- Steven J. Niven
journalist and civil rights activist, was born Daisy Lee Gatson in Huttig, Arkansas, to parents she would never know. She may also have had four brothers. Bates learned as a child that three white men had attempted to rape her mother, who died while resisting them. Realizing that a black man in Arkansas could not successfully prosecute whites for murder, and fearing reprisals if he attempted to do so, Daisy's father left town shortly afterward, leaving his infant daughter with his friends Orlie and Susie Smith who adopted her Daisy enjoyed the close love and attention that came from being an only child but the Smiths could not protect her from the most pernicious manifestations of white supremacy in Jim Crow Arkansas verbal and physical abuse from whites substandard education and minimal economic opportunities Her childhood was also scarred by the presence in town of one of her mother ...
A version of this article originally appeared in African American National Biography.