Exhibit: Women Who Dared
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  Judy Frieze Wright
  Civil Rights Activist
  Boston WWD Event 2000
  Born in 1939
  Arrested as a Freedom Rider, returned to civil rights work in Meridian Mississippi, helping to organize the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party.
 
Biography  up to top

Judy Frieze Wright was born in 1939 and raised in Newton, Massachusetts. Her grandmother was a leftist activist who was investigated by Senator Joseph McCarthy and the House Un-American Affairs Committee in the 1950s.

Wright was drawn to the civil rights movement in 1961, during her senior year at Smith college, when she heard about the sit-ins taking place in the South. Although she had not been particularly political before, she was moved by the news and inspired to join the movement. After graduation, Wright joined the Freedom Rides with CORE (Congress of Racial Equality), traveling across the south in a mixed-race group to desegregate public facilities in bus stations. Their group was arrested in Jackson, Mississippi, and Wright spent six weeks in a maximum security prison.

After her release from jail, Wright returned to Boston for graduate school. During this time, she helped to organize the Boston contingent of the March on Washington and gave many speeches about her experience with the Freedom Rides. Immediately after getting married in 1964, Wright and her husband went to work for the civil rights movement in Meridian, Mississippi. They lived there for a year, registering blacks to vote, holding sit-ins, teaching at a freedom school, and helping to organize the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party.

In addition to her work in the civil rights movement, Wright was also involved in antiwar activities, such as draft counseling, and the women's movement, organizing consciousness-raising groups. She also raised two children during this time. For the past ten years, Wright has worked for the AIDS Action Committee.

 
What She Said  up to top
ON ROLE MODELS
[My grandmother] was investigated by McCarthy, so it was a big topic of conversation in my house about my grandmother during those years ...More 
ON BEING A WOMAN ACTIVIST
There were more problems between men and women than between blacks and whites. The women's movement hadn't hit yet ...More 
ON WORK AND FAMILY
When I had children, I realized that I would never put myself on the line like that again, at least not until they had grown up ...More 
ON PATH TO ACTIVISM
I was a senior in college at the time that the sit-ins were occurring in the South. And I read about them and thought about them a lot. I was really excited about it ...More 
ON IMPACT ON WORLD
Everybody's hopes were really high that we were really going to make a huge difference. And in fact, in retrospect, we did. ...More 
ON IMPACT ON SELF
[After spending six weeks in prison in Mississippi for civil rights activism] I was very much in demand as a speaker, because that was just as things were really taking off. ...More 
ON CHALLENGES
One challenge for me was to stay brave... I don't like being in danger. I say that knowing full-well that probably most people don't, but some people kind of get off on it. ...More 
ON REWARDS
It was a wonderful thing to participate in many ways. I just can't tell you the high spirits, knowing that you were participating in this really important time ...More 
ON ADVICE FOR ACTIVISTS
If there's an issue that you're interested in, find out what groups are working on it and go talk to them. ...More 
 
Multimedia  up to top
Photographs Photographs
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How to Cite This Page
For a bibliography: Jewish Women's Archive. "JWA - Women Who Dared - Biography Judy Frieze Wright." <http://jwa.org/exhibits/wwd/jsp/bio.jsp?personID=pjwright>.

For a footnote: Jewish Women's Archive, "JWA - Women Who Dared - Biography Judy Frieze Wright," <http://jwa.org/exhibits/wwd/jsp/bio.jsp?personID=pjwright>.