Constance Curry

By Shelby Turner

Constance Curry was born in 1933 in Paterson, New Jersey. Her mother, Hazel Curry, and her father, Earnest Curry, were both Irish immigrants. Curry was raised in North Carolina, where she graduated from high school. Despite being raised in the South, her parents weren’t natives, which impacted her mindset during the fights for equality later in her life. Her upbringing left her mind free from discrimination that plagued many Southern people during this time.

Her schooling continued at Agnes Scott College in Atlanta, Georgia. Later, she attended school at Columbia University and received a Juris Doctor degree from Woodrow Wilson College of Law.

She began working for the NSA (National Student Association) after college, which is what led her to Atlanta. She was no longer a student but was still involved in bringing students together. In Atlanta, Curry became involved with SNCC, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, as an adult advisor. She became an “official observer” to coordinate lawyers for arrests and to collect information.

She used her position as a white woman to contribute to the Civil Rights Movement. People who were against the movement never knew she was participating as she stood outside watching the sit-ins. She became close with many involved in the group including Ella Baker, Julian Bond, and Bernard LaFayette Jr.

She participated in several sit-ins throughout the movement in this role as an observer. Curry was present during the sit-ins at the Rich’s Department store in Atlanta.

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She left SNCC after it began to branch out from student-centered issues. She left to work with the AFSC –American Friends Service Committee. Curry has throughout her life been passionate about equality.

Her later life includes her continued activism in unjust human treatment. She continues to write today and publish. Her book, Silver Rights, won the Lillian Smith Book Award. She still continues to write today about inequality.