Civil Rights champion returns to Cambridge for ‘Reflections on Pine’
CAMBRIDGE — As part of the Eastern Shore Network for Change (ESNC) commemoration of “50 Years After the Fire: A Commemoration of Our History”, Gloria Richardson Dandridge will speak about her memories of the Cambridge Movement in the early 1960s at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 20, at the the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Resort in Cambridge.
Dandridge is one of the last surviving members of the mothers of the Civil Rights Movement, and is best known as the leader of the Cambridge Movement, a struggle for civil rights and economic opportunities for African-Americans in Cambridge in the early 1960’s. Richardson’s influence was wide ranging; she was personally invited to attend the March on Washington in 1963, but ultimately was not allowed to speak because she is a woman.
In July 1963, Attorney General Robert Kennedy — who Richardson had asked earlier to provide protection for demonstrators’ constitutional rights — met with Richardson, other civil rights activists and government officials to broker the Treaty of Cambridge, an agreement covering desegregation, housing and employment issues.
Richardson also led a protest when Alabama’s segregationist governor, George Wallace, visited Cambridge. It was only in July 1964 — the same month that the Civil Rights Act became law — that the National Guard permanently withdrew from the city.
Later, Richardson moved to New York and has worked for the National Council for Negro Women and the New York City Department for the Aging.
This February, Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford celebrated Black History Month in Cambridge by presenting a proclamation to Richardson, declaring Feb. 11 Gloria Richardson Day in Maryland.
“Maryland recognizes the courageous leadership and commitment of Gloria H. Richardson during the civil rights moment of the 1960s,” Rutherford said. “During a time of racial segregation, Gloria H. Richardson became one of the strongest advocates for economic rights, as well as desegregation. Maryland is proud to join in honoring Gloria H. Richardson for her contributions in the fight to achieve racial equality during a defining era of our nation’s struggle for civil rights for all.”
The four-day series of events entitled “Reflections on Pine: Cambridge commemorates civil rights, community & change” will run from Thursday, July 20 through Sunday, July 23.
At 7 p.m. on Friday, July 21, there will be a gala dinner honoring Harriet Tubman, Gloria Richardson Dandridge, Fred Jackson and Victoria Jackson-Stanley; four people from Dorchester County who refused to accept the status quo and worked to move our community forward.
A community conversation on race will be held at 12 p.m. on Saturday afternoon. This will be a professionally facilitated conversation about race and our community. A boxed lunch will be provided.
A 5k race entitled “Race Against Racism” will begin at 7 a.m. on Sunday morning.
Sunday morning community church service, a partnership with the Ministerial Alliance in an effort to desegregate the most segregated hour in America, will be held at 11 a.m. at Bethel AME Church.
For more information about the events of “Reflections of Pine”, visit www.reflectionsonpine.org.
ESNC’s mission is to raise awareness of issues in Dorchester County and to creatively work with the community to inform, educate, and foster change which leads to social and economic empowerment. For more information about the organization, visit our website, www.esnccambridgemd.com.
Gloria Richardson speaks after receiving an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree from Washington College during the college’s George Washington’s Birthday Convocation in 2008.