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WHAT CAN ONE WOMAN DO?

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With a beginning to life that would take the stuffing out of most of us, Daisy Lee Gatson, was a formidable woman of all times. She was just an infant when her mother was murdered. Her father left town shortly thereafter, leaving her to be raised by friends of the family.

She eventually settled in Little Rock Arkansas, with her husband and in 1941 began a weekly newspaper called the State Press. The paper was doing well until they ran a story that angrily recounted the events that lead to the murder of a black soldier by policemen.

She became the president of the NAACP in Arkansas, and in that capacity she organized the nine black students who were to attend Central High School in the fall of 1957. On August 22,two weeks before school was slated to begin, a rock crashed through her living room window with a note attached: “Stone this time, Dynamite next.”

Initial opposition to the “nine” entering the high school on September 4th, was countered three weeks later by a court order allowing them entrance to the school. Throughout the year, Bates provided emotional support for the nine students and their families to faced considerable harrassment.

Bates herself and her fellow NAACP members faced great intimidation from city officials when they demanded information regarding the members and their finances. Upon their refusal to furnish this information Daisy Bates along with other NAACP Leaders were arrested. Their convictions were later overturned by the US Supreme Court.

But During that year, two crosses were burnt on the Bate’s lawn, and two firebombs were tossed at the house. Her civil rights contributions were held in such high regard, that she was the only female selected to speak at the Lincoln Memorial March on Washington August 28,1963.