Ford Motor Company Fund Salutes Mothers and the Movements They’ve Inspired

This May, Ford Motor Company Fund salutes the most essential of workers – mothers. Whether at home or at work, whether biological or bonus, mothers are the backbone of our society.
In times of chaos, they comfort us. In times of celebration, they are our biggest fans.
We honor and acknowledge motherhood, mothers and the movements they’ve inspired and ignited.
Let’s take a look at mothers and mother figures who’ve made a powerful difference, not only for their children, but for all of us across the country and around the world.
Maxine Waters – Serving as U.S. Representative for California since 1991, Waters has been a vocal leader against the Iraq War and has advocated divestment from South Africa’s apartheid regime. During her career, she has chaired the House of Financial Services and led the Congressional Black Caucus. She is the most senior African American female in Congress.
Valarie Jarett – A lawyer and businesswomen, Jarett has worked as counsel and deputy chief for Chicago mayors Harold Washington and Richard Daley. She was one of President Obama’s longest serving senior advisors. She has worn many hats including chairing the White House Council on Women and Girls and the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault.
Marian Makeba – Also known as Mama Africa, Mabeka was a South African singer, songwriter and civil rights activist. She also was an advocate against apartheid. In 1965, she received a Grammy Award for her album An Evening with Belafonte/Makeba, featuring fellow activist Harry Belafonte.
Mae Mallory – Mallory was the founder of the “Harlem 9,” a group of nine Black mothers, who protested against inferior conditions of schools in New York during the 1950’s. She noted that despite Brown vs. Board of Education, NYC still segregated the city’s school system. She encouraged open transfers for students which allowed them to attend integrated schools. She conducted legal action against the city and state of New York, securing the rights to open transfer.
Kathleen Cleaver – An activist and law professor, Cleaver is known for her involvement with the Black Power movement and Black Panther Party, which she joined in 1967. She became the communications secretary for the party and later went on to earn her law degree from Yale. She’s held multiple professorships and is currently a lecturer at the Emory University School of Law.
Dorothy Height – Heights was a civil rights and women’s rights activist who served as president of the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) for 40 years. Through the NCNW, she focused on ending the lynching of African Americans and restructuring the criminal justice system. Height is known for her transformational work with the YWCA. In 1994, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Bill Clinton and Congressional Gold Medal by President George W. Bush in 2004.
Elaine Brown – As a member of the Black Panther Party, Brown helped to set up the first Free Breakfast for Children program in Los Angeles as well as its first free busing to prison and legal aid programs. She replaced Eldredge Cleaver as minister of information and chaired the party from 1974 to 1977. She also led the successful political campaign for Lionel Wilson, Oakland’s first African American mayor. She currently is a prison reform activist and advocate.
Ida B. Wells-Barnette – She was an investigative journalist, suffragist, women’s right advocate and early leader in the civil rights movement. She is noted as one of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. In 2020, Wells was posthumously honored with a Pulitzer Prize special citation for her outstanding and courageous reporting on the horrific and vicious violence against African Americans during the era of lynching.
Ford wishes you a wonderful Mother’s Day and beyond. Join us all month via our social media pages as we salute these amazing women who move and inspire us to reach our full potential.

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