Civil Rights Movement

Actor Meshaun Labrone playing Stokely Carmichael in a new one-man show.
DJ Corey Photography / Courtesy of the Artist

Note: This conversation is a rebroadcast from February 16, 2017.

In the early 1960s, Stokely Carmichael was a relatively-unknown young activist working primarily with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in Alabama and Mississippi. But he rose to prominence in the summer of 1966 when he introduced the term “black power” into the national dialogue.

Freedom In Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, UNC Southern Historical Collection
Leoneda Inge / WUNC

There were many memorable freedom songs made famous during the Civil Rights movement. Anthems like “We Shall Overcome” gave disenfranchised people of color strength while facing down their oppressors.

An image of MLK
Public Doman

“I have a dream tonight. It is a dream rooted deeply in the American dream.”

Eight months before Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington D.C., he spoke these words to a crowd of 1,800 people in a Rocky Mount gymnasium on November 27, 1962.

An image of Ella Baker speaking
The Ella Baker Center for Hman Rights / Wikipedia Creative Commons

We recently sent out a survey asking about monuments in North Carolina. The State Director of Historic Sites said North Carolina needs more monuments, and we want to know who you want to see receive a monument, memorial or statue. Click here to fill out your response.

Michael Hill of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources recommends honoring Ella Josephine Baker in a statue on the grounds of Shaw University in Raleigh. Baker was a prominent civil rights leader, and helped start the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in 1960.

Image of Benjamin Hedin, who is a widely published author and essayist. His latest book is 'In Search of the Movement: The Struggle for Civil Rights Then and Now.'
Sheila Griffin

On July 2, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act, which outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. The law ended unfair voter registration requirements and racial segregation in schools and workplaces.

Unfortunately, that law did not end discrimination, and people around the country continue to fight every day for equal rights and freedom. 

Rev. Gil Caldwell (far right) with Martin Luther King, Jr.
truthinprogress.com

In 2007, Methodist Reverend Frank Schaefer performed the marriage service for his son Tim's wedding.

The seemingly routine action dramatically altered Schaefer's career because the same-sex union was prohibited by the church. Schaefer’s performance of marriage vows put him at the center of a controversy. He was stripped of his credentials but after a trial, the defrocking was overturned.

Rex Miller

Tennis legend Althea Gibson emerged from South Carolina to break color barriers in professional tennis.

In 1956, she became the first person of color to win a Grand Slam tournament, and went on to win Wimbledon and the U.S. Open the following year. 

She became a champion despite the rules of the segregation era, a time when country clubs would not allow her to dress in their clubhouses. 

The new documentary “Althea” provides a glimpse of how she did it.

A photo from Grenada, Miss., where Nan Elizabeth Woodruff studies the legacies of terror and violence against people of color.
Matthew Nichols / Flickr Creative Commons

  This year marks the 50th anniversary of many monumental moments of the civil rights movement.

And a group of scholars and activists gather today at the National Humanities Center to push for increased dialogue about how the historical violence against people of color continues to resonate today.

Shoebox Lunch
Leoneda Inge

Those re-enacting the historic Voting Rights march from Selma to Montgomery will gather on the steps of the Alabama state capitol today.  The event wraps up more than a week of commemorations marking the 50th anniversary march.  

Penn State Special Collections

    

Rev. Clark Olsen still remembers every detail of the incident that killed a fellow white minister in Selma, Alabama 50 years ago.

Rev. Olsen was one of many clergy members that arrived in Selma on this day in 1965 to show solidarity with black voting rights protestors, and he was at the side of Rev. James Reeb when four segregationists attacked them on the night of March 9, 1965.

Rev. Reeb died two days later. Rev. Olsen now lives in Asheville and still works to keep the memory of Selma and Rev. Reeb alive.

    

2015 marks the 50th anniversary of key moments in the civil rights movement, including Bloody Sunday and the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Malcolm X waiting for a press conference to begin on March 26, 1964.
U.S. News & World Report Magazine Photograph Collection, Library of Congress / Wikimedia Commons

The messages of civil rights leader Malcolm X still resonate 50 years after his assassination.

Conversations about Islam in America, police shootings and freedom of the press are as relevant in 2015 as they were on the day of his death: February 21, 1965.

Duke University and UNC-Chapel Hill start a two-day conference to examine the legacy of Malcolm X today.