Friday, December 27, 2013

NPR Audio- New book offers a different look at Medgar Evers

In the accompanying audio, NPR interviews Frank X. Walker, author of a new book, Turn Me Loose: The Unghosting of Medgar Evers, which features poetry told in the voices of those who played important roles in the life of the late civil rights leader.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Courthouse where trial of Emmett Till's killers held is being restored

One of the most notorious trials in American history was the one in October 1955, in which the two men who killed Emmett Till, Roy Bryant and E. W. Milam, despite overwhelming evidence, were found not guilty of his murder.

The courthouse in which that trial was held, the Sumner County, Mississippi Courthouse, is being restored to the shape it was in 58 years ago.

The restoration and improvements, which largely will be completed in the spring, culminate a journey that began more than six years ago with a formal apology from the county to Till's family. It's all part of a process, residents and officials say, to help the community face the tragic legacy of the Till case and move beyond it.
"It's part of our history," said Frank Mitchener, 80, a retired farmer and member of the bi-racial Till commission. "He (Till), of course was the catalyst that started the civil rights movement."
Funded with more than $1.8 million in federal earmark money, plus other grants, the courthouse renovation and associated improvements should lure more of the visitors who already travel to sites made famous during the civil rights struggle, supporters say. Even in its current state, the courthouse has been attracting regular bus tours and school groups.

Friday, December 13, 2013

MSSU plans annual celebration of Martin Luther King

(From Southern News Service)

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?”
 The quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is at the heart of the annual MLK Day of Service – a call for people to work together to solve problems.
 It will also serve as a central theme for the annual celebration of Martin Luther King at Missouri Southern State University. Set for the week of Jan. 20, 2014, it will include several special events and provide ways for the campus and community to be of service to others.
 The celebration will begin with the annual MLK Breakfast at 8 a.m. Monday, Jan. 20, in Connor Ballroom at Billingsly Student Center.
 “In the past, our guests (brought in for the event) have spoken at the breakfast,” said Faustina Abrahams, MSSU first year advising coordinator and a member of the university’s Diversity Committee, which sponsors the event. “This year, we wanted to focus on a local speaker who has a volunteer background.”
 Jerrod Hogan, founder of Rebuild Joplin – which was formed in the wake of the May 22, 2011, tornado – will be the speaker.
 Those attending the breakfast will have the opportunity to contribute to a community art project. Guests will trace their hands on construction paper, which will then be added to a collage created by Josie Mai, assistant professor of art, and students. At the conclusion of the breakfast, “Healing Hands Community Collage” will be unveiled.
 Cost for the MLK Breakfast is $5 per person. Tickets can be purchased at the MSSU Ticket Office or online
 Sponsorship opportunities for tables at the breakfast are available. There will be six tickets per table, with a table tent on each sponsored table. Company names will be listed in the printed program and mentioned during the event. Call for more information.
 A volunteer fair is planned for 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 21.
 Area volunteer and nonprofit organizations will set up tables in Billingsly Student Center with information about getting involved. Students and the community are invited to sign up and give their time to an organization of their choice.
 On Wednesday, Jan. 22, the Campus Activities Board will present two performances by MLK authority and impersonator Greenfair “Brother” Moses III.
 “Let Freedom Ring” will be presented at 1 p.m. in Corley Auditorium. Brother Moses will deliver one of the most powerful speeches of all time. It was a speech that King labored over as he wondered whether or not to use the phrase “I have a dream.”
 Brother Moses will also present King’s sermon known as “A Knock at Midnight” at 7 p.m. in Corley Auditorium.
 “We’d really like to see area churches attend the Wednesday evening program,” said Abrahams. “The MSSU Chamber Singers are going to open it, and we want it to feel like what it could have been like to be there for (the actual sermon).”
 Both programs are free and open to the public. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Plans made to celebrate 50th anniversary of King march through Frankfort

The Kentucky Commission on Human Rights announced plans Wednesday to observe the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s march through Frankfort:

The historic 1964 march in Frankfort advocated for legislation to help end segregation by making discrimination illegal in the area of public accommodations such as stores, restaurants, theaters and hotels, the Commission on Human Rights said in a press release.
King, the Rev. Ralph David Abernathy and baseball great Jackie Robinson were among those who traveled to Kentucky to help lead the marchers to the Capitol and speak to the crowd from the steps.
Gov. Ned Breathitt met with Frank Stanley Jr., owner of the Louisville Defender newspaper and a key organizer of the event, other state civil rights leaders, and King and Robinson, to talk about the urgent need for a state civil rights law. The march helped build support for the U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1964 and helped result in the Kentucky Civil Rights Act of 1966.

Trailblazing civil rights journalist receives honorary degree

(From Youngstown State University)

Trailblazing reporter Simeon Booker, an award-winning black journalist whose coverage of the Mississippi murder of Emmett Till in 1955 is credited with galvanizing the civil rights movement, receives an honorary Doctor of Letters degree on Sunday, Dec. 15, at the Fall Commencement ceremonies of Youngstown State University in Youngstown, Ohio.

"We are honored to have Mr. Booker return to Youngstown and Youngstown State and to be recognized for the important role he played on the front lines of the civil rights movement in this country," YSU President Randy J. Dunn said.

Booker, who moved to Youngstown at the age of seven, enrolled in Youngstown College (later renamed Youngstown State University) in 1938, but withdrew after learning that black students at the school were not allowed activity cards. As part of his visit to Youngstown, Booker will be presented with a symbolic YSU activity card at a community dinner and reception Saturday, Dec. 14, on campus.

Booker, long considered the "dean" of black journalists, was the first black staff reporter at The Washington Post and worked for more than 50 years as Washington bureau chief and White House correspondent for Jet andEbony magazines. He covered murders, marches, sit-ins and freedom rides and twice followed black troops to Vietnam. He is the recipient of the Newspaper Guild Award, a Willkie Award and the Nieman Fellowship in Journalism at Harvard University. This past January, Booker was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the National Association of Black Journalists. His book, Shocking the Conscience, was published this year by University Press of Mississippi.