Brenda Travis of McComb, Mississippi, encountered the dangers of merely existing in Jim Crow’s America as a child after witnessing her brother’s unlawful arrest in the middle of the night. It would be that event that inspired a young Travis to enter the arena, ready and willing to fight for injustice.
After partnering with a civil rights organizer in town, 16-year-old Travis led a sit-in at the local Greyhound bus station. She became known as a member of the McComb Five, where she’d not only be the youngest participant, but the only woman in the movement. Despite being jailed for a month and expelled from school, Travis’ existence and hunger for justice elevated the local movement which sparked strikes and marches.
In this episode of Black History In Two Minutes or So hosted by Henry Louis Gates Jr., with additional commentary from Imani Perry of Princeton University and Hasan Jeffries of Ohio State University, we look at a young activist who quickly recognized the power in rallying like-minded people in the name of advanced equal rights for all.
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Archival Materials Courtesy of:
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• Everett Collection, Inc.
• Getty Images
Additional Archival Material Courtesy of:
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• Robert F. Smith
• Henry Louis Gates Jr.
• Dyllan McGee
• Deon Taylor
• William Ventura
• Romilla Karnick
• Oovra Music
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