Freedom Rider and student leader Lucretia Collins, 1961.
Lucretia Collins was a senior at Tennessee A&I when she decided to take part in the Freedom Rides. She was one of the few Freedom Riders who opted to be bailed out, although several other riders were also seniors in college. She received her degree the day after this photo was taken.
Lucretia moved to Ghana in the mid-60s and by 1969 had “ceased to believe in non-violence as a tactic or anything else.”
I require this outfit/hairstyle.
Originally published in the photo collection Breach of Peace: Portraits of the 1961 Mississippi Freed Riders, this archival police photograph of then 19 year-old Freedom Rider Joan Trumpauer Mulholland has been making the rounds. There is much debate about what troubling discourses of race and beauty might be operating in its reception right now, as there should be — the manifold dangers in conflating beauty with truth, or in attributing to whiteness a special heroism, are real and run deep.
But I admit that I keep looking too.
The Child: How come civil rights people are so good looking? Do you have to be good looking, to be a leader?
Me: Well no, anyone can do civil rights. You only have to be good looking to be the one activist newspapers keep picking for cover stories.
[I used to wonder that too, when I was a kid and magazine lists of women role models usually included Cindy Crawford, Elle Macpherson, a pretty white civil rights lawyer and Mother Theresa. Girls can do anything! So long as you conform to heirarchal beauty norms or live like a saint!]