Honors College Theses

Date

2022

Major

History (B.A.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Julie de Chantal

Abstract

Historians of the Civil Rights Movement in Georgia have primarily focused on how the national movement unfolded in the city of Atlanta. More recent scholarship has highlighted the role Martin Luther King Jr. played in Albany; however, many of these analyses focus on figures within the larger movement rather than focusing on local, grassroots organizers. Additionally, their primary focus tends to be on the role of Black men, leaving behind the voices of Black women who led alongside them. Through a Long Civil Rights Movement (LCRM) approach, I argue that Black women in Savannah, Georgia played an instrumental role in guaranteeing the success of the Savannah Movement by using relational organizing tactics. This strategy helped these women organize around political, social, and economic justice from the 1940s through the 1960s. My thesis shows that Black women in Savannah often served as bridge leaders in their community, unifying Black Savannahians of all genders, ages, occupations, and classes around social and racial uplift and ultimately shaped Savannah’s local Civil Rights Movement.

Thesis Summary

Through a Long Civil Rights Movement approach, I argue that Black women in Savannah, Georgia were instrumental to the success of the Savannah Civil Rights Movement by using relational organizing tactics as early as the 1940s. My thesis shows that women were bridge leaders, unifying Black Savannahians around community uplift.

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