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Lend Me a Tiara

In the 1960s, valiant Americans put their bones and bodies, their livelihoods and lives on the line to halt the ravages of racism. At the decade’s opening, black people in many places could not safely vote, attend integrated schools and universities, marry a white person, purchase a home in a nice neighborhood, or sit at a Woolworth’s lunch counter. We had never had a post-Reconstruction U.S. senator, major airline pilot, Supreme Court justice, network TV drama star, mayor of a large city, NBA coach, congresswoman, member of the New York Stock Exchange, or Vogue magazine cover girl.

By the end of the decade, African Americans—determined that the blood of civil rights martyrs not be spilled in vain—were rewriting history ...

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