Bernice Johnson Reagon, a teenage participant in the Civil Rights movement in Georgia in the early 1960s: “(In the demonstrations) there was a sense of power, in a place where you didn’t feel you had any power. There was a sense of confronting things that terrified you, like jail, police, walking in the street — you know, a whole lot of Black folks couldn’t even walk in the street in those places in the South. So you were saying in some basic way, ‘I will never again stay inside these boundaries.’
“What I’ve had since is a better knowledge of who I am in this society, an understanding of my power as a person to stand and speak and act on any issue that I feel applies to me in some way and therefore to other people.
“I learned that I did have a life to give for what I believed. Lots of people don’t know that; they feel they don’t have anything.. When you understand that you do have a life, you do have a body and you can put that on the line, it gives you a sense of power. So I was empowered by the Civil Rights movement.” – Diane Crothers used to introduce a course taught on Feminist Theory at GWU in 1984 with the quote above. (From They Should Have Served That Cup of Coffee: Seven Radicals Remember the 60s, by Dick Cluster, South End Press)
Civil rights attorney and lifelong advocate for equal treatment of women and people of color. Co-founder of the Women’s Rights Law Reporter, former Deputy Commissioner for Citywide Equal Employment Opportunity and New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services. Early member of Redstockings and Co-founder of New York Radical Feminists and Project Second Chance, a career development program for women.