“I was introduced to each one of the ‘Colored Girls’ by Minyon Moore. As a matter of fact I cannot remember when Minyon was not in my life… Black women have always been at the bottom of the ladder. However, they held tight to that rung and climbed it slowly, with bruised and bleeding hands until they reached the top rung. And that is what the ‘Colored Girls’ did, each one of them, individually and collectively, teaching all of us how important it is to hold on until we reach the top.” —Cicely Tyson on The Colored Girls
Nowadays, when you reference “the squad,” you might think of the four historic women lawmakers of color who made history helping to create the most diverse Congress in U.S. history in 2018. But decades before Congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) disrupted the halls of Congress, a squad dubbed the “Colored Girls” were disrupting political infrastructures in ways that would lay the groundwork for Black women in politics for decades to come.
The year was 1988. Coming to America was playing on the big screen; Murphy Brown was playing on the small screen. Hotbed political issues dominated the headlines. Democrats controlled Congress, but Republicans had the White House, and they wanted to keep it. This was the year the country would elect George H.W. Bush as president.
Just months before the election, Donna Brazile, Yolanda Caraway, Leah Daughtry, Minyon Moore, and Tina Flournoy were all working on the presidential campaign of civil rights legend Jesse Jackson. The women were not officially part of Jackson’s campaign leadership team. According to Brazile, there was a decision to move the official “leaders” to another floor. But as Brazile told the Washington Post, the fivesome “decided it was important that the campaign reflect the…