Brief Biographies of Champions of Social Justice, Part 1 Susan B. Anthony, Ida B. Wells Barnett, Cesar Chavez, Frederick Douglass, Ruth B. Ginsburg, Martin Luther King, Lewis, Marshall, Rosa Parks, Chief Plenty Coups, Jack Robinson, Eleanor Roosevelt, Bayard Rustin, Harry Truman, Helen Zia

Brief Biographies of Champions of Social Justice, Part 1 [The editors of Americans All ] (? - ?) Susan B. Anthony, Ida B. Wells Barnett, Cesar Chavez, Frederick Douglass, Ruth B. Ginsburg, Martin Luther King, Lewis, Marshall, Rosa Parks, Chief Plenty Coups, Jack Robinson, Eleanor Roosevelt, Bayard Rustin, Harry Truman, Helen Zia

     Social justice is a political and philosophical theory which asserts that there are dimensions to the concept of justice beyond those embodied in the principles of civil or criminal law, economic supply and demand, or traditional moral frameworks. Social justice tends to focus more on just relations between groups within society as opposed to the justice of individual conduct or justice for individuals. Simply stated, social justice means equal rights and equitable opportunities for all. 
    The numbers in [bold brackets] identify the images in the photograph collection at the bottom of the page. If a story is in our Heritage Honor Roll (some are still in development), the champion's name is hyperlinked as the source.

Brief biographies of the Champions of Social Justice, Part 1​

Susan Brownell Anthony (February 15, 1820–March 13, 1906)
     Born into a Quaker family [1], her belief in the equality of all under God led her to be an abolitionist, temperance campaigner and suffragist. At Seneca Falls in 1851, she met Elizabeth Cady Stanton and for fifty years they were founders of the National Woman Suffrage Association. In 1876, she delivered her fiery “Declaration of Rights of Women” speech. A gifted orator, she campaigned for the women’s right to vote, and the 19th Amendment was named after her. In 1979, the U.S. Mint issued the Susan B. Anthony dollar, the first U.S coin to depict a female citizen.  (Videos)  Source

Ida B. Wells-Barnett (July 16, 1862–March 25, 1931)
     Ida B. Wells-Barnett, [2] a Black woman of striking courage and conviction, was an investigative journalist, educator, and early leader in the civil rights movement. One of the founders of the NAACP, she achieved nationwide attention as leader of the anti-lynching crusade. Raised in Mississippi, where she was born into slavery, she became part-owner of a newspaper, the Memphis Free Speech. In 1892, in response to an article on a local lynching, a mob ransacked her offices and threatened her life if she did not leave town. She moved to Chicago and in 1895, she published The Red Record, the first documented statistical report on lynching. In 1913, she formed the Alpha Suffrage Club for Woman.  (Videos)  Source

Cesar Chavez (March 31, 1927–April 23, 1993)
     He was a Mexican American labor activist, [3] community organizer and businessman. During the 20th century, he was a leading voice for migrant farm workers (people who move from place to place to find work). Along with Dolores Huerta, he co-founded the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA), which, after mergers, became the United Farm Workers (UFW) labor union. Ideologically, his world-view combined leftist politics with Roman Catholic social teachings. His efforts greatly improved working and living conditions and wages for farm workers. The enduring legacy of César and the farm worker movement includes passage of California's Agricultural Labor Relations Act of 1975, the first law in the U.S. that recognized farm workers' collective bargaining rights.  (Videos)  Source

Frederick Douglass (c.1817–February 20, 1895)
     After escaping from slavery in Maryland, he [4] became a statesman and social reformer. As a major leader of the abolitionist movement in Massachusetts and New York, he become famous for his oratory and incisive antislavery writings. From 1845-47, he toured Great Britain, where his speeches aroused popular support for his cause. The British public’s money bought his freedom so that he could return to the U.S. without fear of being captured as a fugitive slave. Douglass's weekly journal, The North Star, together with his platform appearances, made him a major political force in the years leading to the Civil War. When the war came, Douglass called for the use of Black troops; his two sons served in the Union army.  (Videos)  Source

Ruth Bader Ginsburg (March 15, 1933–September 18, 2020)
     Known fondly as the "Notorious RBG," [5] she was the first Jewish woman and the second woman to serve as an Associate Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. Prior to her nomination by President Bill Clinton, she spent much of her legal career as an advocate for gender equality and women's rights. In 1972, she co-founded the Women's Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and in 1973, she became the Project's general counsel. Legal scholars and advocates credit her body of work with making significant legal advances for women under the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. Her legal victories discouraged legislatures from treating women and men differently under the law.  (Videos)  Source

Jovita Idár (September 7, 1885--June 15, 1946)
     She [6] was a fearless Mexican journalist who fought to end racial exploitation, social oppression and unequal education. Her father was a civil rights advocate and owner of La Crónica (which she inherited), a newspaper which offered information to Hispanics and exposed the discrimination they experienced. She began as a teacher but immediately identified economic disparities and lack of educational support as an outright attack on Hispanic students’ rights to education. She believed that education should be free and equal, no matter how much money a family had or what language they spoke.  (Videos)

Martin Luther King Jr. (January 15, 1929–April 4, 1968) 
     He was [7] the most important voice of the American civil rights movement, which worked for equal rights for all. A Baptist minister, he was famous for using nonviolent resistance (marches, boycotts) to overcome injustice, and never got tired of trying to end segregation laws (laws that prevented Blacks from entering certain places, such as restaurants, hotels, and public schools). He also did all he could to make people realize that "all men are created equal."  In 1957, he became the first president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Because of his great work, in 1964, he received the Nobel Peace Prize—the youngest person ever to receive this high honor. He was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, when he was just 39 years old. His birthday is now observed as a national holiday.  (Videos)  Source  

John Lewis (February 21, 1940–July 17, 2020)
     A Democrat, [8] he served as an elected public official from 1982 through 2020, elected to the U.S. House, representing Georgia's 5th Congressional District in 1987. One of the "Big Six leaders of the Civil Rights Movement,” he was also an original Freedom Rider—a bus rider in 1961 testing compliance with Supreme Court decisions declaring segregation on interstate transit and in facilities unconstitutional. In 1963, he became chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, where he organized student protests such as sit-ins. He also helped organize the March on Washington. At 23-years-old, Lewis was the youngest speaker at the march. He was the last living speaker. In 2011, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama.  (VideosSource

Audre Geraldine Lorde (February 18, 1934–November 17, 1992)
     Born in New York City, a daughter [9] of West Indian immigrants, she was a writer, feminist, womanist, librarian and civil rights activist. A self-described "Black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet," she dedicated both her life and her creative talent to confronting and addressing injustices of racism, sexism, classism, heterosexism, and homophobia. Her poems express anger and outrage at civil and social injustices she observed throughout her life. Throughout her career, she included the idea of a collective identity in many of her poems and books; she did not just identify with one category, but she wanted to celebrate all parts of herself equally. In 1981, she co-founded Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press, which was dedicated to furthering the writings of Black feminists.  (VideosSource