Civil Rights

U.S. Embassy The Hague via Flickr

  North Carolina outperforms most states when it comes to teaching civil rights education to K-12 classrooms, according to a new study by the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance project.

The center assigned A-through-F grades to each state based on their education standards and resources available to teachers. North Carolina scored a “B,” a drastic improvement from the “F” it received in a similar report from 2011.

Twenty states received “F’s,” while 14 received “D’s.” The study notes that twelve states require no teaching of the civil rights movement at all.

Triad Update

Jan 21, 2014
The lunch counter where Greensboro students staged a civil rights sit-in protest on display in the National Museum of American History in Washington DC.
Wikipedia author RadioFan

 Franklin McCain, civil rights activist and one of the Greensboro Four, died this month. 

Jack Moebes/Corbis

A Civil Rights pioneer has died. Franklin McCain was one of four teenagers who sat down at an all-white lunch counter in Greensboro on February 1, 1960.

"I certainly wasn't afraid. And I wasn't afraid because I was too angry to be afraid. If I were lucky I would be carted off to jail for a long, long time. And if I were not so lucky, then I would be going back to my campus, in a pine box." - Franklin McCain, interview on NPR

The freshmen from North Carolina A&T ignited a sit-in movement in the Jim Crow south that led to other key chapters in the Civil Rights era.

Derrick Ivey (Left) as C.P. Ellis and Lakeisha Coffery (Right) as Ann Atwater
manbitesdogtheater.org / Manbites Dog Theater

    

  In 1971, civil rights activist, Ann Atwater, and ku klux klan grand exalted cyclops, C.P. Ellis chaired a community meeting to handle violence in the recently desegregated Durham school system. And those meetings started a unexpected lifelong friendship between the two. A play by Mark St. Germain retells the story of this unlikely friendship in the play, Best of Enemies

mcsurely.com

  

Al McSurely has spent more than five decades fighting racism, poverty and discrimination.

In the 1960s, he was arrested for sedition in Kentucky and then for Contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over documents to the McClellan Committee. His experience in the legal system led him to start law school at the age of 48. McSurely worked for many civil rights clients, including a landmark case on behalf of UNC housekeepers.
 

UNC Press

  

The struggle for education equality in North Carolina was hard-fought for more than four decades.

It was not only a struggle for facilities that were equal to white schools, but a fight for integration and civic inclusion. Host Frank Stasio talks with Sarah Caroline Thuesen, author of “Greater Than Equal: African American Struggles for Schools and Citizenship in North Carolina, 1919-1965,” and a professor of history at Guilford College.

The four girls killed in the bombing (Clockwise from top left, Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson and Denise McNair)
http://www.flickr.com/photos/76587168@N06/ / flickr.com

  

On September 15th, 1963, the Ku Klux Klan bombed 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. The explosion killed four little girls and injured 22 others. In the violent aftermath of the bombing, two little boys were murdered.

Fred Battle went to NC A & T in the 1960s and talks about his experience getting arrested for civil rights protests.
Alexander Stephens

Today in our “August 1963” series, we hear from Fred Battle. Battle was a football star for the Mighty Tigers of Chapel Hill’s Lincoln High School, before being awarded an athletic scholarship to North Carolina A&T in Greensboro. It was there that his participation in civil rights actions expanded.

My name is Fred Battle, and in August of 1963 I was entering into my sophomore year at North Carolina A&T State University. And we were up in the D.C. area where we were playing Quantico Marines in a football game.

Millie Dunn Veasey went to the March on Washington and was the first female president of the Raleigh-Wake NAACP.
Alexander Stephens

Our “August 1963” series continues today with Millie Dunn Veasey. Veasey is 95 years old—she was born in Raleigh in 1918. During World War II, she served overseas with the Women’s Army Corps. Veasey returned home to attend St. Augustine’s College, where she worked as executive secretary to President James Boyer. While there, she became active in the Raleigh civil rights movement, eventually serving as the first female president of the Raleigh-Wake NAACP.

Howard Clement is serving his 30th and final year as a councilmember this fall.
City of Durham

Today in our “August 1963” series looking back at North Carolina at the time of the March on Washington, we meet Howard Clement. Howard, as his friends say, is one of the few people in Durham everyone knows simply by his first name. He first moved to Durham in 1961, shortly after finishing law school, to work as an attorney for North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company.

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