Melanie Campbell, CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and convener of the Black Women’s Roundtable, discusses her advocacy on behalf of Black women and her activist beginnings working for leaders of the Civil Rights Movement.
On her early years training with leaders of the Civil Rights Movement: “When you think about the Movement of the Sixties, these sit-ins … it was just part of the fabric. It was part of the street lights, if you will. Everywhere you looked, … you would be exposed to different folks who were part of the Civil Rights Movement … My freshman year, I was recruited by Tommy Dortch. And Julian Bond was the local president of the NAACP at the time, and they recruited students to get involved. So it was just really my community service work … What was driving my purpose was really trying to figure out how to help my community, how to help through social activism.”
On the need for Black women to break barriers: “The role that we play is significant … I come in the door as a woman. I come in the door as an African American. So I’m dealing with both of those realities. And I don’t get to choose which one I am. And so when we come in the door, we have to find a way to own that. And now I think what’s happening in this generation, young people … are breaking down those barriers even more and demanding more.”
This episode was recorded on November 12, 2021.