Conversation on civil rights

Written by on September 27, 2021

On March 27, 1961, 9 Black school college students sat at tables at a whites-only library and helped change the course of American historical past. The scholars, enrolled at Tougaloo School exterior Jackson, Mississippi, had been rapidly arrested, fueling a freedom motion that impressed younger folks at different traditionally Black faculties and universities throughout the nation to rally in opposition to segregation.

Sixty years later, USA TODAY is inviting readers to look at how racism continues to form our nation in a free digital occasion titled, “Freedom Now: How Establishments of Energy Gas and Stall Change.” 

USA TODAY is collaborating with Tougaloo School for this dialog on the roles legislation enforcement, media, authorities and schooling leaders serve in civil rights actions. The occasion is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 29, at 7 p.m. EDT. Register right here.

Police Chief George H. Guy poses beside the "White waiting room" sign posted outside the Greyhound bus terminal in McComb, Miss., on Nov. 2, 1961.

Police Chief George H. Man poses beside the “White ready room” signal posted exterior the Greyhound bus terminal in McComb, Miss., on Nov. 2, 1961.

The occasion is a part of USA TODAY’s “Seven Days of 1961” challenge, which spotlights seven pivotal protests in 1961 that fueled the civil rights motion and helped finish authorized segregation and prolong voting rights to tens of millions of Black People. This sprawling multimedia challenge options tales from the final era of civil rights-era veterans to be revealed from September via December.

This challenge arrives greater than a 12 months after the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and lots of different Black People. It comes amid a divisive nationwide debate over systemic racism, equal entry to the voting sales space, how we train American historical past and what function establishments such because the police, media and authorities serve in making our society protected and honest for all.

The “Freedom Now” occasion is impressed by mass conferences held in Black communities to finish segregation. These gatherings served to maintain hope alive via tune, prayer and testimony. 

It would function a musical efficiency from Charles Neblett, one of many authentic Freedom Singers, a gaggle fashioned in 1962 to lift cash for the Scholar Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, one of the outstanding organizations of the period. Tracy Ok. Smith, a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet who served because the 22nd Poet Laureate of the USA from 2017 via 2019, will learn one in all her poems. 

NAACP President Derrick Johnson

NAACP President Derrick Johnson
Scott Eisen/Getty Pictures for Smithsonian Channel

Deborah Barfield Berry

Deborah Barfield Berry
Jarrad Henderson

The panelists embody Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the NAACP; Ja’Mal Inexperienced, a Chicago Black Lives Matter activist; Georgia state Sen. Kimberly S. Jackson; Brenda Travis, an NAACP scholar chief within the 1960s; and Gerard Robinson, vp for schooling on the Superior Research in Tradition Basis on the College of Virginia. Daphne Chamberlain, an affiliate professor of historical past at Tougaloo School, and Deborah Barfield Berry, USA TODAY nationwide correspondent on race and politics, will assist reasonable the occasion. 

Viewers members can have the chance to pose inquiries to the panel. 

That is the primary of three digital occasions USA TODAY will host as a part of the “Seven Days of 1961” challenge.

Need extra information on race & identification? Subscribe to “That is America,” USA TODAY’s weekly e-newsletter. With a vibrant, unflinching look into present occasions, well-liked tradition and the important thing figures who outline life in America right this moment, “That is America” goals to spark essential conversations and construct bridges between Black, Indigenous folks, folks of colour and their allies. 

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