When you think about prominent women of the civil rights movement who comes to mind? Rosa Parks? Mary McCloud Bethune? Fannie Lou Hamer?

Although women in the movement were oftentimes marginalized, black women played an integral role in the fight for civil rights. One such woman was Arkansas’ Daisy Bates.

Daisy Bates was the head of the Arkansas NAACP and led the fight to integrate Little Rock’s Central High School. Along with being partly responsible for desegregating the schools, Bates was a staunch feminist, a newspaper publisher, and a self-educated woman. Despite being an American hero, very few people outside of Arkansas know about her contributions to civil rights.

Recently filmmaker Sharon La Cruise brought Daisey Bates’ story to film and is spreading the word about this true civil rights leader.

Watch “Daisy Bates: First Lady of Little Rock” and share it with everyone you know! 

Watch Daisy Bates: First Lady of Little Rock on PBS. See more from Independent Lens.

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  • lulu

    i watched it -it was g reat- bravo to pbs for showing little know black history facts

  • sli

    Great film, thank you Ms. La Cruise for bringing this wonderful black woman to our attention.

  • Viviane

    Beautiful, brave, smart and didn’t let men of any color push her around. It’s no mystery to me why our “brothers” omitted her from the telling of the tales around how civil rights became a reality in this country.

    There are no women heroes of the civil rights movement the way black men tell it, and the way black men tell it is the way it gets printed in the history books compiled by white people.

  • Alexandra

    Glad this was done. I’ve never heard of her, but I’m happy to know of her now.
    Thanks for sharing.

  • As a native of Arkansas, now living in New York, I watched awestruck and wondered… Why don’t I know about Daisy Bates? We must make a concerted effort to unearth and elevate more of these forgotten, or undervalued stories and voices. What a terrific role model for women- of all colors and all ages! I am grateful that Sharon La Cruise has brought her story to life in such a meaningful and memorable piece of work.