, and I think the men knew that. Later most of the members of our civil rights group were women...When we were attacked at demonstrations, they were the ones throwing stones back at the whites."
The Cambridge protests escalated into a major riot in June 1963. Governor J. Millard Tawes imposed martial law on Cambridge and sent in the National Guard. Robert F. Kennedy and other Justice Department and housing officials brokered a five-point "Treaty of Cambridge" that was signed in July in the attorney general's office in Washington by local black leadership, including Richardson, and Cambridge officials.
By the autumn of 1963, black children were entering previously all-white schools, bus transportation was desegregated, the library and hospital were desegregated and a black policeman was promoted. In this period, Richardson rose to national prominence as a civil rights leader. She was saluted as one of the six "Negro Women Fighters for Freedom" featured on the stage of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in August 1963. Like most of the other women that day, however, she was not permitted to address the crowd. Richardson was an inspiration to those seeking to radicalize SNCC, both in terms of her focus on economic security, and her challenging of nonviolent ideology.
A flare-up occurred in Cambridge in May 1964, when Richardson led a march protesting an appearance by segregationist George C. Wallace at the Fireman's Arena, a segregated ice-skating rink that had been the target of many of the original protests. However, in July 1964, President Johnson signed the historic Civil Rights Act, and the National Guard finally withdrew from Cambridge.
A month later, Richardson left Cambridge and married Frank Dandridge, a photographer she had become acquainted with during the demonstrations, and settled in New York City. She largely retired from public life, but continued to work with Harlem Youth Opportunities Unlimited, Associated Community Teams, and the New York City Department for the Aging.
- Kisseloff, Jeff (2006). "Gloria Richardson Dandridge: The Militant". Generation on Fire: Voices of Protest from the 1960s, An Oral History. Lexington, Kentucky: University Press of Kentucky. pp. 51–63. ISBN 9780813171562.
- Ransby, Barbara (2003). Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement: A Radical Democratic Vision. University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 9780807862704.
- Rasmussen, Fred (February 23, 1997). "'Glorious Gloria' Led the Battle Struggle". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 10 December 2015.
- Warren, Robert Penn. "Gloria St. Clair Hayes Richardson". Robert Penn Warren's Who Speaks for the Negro?: An Archival Collection. Vanderbilt University. Retrieved 14 June 2017.
- Atwater, Deborah F. (2009). "Gloria Richardson: Adult Leader in SNCC". African American Women's Rhetoric: The Search for Dignity, Personhood, and Honor. Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books. pp. 94–100. ISBN 9780739121764.
- Brock, Annette K. (1990). "Gloria Richardson and the Cambridge Movement". In Crawford, Vicki L.; Rouse, Jacqueline Anne; Woods, Barbara. Women in the Civil Rights Movement: Trailblazers and Torchbearers, 1941-1965. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press. pp. 121–144. ISBN 9780253208323.
- Harley, Sharon (2001). "The Chronicle of a Death Foretold: Gloria Richardson, the Cambridge Movement, and the Radical Black Activist Tradition". In Collier-Thomas, Bettye; Franklin, V. P. Sisters in the Struggle: African American Women in the Civil Rights - Black Power Movement. New York: New York University Press. pp. 174–196. ISBN 9780814716038.
- Levy, Peter B. (2003). Civil War on Race Street: The Civil Rights Movement in Cambridge, Maryland. Gainesville, Florida: University Press of Florida. ISBN 9780813031873.
- Levy, Peter B. (2003). "The Black Freedom Struggle and White Resistance: A Case Study of the Civil Rights Movement in Cambridge, Maryland". In McMillian, John Campbell; Buhle, Paul. The New Left Revisited. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Temple University Press. pp. 67–91. ISBN 9781566399760.
- Olson, Lynne (2001). "We Can't Deal with Her". Freedom's Daughters: The Unsung Heroines of the Civil Rights Movement from 1830 to 1970. New York: Simon and Schuster. pp. 278–290. ISBN 9780684850122.
- Richardson, Gloria (2010). "The Energy of the People Passing through Me". In Holsaert, Faith S. Hands on the Freedom Plow: Personal Accounts by Women in SNCC. Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois Press. pp. 273–298. ISBN 9780252035579.
- Robnett, Davis Belinda (1997). "Gloria Richardson and the Cambridge Nonviolent Action Committee". How Long? How Long?: African American Women in the Struggle for Civil Rights. New York; Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 161–165. ISBN 9780198027447.
- Walker, Jenny (2004). "The "Gun-Toting" Gloria Richardson: Black Violence in Cambridge, Maryland". In Ling, Peter J.; Monteith, Sharon. Gender and the Civil Rights Movement. Rutgers University Press: Rutgers University Press. pp. 169–186. ISBN 9780813534381.
- Cook, Melanie B. (1988). "Gloria Richardson: Her Life and Work in SNCC". Sage: A Scholarly Journal on Black Women, Supplement: 51–53.
- Foeman, Anita K. (May 1996). "Gloria Richardson: Breaking the Mold". Journal of Black Studies. 26 (5, Special Issue: The Voices of African American Women in the Civil Rights Movement): 604–615.
- Millner, Sandra Y. (July 1996). "Recasting Civil Rights Leadership: Gloria Richardson and the Cambridge Movement". Journal of Black Studies. 26 (6): 668–687.
- Richardson, Gloria (Winter 1964). "Freedom—Here and Now". Freedomways. 4: 32–34.
- Szabo, Peter S. (Fall 1994). "An Interview with Gloria Richardson Dandridge" (PDF). Maryland Historical Magazine. 89: 347–358.
Dissertations and theses
- Fitzgerald, Joseph R. (2005). Days of Wine and Roses: The Life of Gloria Richardson (Ph.D.). Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Temple University. OCLC 213097799.
- Trever, Edward K. (1994). Gloria Richardson and the Cambridge Civil Rights Movement, 1962-1964 (M.A. thesis). Morgan State University. OCLC 32190676.
- Silberman, Lauren R. (2015). "Gloria Richardson Dandridge: Crusader in Cambridge". Wild Women of Maryland: Grit & Gumption in the Free State. History Press. pp. 85–91. ISBN 9781626198111.