Woman Crush Wednesday – Daisy Bates

Amy Phillips

Our Woman Crush Wednesday goes out to a champion of education and integration, Daisy Bates. Tragedy found Daisy when she was very, very young – at the age of three, her mom was murdered. Her dad took off. Little Daisy was raised by family friends and attended school in Arkansas. When she was a teenager, she met her future husband, journalist Lucious Christopher “L.C.” Bates. Together, they founded the Arkansas State Press – a weekly, pro civil rights newspaper. She also became president of the Arkansas chapter of the NAACP in 1952.

Daisy Bates played a key role in a significant event from the civil rights movement – the Little Rock Nine. Three years after the Supreme Court ruling declared school segregation unconstitutional, there was still an uproar when nine students registered to be the first African Americans to attend high school in Little Rock. The governor of Arkansas was opposed to integration, so he called in the National Guard to keep the students out. But the Little Rock Nine weren’t quitters – in fact, they had been carefully selected by Ms. Bates and others from the Arkansas chapter of the NAACP, for their strength, determination and willingness to face the resistance. She supported the students, offering her home as a headquarters, for weeks, until former president Dwight D. Eisenhower sent in federal troops to protect the kids and uphold the Supreme Court ruling. She continued to offer her support when the kids were in school, since they were still harassed, often violently.

The newspaper she ran with her husband eventually folded, but she didn’t stop writing. Her description of the events surrounding the Little Rock 9 was published in her memoir, The Long Shadow of Little Rock.

Ms. Bates eventually moved to Washington, D.C. and worked for the Democratic National Committee. She was also committed to anti-poverty projects, which she worked on under President Lyndon B. Johnson’s administration.


#WCW #leadership #education #integration #dogoodbegood