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Free USA TODAY event offers lessons on the struggle for freedom


As a college student, Cortland Cox persuaded his Howard University classmates to protest at white-only restaurants, demanding integration. He will then sit on the executive committee of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, a pivotal group for civil rights. He also helped organize the March on Washington in 1963 and the Freedom Summer in Mississippi in 1964.

In another part of the segregated South, James Clyburn was elected president of his NAACP youth chapter in Sumter, South Carolina. He was 12 years old. Today, he continues to advance civil rights as the majority whip in the United States House of Representatives, making him the most senior black in Congress.

Cox and Clyburn will join other civil rights leaders to share their experiences in the fight against white supremacy at a live USA TODAY virtual event, “A Change Is Coming: Civil Rights Leaders Explain How To Fight For Freedom . The event is free and is scheduled for December 14 at 7 p.m. EST. Register here.

Free USA TODAY event offers lessons on the struggle for freedom
Free USA TODAY event offers lessons on the struggle for freedom
House Majority Whip James Clyburn, DS.C., and Courtland Cox, Chairman of the SNCC Legacy Project Board of Directors, will join other civil rights leaders to share their experiences in the fight against white supremacy at the a live virtual USA TODAY event.
House Majority Whip James Clyburn, DS.C., and Courtland Cox, Chairman of the SNCC Legacy Project Board of Directors, will join other civil rights leaders to share their experiences in the fight against white supremacy at the a live virtual USA TODAY event.
House Majority Whip James Clyburn, DS.C., and Courtland Cox, Chairman of the SNCC Legacy Project Board of Directors, will join other civil rights leaders to share their experiences in the fight against white supremacy at the a live virtual USA TODAY event.
MATT ROUKE, AP; WITH THE AUTHORIZATION OF COURTLAND COX

The event is part of USA TODAY’s “Seven Days of 1961” series, which explores how sustained acts of resistance can change history and overcome systemic racism. The multimedia project includes a series of podcasts, graphic novels, reports, videos and other content spanning seven pivotal days of protest in 1961 that helped fuel the civil rights movement. These protests continue to inform political movements today.

The project comes in the midst of a year of racial reckoning for many American institutions, with debates taking place in the White House, Congress, state houses, local police departments and school boards on how the nation’s history of slavery and white nationalism continues to create barriers for marginalized people. communities.

The December 14 event was organized in conjunction with the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC

Aaron Bryant, curator at the museum, will host a panel discussion at the event alongside USA TODAY national correspondent Deborah Berry, who designed the “Seven Days of 1961” project. Along with Clyburn and Cox, the panelists are Arekia Bennett, executive director of the youth civic engagement organization Mississippi Votes, and LaTosha Brown, co-founder of the Black Voters Matter Fund and the Black Voters Matter Capacity Building Institute.

“Seven Days of 1961”, a series about Americans who resisted racism and changed history

USA TODAY’s “Seven Days of 1961” traces crucial moments that sparked a new era of civil rights that inform today’s social justice movements

Jasper Colt, USA TODAY

The event will also include a performance by the Morgan State University Choir, one of the nation’s most prestigious college choral ensembles, and a performance by poet Evie Shockley, an award-winning poet whose writing includes “The New Black” and ” semi-automatic “.

This is the third live event hosted by USA TODAY as part of the “Seven Days of 1961” series.

You can watch the November “Seven Days of 1961” live event, “Power to the People: How Voting Laws Shaped the United States and Black America”, here. The event included a panel discussion featuring Derrick Johnson, president and CEO 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 US Representative Nikema Williams from Georgia. Lance Wheeler, director of exhibits at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, co-moderated the event with Berry. He also presented a musical performance of the Florida A&M University Concert Choir conducted by director Mark Butler.

Free USA TODAY event offers lessons on the struggle for freedom
Deborah Barfield Berry
Jarrad henderson

You can watch the September “Seven Days of 1961” live event, “Freedom Now: How Institutions of Power Fuel and Stall Change”, here. It features a musical performance by Charles Neblett, one of the first Freedom Singers, a group launched in 1962 to raise funds for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Tracy K. Smith, a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet who was the 22nd United States Poet Laureate from 2017 to 2019, read an excerpt from her work.

Participants also heard from panelists Ja’Mal Green, a Chicago Black Lives Matter activist; Georgia State Senator Kimberly S. Jackson; Brenda Travis, an NAACP student leader in the 1960s; and Gerard Robinson, vice president for education at the Advanced Studies in Culture Foundation at the University of Virginia. Daphne Chamberlain, Associate Professor of History at Tougaloo College, and Berry from USA TODAY moderated the event.

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