Gloria Ray Karlmark was 15 years-old when she entered Little Rock Central High School. Due to the color of her skin, she was harassed, threatened and abused regularly when she attended the previously all-white high school. For example, one white classmate consistently called her names and bumped into her. One time, the student knocked her across the floor. She endured hatred and violence to achieve racial integration in schools. Unfortunately, the Governor of Arkansas, Orval Faubus, refused to allow integration to continue to occur, so he closed all of Little Rock’s high schools.
After Faubus closed all of Little Rock’s high schools, Karlmark and her family moved to Kansas City, Missouri, where she completed her high school education. She then studied at Illinois Institute of Technology, where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and Mathematics. She went on to work as a research assistant at the University of Chicago Research Medical Center. Karlmark later worked as a technical writer and systems analyst for the International Business Machine’s Nordic Laboratory in Sweden. She stayed in Sweden and studied patent law at Kungliga & Registreringsverket. After graduating, she practiced as a patent attorney for a few years. Karlmark then founded and became editor in chief of an international journal entitled Computers in Industry. She has since worked in Hilversum for Philips Telecommunications and in Eindhoven for Philips Lighting. Karlmark eventually retired in Amsterdam.
Karlmark has been recognized for her bravery and determination as a member of the Little Rock Nine. She earned the Spingarn Medal from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. She also received the Congressional Gold Medal from President Clinton. Gloria Ray Karlmark and the rest of the Little Rock Nine were extremely influential to the Civil Rights Movement.
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If you would like to learn more about your rights or believe that you have been discriminated against please visit the Civil Rights Justice Center located at 2150 N. 107th Street in Seattle Washington or visit our website at civilrightsjusticecenter.com
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