Film producer and former SNCC activist Judy Richardson was born to autoworker William King Richardson and seamstress Mae Louise Tucker Richardson in Tarrytown, New York. Richardson grew up in the "under the hill" section of Tarrytown. Her father helped organize the United Auto Workers (UAW) local at the Chevrolet plant in Tarrytown and died "on the line" when she was seven years old. Richardson graduated from Sleepy Hollow High School in 1962 and was accepted to Swarthmore College on a full, four-year scholarship. Later, Richardson would also attend Columbia University, Howard University and Antioch College.
In 1968, Richardson and other former SNCC staffers founded Drum and Spear Bookstore in Washington, D.C. It became the largest Black bookstore in the country. She was also Children's Editor of Drum & Spear Press. In 1970, she wrote an essay on racism in Black children's books, published by Howard University's Journal of Negro Education. In 1979, Richardson began working with Henry Hampton/Blackside Productions on an early version of what became the Eyes On The Prize series. Major production for that Academy Award-nominated, six-hour PBS series began in 1986, and she became researcher and content advisor. For Eyes On The Prize II, the subsequent eight-hour series, she was Series Associate Producer. Richardson later co-produced Blackside's 1994 Emmy and Peabody Award-winning documentary, Malcolm X: Make It Plain.
Currently a senior producer for Northern Light Productions in Boston, Richardson produces historical documentaries for broadcast and museums, with a focus on African American historical events, including: a one-hour documentary on the 1968 Orangeburg Massacre (South Carolina) for PBS; two History Channel documentaries on slavery and slave resistance; and installations for, among others, the National Park Service's Little Rock Nine Visitor's Center, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (Cincinnati), the New York State Historical Society's "Slavery in New York" exhibit, and the Paul Laurence Dunbar House (Dayton). Richardson has also edited, with five other SNCC women, Hands on the Freedom Plow: The Personal Testimonies of Women in SNCC. Richardson is the recipient of an Image Award for Vision and Excellence from Women in Film and Video. She lectures, writes and conducts professional development workshops for teachers about the history and values of the Civil Rights Movement and their relevance to issues we face today.