The Free USA TODAY event offers lessons about fighting for freedom
As a college student, Cortland Cox convinced his classmates at Howard University to perform at white-only restaurants, which required mingling. He will continue to serve on the executive committee of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, an important civil rights group. He also helped organize March in Washington in 1963 and Freedom Summer in Mississippi in 1964.
In another part of the segregated South, James Clyburn was elected president of his NAACP youth division in Sumter, South Carolina. He’s 12 years old. Today, he continues to promote citizenship as a majority in the United States House of Representatives, making him the highest-ranking Black in Congress.
Cox and Clyburn will join other civil rights leaders to share their experiences fighting against white supremacy in a virtual US TODAY event, “There will be an event change: civil rights leaders on how to fight for freedom.” The event is free to attend and is scheduled for December 14 at 7 p.m. EST. Register here.
This event is part of USA TODAY’s “Seven Days 1961” series, explores how enduring acts of protest can change history and overcome systemic racism. The multimedia project includes a Channels of selected listening series, graphic novels, featured stories, videos, and other content covering seven pivotal days of protests in 1961 that helped fuel the civil rights movement. These protests continue to inform political movements today.
The project comes amid a year of racism for many US institutions, with debates underway in the White House, Congress, states, local police departments and school boards. about how the nation’s history of slavery and white nationalism continues to create barriers for the marginalized.
The December 14 event was organized in collaboration with Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC
Museum curator Aaron Bryant will moderate a discussion during the event alongside USA TODAY national correspondent Deborah Berry, who conceived of the “Seven Days of 1961” project. Along with Clyburn and Cox, the panelists were Arekia Bennett, executive director of youth civic engagement organization Mississippi Votes, and LaTosha Brown, co-founder of the Black Voter Matters Fund and the Energy Building Institute The Material Power of Black Voters.
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The event will also include a performance by the Morgan State University Choir, one of the nation’s most prestigious college choirs, and a performance by poet Evie Shockley, an award-winning poet. whose works include “new black” and “semi-automatic”.
This is the third live event USA TODAY has hosted as part of the “Seven Days of 1961” series of events.
You can watch the “Seven Days of 1961” event live from November, “Power to the People: How Voting Laws Shaped America and Black America, “here”. The event included a panel discussion featuring Derrick Johnson, president and chief executive officer of the NAACP; community activist Nupol Kiazolu; civil rights veteran Ruby Nell Sales; Valerie Jarrett, president of the Barack Obama Foundation and president of Civic Nation, a civic engagement nonprofit; and U.S. Representative Nikema Williams of Georgia. Lance Wheeler, exhibition director at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, co-moderated the event with Berry. It also features musical performances from the Florida A&M University Choir conducted by director Mark Butler.
You can watch the “Seven Days of 1961” event live from September, “Freedom Now: How are electric fuel and stall institutions changing, “here”. It features a musical performance by Charles Neblett, one of the original Liberal Singers, a group formed in 1962 to raise money for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Tracy K. Smith, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet who served as the 22nd Poet of the United States from 2017 to 2019, read her work.
Participants also heard from panelists Ja’Mal Green, a Chicago Black Lives Matter activist; Georgia Senator Kimberly S. Jackson; Brenda Travis, a NAACP student leader in the 1960s; and Gerard Robinson, vice president of education for the Foundation for Advanced Study in Culture at the University of Virginia. Daphne Chamberlain, an associate professor of history at Tougaloo College, and USA TODAY’s Berry moderated the event.