ATLANTA - In celebration of Women’s History Month, the Atlanta City Councilman Michael Julian Bond will pay tribute to eleven women born in or currently living in Georgia, who contributed to the newly-published Civil Rights history book “Hands on the Freedom Plow.”
As members of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) during the Civil Rights era, the Georgia honorees, along with 41 other women, reveal their individual experiences in the book during that turbulent moment in American history.
“Hands on the Freedom Plow” chronicles the beatings and arrests these heroines endured, as well as the unspeakable violence they witnessed. Fifty-two women of every persuasion – northern and southern, young and old, urban and rural, black, white, and Latina – share their courageous personal stories of working for SNCC on the front lines of the Civil Rights Movement.
Their testimonies present a sweeping personal history of not only SNCC, but also American history from early sit-ins to protest segregation, voter registration campaigns, and Freedom Rides; the 1963 March on Washington, the Mississippi Freedom Summer, and the early protest movements in Alabama and Maryland; as well as antiwar activism.
Each story exposes how the struggle for social change was formed, supported, and maintained by the women who kept their “hands on the freedom plow.” So important was their quest for equality that they left school, their hometowns, and went to jail to protest civil rights injustices, while fearing for their lives.
The women will be honored at 12 noon, on Monday, March 21, at the Atlanta City Hall, 55Trinity Avenue, SW, during the 1 p.m. meeting of the Atlanta City Council. Proclamations will be presented to the women by Atlanta City Councilman Michael Julian Bond in recognition of the SNCC women for their historical contributions.
“Each of the women, in their own way, truly made a difference in this world,” Councilmember Bond said during the 50th Anniversary Reunion Celebration held at Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina in 2010. “They too risked their lives and worked tirelessly, demanding a social revolution – but history has often overlooked them. We pause this month to salute their bravery, courage and perseverance. Without these women, awakening the conscience of an entire nation would have been nearly impossible.”
Additionally, on March 21, 2011 outside the Atlanta City Council Chamber (Committee Room No. 1), an exhibit of documentary photographs by Dr. Doris A. Derby, of Georgia State University, will be displayed from the Shaw University reunion of SNCC members, with emphasis on the Georgia women of the movement.
Dr. Doris Derby, one of the photographers whose pictures grace the pages of "Hands on the Freedom Plow," commented "As I look over these pictures and what they represent, I celebrate that although the present is not perfect it is vastly different."