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Mourning the Passing of Civil Rights Pioneer Gloria Richardson

Posted on 7/20/2021 10:47:21 AM

The Cabrini University community joins the nation in mourning the passing of Gloria Richardson, who left us on Thursday, July 15, 2021.

Richardson was the first woman to lead and sustain a Civil Rights movement outside of the Deep South, when she sparked the Cambridge Movement in eastern Maryland in 1962. She helped to organize sit-ins at restaurants, theaters, and other venues to demand that Black people have access to jobs, quality public education, decent housing, suitable healthcare, and desegregated public spaces. An Associated Press obituary lauds Richardson as “one of the nation’s leading female civil rights activists” whose grassroots action is considered to be an early foundation of the Black Power movement and an inspiration for a wave of young activists in the 1960s and 1970s. 

Richardson was the recipient of the Cabrini History and Political Science Department’s 2015 Ivy Young Willis and Martha Willis Dale Award, which recognizes a woman who has made a noteworthy contribution to the civic life of her community: local, regional, national, or international.

View more photos from that event on Cabrini’s Flickr account.

In the spirit of Cabrini’s mission, Richardson influenced and continues to influence the global efforts for human rights. Cabrini’s own Joseph R. Fitzgerald, PhD, wrote the definitive biography of Richardson, The Struggle is Eternal: Gloria Richardson and Black Liberation.

“The Cambridge Movement was the soil in which Richardson planted a seed of Black power and nurtured its growth,” said Fitzgerald. “Everything that the Black Lives Matter movement is working at right now is a continuation of what the Cambridge Movement was doing.”

Cabrini University and the Department of History and Political Science are planning a memorial to honor the life and legacy of Gloria Richardson this fall; more information on that memorial will be available at a later date.

Please read more about the life and passing of Gloria Richardson via the Associated Press (Gloria Richardson, civil rights pioneer, dies at 99) and New York Times (Gloria Richardson, Uncompromising Civil Rights Advocate, Dies at 99).