The manifesto for the Sojourners for Truth and Justice starts with: “A Call To Negro Women! Negro women of every town and state arise, come to Washington DC September 29 – October 1, and demand of the President, the Justice Department, the State Department, and the Congress absolute, unconditional redress of grievances.”
The year was 1951, post World War II. A group of 132 Black women responded to the call and traveled from across the US to the nation's capital. Among them were some of the most progressive and inspired Black women activists, artists, and thinkers of the time, including
Alice Childress, Shirley DuBois, Esther Cooper Jackson, Charlotta Bass, Louise Thompson Patterson, and Mary Church Terrell. Women whose stories we will discuss as part of today’s walk.
These women gathered, first at the home of Frederick Douglass, where 21-year old playwright Lorraine Hansberry, addressed the crowd and read from the manifesto, “We can not, must not, and will no longer in sight of God or man sit by and watch our lives destroyed by an unreasonable and unreasoning hate that meets out to us every kind of death it is possible for a human being to die.”
With a clear agenda and unshakeable courage, the Sojourners for Truth and Justice took their fight directly to the White House, unapologetically focusing their message on the needs of Black women. Their work continued the legacy of Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth and was a precursor to the March on Washington, and every Women’s March of the present day.
Lace-up and learn with us today! These are the heroes that our community needs to know about.