Sisters in the Struggle: Ruby Doris Smith Robinson

1669 Words7 Pages
In chapter 11 of the book Sisters in the Struggle edited by Bettye Collier-Thomas and V.P. Franklin, the contributing author Cynthia Fleming uses the life experience of Ruby Doris Smith Robinson to detail women’s role in the Black Panther movement. Ruby Doris Smith-Robinson is introduced to the reader as a strong black woman whose role within the black power movement became public example to the involvement that most women played in the struggle for equal rights. Fleming essay of this prominent SNCC leader demonstrates the increasing militant role that is bestowed upon women of the era. Fleming uses Robinson’s story to deconstruct claims by male Black Power advocates that women in the movement were just doing a “man’s job”. Ruby Doris Smith-Robinson’s position as executive secretary in the Atlanta branch of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee was a mirror image of the backbone that women played in the Black Power message. Robinson shows this through her assertiveness, her ability to challenge male authority and selflessness in action. Women were involved in many aspects of the Civil Rights movement. Certain activists groups included the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). As the organizations carried out their missions to improve conditions for African Americans, the women shaped the ideals of the organization and helped it stay afloat. In the beginning phases of SNCC, very few women had been offered the opportunity to hold a leadership position within the organization. During a demonstration in Rock Hill, South Carolina, Ruby- Doris Smith-Robinson began her career as an activist when she sat thirty days in the York County jail for a sit-in protest. After the thirty day jail
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