As part of the library’s civil rights series Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle, the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library currently hosts the traveling exhibit “Stand Up!: Mississippi Freedom Summer of 1964” through March 2.
In 1964, Freedom Summer made Mississippi the central battleground of the civil rights movement. Hundreds of northern students, most of them white, joined black Mississippians to register voters, conduct Freedom Schools and promote civil rights. Throughout the summer, project staff endured threats, arrests, beatings, bombings and murder.
“Stand Up!” looks at events of that memorable summer. It is accompanied by historic film footage as well as Educating for Democracy, a collection of primary source documents related to Freedom Summer. The exhibit is sponsored by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.
Other Created Equal events
“In the Matter of Thought: State Law and Interracial Marriages in Loving v. Virginia” (at library) — Dr. Stephen Middleton of Mississippi State University looks at state laws that banned interracial marriages and reasons behind them. He suggests it was not simply a matter of rule of law but of the belief systems of a majority of whites at the time. Middleton invites the audience to examine challenges existing today around race, religion and gender. He will show clips from the film “The Loving Story.”
“The Role of Convict Labor in the Industrial Development of Birmingham, Alabama” (library)–Karen Utz, curator of the Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark in Birmingham, discusses Alabama’s convict leasing system, in effect from 1866-1928 (last state to outlaw this system). Robert Patton, Alabama governor in 1865, declared the state’s felons, rather than being housed in the penitentiary, should be “leased.” Utz focuses on early state and local laws, horrendous working conditions and similarities between the institution of slavery and the leasing system. Clips from the film “Slavery by Another Name” will be shown.
“The Mississippi Civil Rights Movement in Contemporary Times” (R.E. Hunt Museum and Cultural Center) — Flonzie Brown Wright, author and civil rights advocate, examines the role of youths in the movement, importance of women in the struggle, impact of slavery and impact today of obtaining the right to vote. She examines current strategies for achieving community participation and proactive involvement.
“African-American Heroes” (children’s program, library) — Children dress up as their favorite African-American hero during Mother Goose’s Story Time and can share what they know about their hero. Heroes can be famous people such as Frederick Douglass, Martin Luther King Jr., Maya Angelou or President Obama. Or could be influential, but lesser-known, individuals like Elizabeth “Bessie” Coleman, Lewis Howard Latimer or Elizabeth Freeman.
“Discovering Our Past with American Girl Dolls (children’s program, library) –Intended for school-age girls and boys interested in learning more about Lowndes County and Columbus’ past. Includes a short photo presentation of the area through the years and interactive activities highlighting American Girl Doll time periods from our past.
Created Equal is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) that uses documentary films to encourage community discussion of America’s civil rights history.
The Columbus-Lowndes Public Library partners with Mississippi University for Women, the R.E. Hunt Museum and Cultural Center and the Columbus Arts Council to hold this community-wide series of lectures and discussions.
The Created Equal film set is possible through a major grant from the NEH as part of its Bridging Cultures initiative, in partnership with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. The Created Equal series is also sponsored by the Mississippi Humanities Council.
For more information, call 662-329-5304.
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