If you’ve ever been taught extensively about the civil rights movement, then chances are that you’ve come across the iconic black-and-white photograph of Gloria Richardson from 1963, showing the brave activist pushing a National Guardsman’s bayonet to the side as she walked past a crowd. Going on to become an influential civil rights leader in her home state of Maryland and throughout the country, Richardson has reportedly passed away in her Manhattan home less than three months after her 99th birthday, according to the New York Times.
The Maryland native leaves behind two daughters, two granddaughters, and a great-grandson among others.
Gloria Richardson, known as Glorious Gloria, famously waved away the bayonet of a National Guardsman at a protest in 1963. “It was half fear and half God,” she said. https://t.co/uZGi9kiMLG pic.twitter.com/DF234NKnqD
— The New York Times (@nytimes) April 3, 2018
In May 1922, Richardson was born Gloria St. Clair Hayes in Baltimore, the New York Times reported. At the young age of 16, she went on to attend the prestigious Howard University, according to the outlet, and graduated with a sociology degree. Richardson also apparently came from an affluent family, with her grandfather becoming Cambridge City Council’s first-ever Black member.
In her famous 1963 photo, Richardson was reportedly on her way towards a group of protesters in Cambridge, Maryland, when she courageously moved the attached bayonet of a National Guardsman’s gun with her hand, showing no signs of visible fear or second-guessing.
That same year, she helped create the Cambridge Nonviolent Action Committee in the Maryland city, and later took on a role as the group’s co-chairwoman, according to the New York Times. In late 1963, her civil rights efforts were noticed enough for Richardson to receive an invite to speak at the March on Washington.
Our hearts go out to Richardson’s love ones during this time.