Gloria Tucker was born April 14, 1946 in Batesville, Mississippi, where she grew up in a farming community in the Jim Crow South. She remembers that her parents owned their land, and the family was actively involved in their church and 4H Club. The young Gloria worked on the farm and did the farm bookkeeping. She was at the forefront of the integration process in that state’s school system, attending a local one room schoolhouse, and later Batesville Elementary and South Panola Training (later High) School. Gloria came of age in the heady days of the mid-60s, and as a teenager she witnessed Mississippi’s Freedom Summer, and saw the efforts of the voter registration drives. Her own parents were actively involved in the movement and NAACP, taking risks and fighting for their right to vote as well as a better life for their children. At the age of 18, Gloria and other high school students presented their own demands, asking for a more equitable education with better books and facilities. They won that fight, and set a tone for the generation to follow. Gloria left Mississippi and headed north, spending her working years in Michigan, where she raised a family. She did return to Batesville though, where she returned to the activism of her youth, pressing for political and social and economic changes, and pursuing her vision of social justice – and running for local office and urging voter registration. Gloria Tucker is the older sister of Alice Pretlow, who spoke with the American History class in 2021; Gloria visited the Social Justice and Equity class in 2022 with her family friend Cheryl Johnson, where students had the chance to zoom with the two ladies, and to hear about their lives and ongoing determination and involvement in the fight for racial justice.
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