2014 Archives

SMU civil rights experts join KERA for Freedom Summer
film preview & panel discussion June 17

President Lyndon Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964
President Lyndon Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in the East Room of the White House on July 2, 1964, while the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. (center) looks on.

June 11, 2014

DALLAS (SMU) — During the Freedom Summer of 1964, more than 700 student volunteers joined with thousands of organizers and local African Americans to shatter the foundations of white supremacy in Mississippi.

The notorious violence that followed included the murders of three Civil Rights workers and the burning of dozens of churches, homes and community centers. Public outrage helped spur the U.S. Congress to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

On the heels of Freedom Summer’s 50th anniversary, two SMU experts on the turbulent era will join a former student activist and UNT law professor for KERA’s Freedom Summer Community Screening and Panel Discussion Tuesday, June 17, from 6:30–8:30 p.m., in KERA’s Community Room, 3000 Harry Hines Blvd., in Dallas.

The free event, including a preview of the June 24 PBS show “Voices of Freedom Summer,” is sponsored by KERA and the Embrey Family Foundation/SMU Embrey Human Rights Program with support from the South Dallas Cultural Center and Dallas Faces Race think-tank.

Advance registration is required by 5:30 p.m. the day of the event.

“The racist issues Civil Rights activists confronted, primarily to ensure voting rights, aren’t just in the pages of history. They’re deeply entrenched to this day, but perhaps not as overtly visible,” says SMU Embrey Human Rights Program Director Rick Halperin, event moderator.

Featured panelists will be:

Ernie McMillan, a Dallas native and former member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and Student Congress On Racial Equality (SCORE). McMillan was an integral part of Texas-based Civil Rights demonstrations that, although often successful, led to his imprisonment for more than three years.

Dennis Simon, SMU’s Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor of political science in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences and organizer of the acclaimed Civil Rights Pilgrimage, now in its tenth year.

Cheryl Brown Wattley, a University of North Texas law professor who spent more than 21 years in private practice, primarily as a criminal defense attorney and civil rights litigator. At UNT she is director of Experiential Education and teach courses in professional skills, criminal law, and professionalism.

For more details about the event, contact engage@kera.org.

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