Barbara Phillips interview on the civil rights movement and women's rights
Part of a series of interviews recorded at WLP International with WLP partners following transnational partners meeting, September 2015 (for use in Human Rights webinar).
This interview is with Barbara Phillips, social justice activist, civil rights lawyer and former Program Officer responsible for the women’s rights portfolio of Peace and Social Justice Program of the Ford Foundation. She describes her childhood during black segregation in Memphis, Tennessee, USA. Describes 1800s background of civil rights movement, segregation as non-consistent with US Constitution. One of children attending desegregated previously all white school, 1960. Describes early activism, involvement in Poor People’s Campaign, making connections between racial injustice and economic injustice. Describes assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in hometown, ensuing military presence as Barbara marched with father. Describes work in Mississippi, worst of segregated states, need for legal change and community activism to make legal change reality. Describes becoming civil rights lawyer, Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights, growing awareness of women’s movement with understanding connections of oppression, intersection of race, gender, class. Discusses today’s continuing struggle, feminist movement in USA, backlash against progress made, religious fundamentalism. Discusses Black Lives Matter movement arising from understanding in ways previously not. Refers to Palestinian people, connecting militarization of Police in USA with military action in Palestine. Observes new consciousness from young people with vision of a just world connecting varied social justice movements, with oppression of people in common, dignity of all respected.
Describes Women’s Learning Partnership (WLP) as extraordinary organization, committed to democratic leadership when democracy under tremendous attack.