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Civil Rights Movement and Motherhood

  • By: Marcella Bush Trevino
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

The grassroots Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s had a profound and lasting impact on the mothers and families involved because of the often-profound experiences of activists. Some participants in the Civil Rights Movement separated their roles and parents and activists, others integrated these roles, and still others chose one role over the other. Some mothers active in the movement faced public criticism for neglecting their socially expected gender roles as wives and mothers. Children of civil rights activists continued to be affected by their parents' experiences into adulthood as they sought to establish their own identities. Adult children of renowned activists faced even more pressure due to their famous last names.

Activist parents, most often fathers, were absent from their families for long ...

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