The Cabrini College community bestowed the Ivy Young Willis and Martha Willis Dale Award upon Gloria Richardson, a civil rights pioneer. The award was inaugurated in 1992 through the generosity of William G. Willis, to honor his late wife. Ivy Young Willis was a teacher, administrator and reading consultant whose work at WQED in Pittsburgh led the way for the teaching of reading on public television.
The title of the award was amended to honor the impact of and memory of Martha Dale, William and Ivy’s daughter, and her time at Cabrini College. Martha passed away in 2012.
The award is presented annually to a woman who has made an outstanding contribution in the field of public affairs. This is the first time a civil rights leader has been so recognized.
This year’s honoree, Gloria Richardson is best known as the leader of the Cambridge Movement, a local human rights struggle in Maryland’s Eastern Shore town of Cambridge during the early 1960s. Under Richardson’s leadership, the Cambridge Movement established the goal of overthrowing Cambridge’s racial caste system that included inadequate living wages, poor housing, and lack of healthcare. The Cambridge Movement utilized the tactics of passive resistance and armed self-defense to achieve these goals. Importantly, the social justice focus of the Cambridge Movement signalled the beginning of the Black Power phase of the modern Black liberation struggle.
Ms. Richardson was born in Baltimore in May 1922 and went on to earn a B.A. in Sociology in 1942 at Howard University, an historically black institution in Washington, D. C.
The Ivy Young Willis and Martha Willis Dale Award honors the belief that women have a unique talent for improving the climate and conduct of public affairs.