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Patricia Stephens Due

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Information about Patricia Stephens Due

Profile image of Patricia Stephens Due

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
Occupation(s):
Civil Rights Activist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Black, Purple, Red
Favorite Food:
Macaroni and Cheese
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall, Winter
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
Just Do Your Best And That's All You Can Do.

Birthplace

Born:
12/9/1939
Birth Location:
Gaston County, Florida

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
Occupation(s):
Civil Rights Activist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Black, Purple, Red
Favorite Food:
Macaroni and Cheese
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall, Winter
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
Just Do Your Best And That's All You Can Do.

Birthplace

Born:
12/9/1939
Birth Location:
Gaston County
See how Patricia Stephens Due is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Patricia Stephens Due has been a lifelong civil rights activist. For over forty years she has been steadfast in her commitment to the modern civil rights movement and in teaching younger generations about the history of the Black freedom struggles during the second half of the 20th century. Due was the leading force in the nation’s first “Jail-In”, as a college student at Florida A&M University in 1960, she chose a jail cell rather than paying a fine for sitting at the “Whites Only” lunch counter at a Woolworths store in Tallahassee, Florida.

Due was born in 1939 in Quincy, Florida to Lottie Mae Powell Stephens and Horace Walter Stephens. She was a middle child of three. Her sister Priscilla was born in 1937 and her brother Walter in 1941. Her childhood years were spent in an area of Quincy called St. Hebron (a rural family community) and in Miami and Belle Glade in southern Florida. At age 13, she and her sister defied segregationist laws in Quincy when they stood in the line at a Dairy Queen marked WHITE ONLY, ignoring the COLORED WINDOW. Due graduated from high school in Belle Glade and entered Florida A&M University (FAMU) in Tallahassee in the fall of 1957.

During the summer of 1959, Due and her sister attended an interracial workshop on non-violent civil disobedience sponsored by CORE – The Congress of Racial Equality. After that, she organized FAMU students and led her sister and five others in a lunch counter sit-in. Thus began Due’s life-long commitment to the civil and human rights struggles of black Americans.

In 1963, Patricia Stephens married FAMU law student, John D. Due, Jr., a prominent civil rights attorney. In 1964, Due was selected by CORE to serve as Field Secretary for the organization’s first voter education and registration project in North Florida. Due’s North Florida CORE Project registered more Blacks than any other region of the South.

Due continued to be involved with protest marches and boycotts after her successful voting rights work. Although, she was suspended several times from FAMU for her activism, her speaking and fund-raising tours also interfered with her studies. Due did not receive her degree until 1967.

Due’s dedication to the Civil Rights Movement has inspired a generation of young Black and White students to make extraordinary sacrifices to secure the rights protected in the Constitution for all Americans. Over the years, Due has given lectures, presentations, enactments and workshops on civil rights history to thousands of high school and college students, parents, teachers and to church and civic groups across the country.

Due co-authored with her daughter Tananarive Due, Freedom in the Family: A Mother-Daughter Memoir of the Fight for Civil Rights (ONE World/Ballantine, 2003). The book, too, is both a detailed history of the 1960’s civil rights activism in Tallahassee and across Florida, and a personal, intimate and painful look at the sacrifices and consequences to one family who gave their lives to the Civil Rights Movement and progress. Due and her daughter chronicle the price of activism both on their family and on the families of other civil rights activists they knew and worked with.

FAMU awarded Due an honorary doctorate degree. She is also the recipient of the Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Outstanding Leadership, the Ghandi Award for Outstanding Work in Human Relations from FAMU and NAACP Florida Freedom Award.

She and her husband live in Quincy, Florida. They have raised three daughters: Tananarive Due, a prize winning novelist, Johnita Due Willoughby and Lydia Due Greisz, both attorneys-at-law.

Patricia Stephens Due passed away on Feburary 7, 2012.

See how Patricia Stephens Due is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Patricia Stephens Due's interview, session 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Patricia Stephens Due lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Patricia Stephens Due describes her mother's family background, pt. 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Patricia Stephens Due describes her mother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Patricia Stephens Due talks about the demographics of Gadsden County, Florida
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Patricia Stephens Due describes her father
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Patricia Stephens Due describes her earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Patricia Stephens Due recalls her childhood in Quincy, Florida
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Patricia Stephens Due lists her siblings
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Patricia Stephens Due remembers Belle Glade, Florida
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Patricia Stephens Due describes the sights and smells of her childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Patricia Stephens Due recalls her mother's influence
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Patricia Stephens Due describes her early education
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Patricia Stephens Due recalls segregation in Belle Glade, Florida
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Patricia Stephens Due describes her experience of sexual harassment
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Patricia Stephens Due recalls her activism at Lake Shore Junior Senior High School in Belle Glade, Florida
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Patricia Stephens Due recalls protesting segregation at Dairy Queen
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Patricia Stephens Due describes her peers at Lake Shore Junior Senior High School
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Patricia Stephens Due remembers her early perception of civil rights activism
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Patricia Stephens Due recalls studying music at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University in Tallahassee
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Patricia Stephens Due describes her invitation to a CORE conference in Miami, Florida
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Patricia Stephens Due remembers a CORE conference in Miami, Florida
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Patricia Stephens Due recalls founding a CORE chapter at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Patricia Stephens Due remembers the sit-ins at F.W. Woolworth Company
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Patricia Stephens Due remembers sitting-in in Tallahassee, Florida, pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Patricia Stephens Due remembers sitting-in in Tallahassee, Florida, pt. 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Patricia Stephens Due describes the university's response to the CORE sit-ins
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Patricia Stephens Due describes a tear gas attack during a demonstration
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Patricia Stephens Due recalls her jail sentence in Tallahassee, Florida
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Patricia Stephens Due recalls her parents' reaction to her incarceration
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Slating of Patricia Stephens Due's interview, session 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Patricia Stephens Due remembers her nonviolent protest training
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Patricia Stephens Due describes her time in Leon County Jail in Tallahassee, Florida
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Patricia Stephens Due recalls her lecture tour upon her release from jail
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Patricia Stephens Due describes her second arrest for protesting
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Patricia Stephens Due recalls demonstrating around the time of her marriage
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Patricia Stephens Due describes her husband's civil rights activities
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Patricia Stephens Due recalls the tension between civil rights organizations
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Patricia Stephens Due recalls becoming a CORE field secretary in Gadsden County, Florida
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Patricia Stephens Due recalls voter registration in Gadsden County, Florida
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Patricia Stephens Due recalls the reprisals to her voter registration activity
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Patricia Stephens Due describes legal action during the Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Patricia Stephens Due recalls having her children
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Patricia Stephens Due recalls her husband's suspension from the Florida bar
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Patricia Stephens Due recalls her children's education
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Patricia Stephens Due describes her book, 'Freedom in the Family'
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Patricia Stephens Due describes her daughters' work on 'Freedom in the Family'
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Patricia Stephens Due recalls the publication of 'Freedom in the Family'
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Patricia Stephens Due describes her educational programs about the Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Patricia Stephens Due reflects upon the importance of history
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Patricia Stephens Due recalls her sister's departure from the United States
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Patricia Stephens Due reflects upon her life
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Patricia Stephens Due talks about current social activism
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Patricia Stephens Due reflects upon her legacy
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Patricia Stephens Due narrates her photographs