Judy Richardson

Judy Richardson is an American documentary filmmaker, and civil rights activist. She was Distinguished Visiting Lecturer of Africana Studies, at Brown University.[1]

Judy Richardson
Judy Richardson still.jpg
Judy Richardson at Choices at Brown University, April 2012
Alma materSwarthmore College
OccupationActivist, filmmaker
Known forStudents for a Democratic Society,
Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee


Richardson was born in Tarrytown, New York.[2] She entered Swarthmore College in 1962.[3] During her freshman year at Swarthmore, Richardson joined the Swarthmore Political Action Committee (SPAC), a Students for a Democratic Society affiliate. In 1963, Richardson traveled by bus on weekends, with other SPAC volunteers, to assist the Cambridge, Maryland, community in desegregating public accommodations.[4] The Cambridge Movement was led by civil rights activist Gloria Richardson, with assistance from Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) field secretaries such as Baltimore native Reggie Robinson. Richardson eventually joined the SNCC staff at the national office in Atlanta, where she worked closely with, among others, James Forman, Ruby Doris Smith-Robinson, and Julian Bond.

When the national office moved to Mississippi, during 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer, Richardson relocated as well. Richardson also worked in SNCC's projects in Lowndes County, Alabama (with Stokely Carmichael/Kwame Ture and others) and in Southwest Georgia. In 1965, Richardson became office manager for Julian Bond's successful first campaign for the Georgia House of Representatives; she also organized a northern Freedom School to bring together young activists from SNCC's Southern projects and Northern support offices.

In 1968, Richardson and other former SNCC staffers founded Drum and Spear Bookstore in Washington, D.C., which became the largest black bookstore in the country. Richardson was also the children's editor of Drum and Spear Press. In 1970, Richardson wrote an essay on racism in black children's books, published by Howard University's Journal of Negro Education.

Richardson attended Columbia University and received her degree from Antioch College in General Studies.[5] In 2012, Richardson received an honorary degree from Swarthmore and spoke at the 2012 commencement ceremony. [6]

In 2019, Richardson was the keynote speaker for National History Day. [7]

Richardson serves on the board of directors of the SNCC Legacy Project.[8]

Films and publicationsEdit

Richardson was researcher and series associate producer for the series Eyes on the Prize.[9] Richardson later co-produced Blackside's 1994 Emmy and Peabody Award-winning documentary, Malcolm X: Make It Plain (for PBS's The American Experience).

Serving as a senior producer for Northern Light Productions in Boston, Richardson produced historical documentaries for broadcast and museums, with a focus on African American historical events, including: a one-hour documentary called Scarred Justice: Orangeburg Massacre 1968 (South Carolina) for PBS; two History Channel documentaries on slavery and slave resistance; and installations for, among others, the National Park Service's Little Rock Nine Visitor's Center, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (Cincinnati), the New York State Historical Society's "Slavery in New York" exhibit, and the Paul Laurence Dunbar House (Dayton).

Richardson co-edited, Hands on the Freedom Plow: Personal Accounts By Women in SNCC published by University of Illinois Press. The book won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work, Nonfiction in 2011.


  1. ^ "Home | Africana Studies". www.brown.edu. Retrieved 2019-06-03.
  2. ^ "Judy Richardson". Zinn Education Project. Retrieved 2019-06-03.
  3. ^ "Judy Richardson '66". www.swarthmore.edu. 2014-07-08. Retrieved 2019-06-03.
  4. ^ Holsaert, Faith S.; Noonan, Martha Prescod Norman; Richardson, Judy; Robinson, Betty Garman; Young, Jean Smith; Zellner, Dorothy M. (2015-11-06). Hands on the Freedom Plow: Personal Accounts by Women in SNCC. University of Illinois Press. ISBN 9780252098871.
  5. ^ History Makers https://www.thehistorymakers.org/biography/judy-richardson-41
  6. ^ "Judy Richardson '66". www.swarthmore.edu. 2014-07-08. Retrieved 2019-06-03.
  7. ^ "Judy Richardson". National History Day. Retrieved June 14, 2019.
  8. ^ "SNCC Legacy - Board of Directors". sncclegacyproject.org. Retrieved 2019-06-03.
  9. ^ "Judy Richardson at The Lecture Bureau - Civil Rights Author, Filmmaker, Speaker Bio & Booking Information". Archived from the original on 2012-04-05. Retrieved 2013-03-10.

External linksEdit