Anna Hedgeman wasn’t one to hold her tongue, regardless of who was in the room. Would that be true even when she was in the same space as a civil rights icon – Martin Luther King, Jr. – and had to take him to task?
Yes! Hedgeman worked with community organizations and served as an advocate for Black women. She would need all of her skill sets for one of her most famous undertakings. What was it?
The March on Washington! She helped plan the historic event – often the only woman in the room. While MLK and the other leaders wanted to leave women completely out of the march, Hedgeman refused to let that happen. She went toe-to-toe with MLK, demanding that women play a role in our liberation by participating in the event.
And she got her way! She went on to spend the rest of her life advocating for Black women’s rights and organizing thousands of people around social justice, education, equal employment, healthcare, and voting rights.
As Hedgeman’s work shows, being the only woman in the room doesn’t mean it has to always be that way. When it comes to Black liberation, we must be willing to be honest about sexism and how it affects our fight for liberation. All of us have a role to play!