Three Phenomenal Women of the Civil Rights Movement in Florida
Dr. Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons: Dr. Simmons has a long history in fields such as civil rights, human rights, and peace work. Both during and after college, she participated in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), one of the major organizations in the 1960s during the American Civil Rights Movement. Part of the SNCC was the Freedom Summer in Mississippi, a campaign beginning in 1964 to allow African-American women in Mississippi to vote. Dr. Simmons dedicated seven years of her life to working on voter registration and desegregation in southern states. Dr. Simmons is an Member of the Commissioner of Education’s African American History Task Force.
Sandra Parks: Parks is Active in the statewide Civil Rights Movement in Florida. Her past contributions include publishing educational books in the hopes of increasing minority student participation in gifted and academic programs. Her publications have been used not only in public schools in Florida, but also in North Carolina, Colorado, and Illinois.
Priscilla Stephens Kruize: Priscilla Stephens Kruize attended FAMU and founded Tallahassee’s chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). This young, determined activist of the Civil Rights Movement was kicked, arrested, and jailed during her impressive run. The picture above depicts Kruize’s arrest after her run in the Interfaith Freedom Rider movement, in which African-American riders challenged segregated bus systems by riding from Washington, D.C., to Tallahassee, FL. The Freedom Ride was successful; however, Kruize and 9 others, collectively known as the Tallahassee Ten, were arrested for attempting to dine in the airport’s segregated restaurants before catching a plane back to D.C. She also participated in a sit-in against lunch-counter segregation at Florida’s capital, for which she was jailed for 48 days — another instance of Kruize’s strength and determination.