As I reflect on the election of 2018, I often think of the many Black women who have fought for my liberation and the rights and freedoms for so many people living in America, citizen or not. I couldn’t help but think of all of the Black women who sacrificed portions of their lives so that this country begins to live up to its ideals and promises. I am moved and motivated by their bravery and sacrifices. There are so many women we’ll never be able to thank for their service and dedication. Luckily, more and more scholars and historians are highlighting the work of Black women warriors who have not been recognized, celebrated, thanked or contextualized in the struggle for equality and liberation.

I recently had the pleasure of reading “The Struggle Is Eternal: Gloria Richardson and Black Liberation (Civil Rights and Struggle)” by Joe Fitzgerald (University Press of Kentucky, 2018) and I finished the book inspired, grateful and ready to work. Fitzgerald lays out the life and work of Gloria Richardson beginning as the leader of the Cambridge Nonviolent Action Committee, a multifaceted liberation campaign formed to target segregation and racial inequality in Cambridge, Md. In doing so, Fitzgerald also makes clear the incredibly hard work by Richardson and others in “northern” cities. Far too often, the Civil Rights Movement is seen as a series of southern struggles, but it is so important to remember and recognize the many Black women and men who had to fight to integrate spaces in northern cities just to live a life filled with the same possibilities and promises as other non-Black citizens.

To call Richardson a warrior just doesn’t seem to do her justice. In many ways her philosophies and strategies served as the backbone to the adoption of the belief that Black people had a right to self-defense. It was Richardson who served as the architect to many of the philosophies of younger activists and organizers during the civil rights struggles in the 1960s and 1970s. Her role as leader, strategist and organizer was even recognized onstage at the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

Richardson is currently 96 and has significantly decreased her public profile and demanding schedule. However, I want to honor Ms. Richardson for all she has done to change the lives of Black people and marginalized groups in this country. She is part of the foundation of the Civil Rights Movement and served as a hand steering the country toward equity and freedom. We owe a debt to her and so many other Black women who worked tirelessly on our behalf, far before we were even born. I want to honor Ms. Richardson and put in writing for perpetuity, “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.”

Christina Greer, Ph.D., is an associate professor at Fordham University, the author of “Black Ethnics: Race, Immigration, and the Pursuit of the American Dream,” the co-host of the new podcast FAQ-NYC and the host of The Aftermath on Ozy.com.