February 2, 2023

The Rosa Parks of D.C.

 Washington Post -  Barbara Pope, a D.C. native, ranks among the most stunning forgotten American lives. She was, in addition to being a high school teacher, an author of fiction about social change at the turn of the 20th century, and her literary voice was celebrated on the international stage by no less than W.E.B. Du Bois. Her stories probed relationships among men and women, Black and White, with a modern voice and a sharp eye for detail and character. ... But perhaps her greatest accomplishment was the stand she took against racism in transportation nearly 50 years before Rosa Parks’s bus ride: In August 1906, Pope boarded a train at Union Station and traveled into Virginia, in the process challenging Virginia’s Jim Crow law requiring segregation on trains and streetcars. She soon gained the support of Du Bois and his Niagara Movement, a precursor to the NAACP. And her case became one of the first steps along the path to the end of legal segregation — leading the way toward the NAACP’s hallmark 1954 Supreme Court victory in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka.

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