July 2, 2014 — A series of evocative lectures, films and a national traveling exhibit exploring two major civil rights movements that changed America is planned July 12-Aug. 22 in Springfield. The series includes a July 31 talk by two sisters whose father lent his name to the landmark, 1954 U.S. Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education.
The national traveling exhibit, which opens with guest speakers and music at 1 p.m. July 12 at the Library Center, 4653 S. Campbell Ave., is called “Changing America: The Emancipation Proclamation, 1863 and the March on Washington, 1963.”
The exhibit launches a six-week series that includes the talk at 7 p.m. July 31 at Central High School by sisters Cheryl Brown Henderson and Linda Brown Thompson. Cheryl graduated from Central High School in 1961 while the family lived in Springfield. Their late father Oliver L. Brown joined other families to challenge racial segregation of children in Topeka, Kan., public schools. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that such segregation violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
In this 60th anniversary year of the case, the sisters will share the story of “Brown v. Board of Education and How it Changed America.” Their visit is sponsored by the Friends of the Library and The Library Foundation.
The event is free and open to the public. A handicapped-access entrance is located on Jefferson Avenue. The program will include a talk, a short video about the case and an audience Q&A.
The series is sponsored by the Springfield-Greene County Library District and the Greater Springfield Race & Faith Collaborative. It caps the collaborative’s yearlong focus on race and race relations.
“We are pleased to have been selected as a site for this exhibition,” said Gay Wilson, Planning & Development Librarian. “The dramatic story of how these two pivotal events came into being, a century apart, and how each helped put the nation on a course toward fulfilling its commitment to liberty and justice for all, is one that can inspire all Americans.”
About the exhibit
The Library Center is the only site in Missouri until 2015 that the public can view the exhibit. It examines the events leading up to the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, and the March on Washington in 1963.
Both grew out of decades of bold actions, resistance, organization, and vision. One hundred years separate them, yet they are linked in the larger story of a struggle for liberty which brought together different races, classes and ideologies and had a profound impact on the generations that followed.
This grant-funded exhibit, “Changing America: The Emancipation Proclamation, 1863 and the March on Washington, 1963,” is presented by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture and the National Museum of American History in collaboration with the American Library Association Public Programs Office. The tour of the exhibition is made possible by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the Human Endeavor. The films are part of the Created Equal film series, developed by the National Endowment for the Humanities in collaboration with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.
Schedule of events July 12-Aug. 22
Exhibit Opening Ceremony, Saturday, July 12, 1-3 p.m. Library Center auditorium. H. Wes Pratt, Missouri State University equal opportunity officer, will discuss how these historical events grew out of bold actions and vision. The band Geezer will perform protest songs that affected social change through the ages, including the Civil Rights Movement. The exhibit, and a sample of the images displayed at the Park Central Branch Library, continues through Aug. 22.
Marching Towards Justice: Nannie Helen Burroughs and the Quest for Race Equality, Tuesday, July 15, 7 p.m., Library Center auditorium, for adults. Dr. Angela Hornsby-Gutting, associate professor of history at Missouri State University, will talk about race activist Nannie Helen Burroughs. She operated the National Training School for Women and Girls in Washington, D.C., from 1909-1961, instilling racial pride while promoting the dignity of black labor and black womanhood.
Book Discussion, “Kindred,” Thursday, July 17, 6:30 p.m. Brentwood Branch Library, “Kindred” by Octavia Butler.
“The Loving Story,” Saturday, July 19, 1 p.m., Moxie Cinema, 305 S. Campbell Ave., for adults. Free admission. This 2012 HBO documentary follows interracial couple Richard and Mildred Loving, convicted of miscegenation after they were married in 1958. The U.S. Supreme Court later ruled in the couple's favor, overturning bans on interracial marriage throughout the country.
Dr. Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement, Tuesday, July 22, 7 p.m., Library Center auditorium. Dr. King’s rhetoric and the Civil Rights Movement transformed the nation. Dr. Richard Schur, professor of English at Drury University, will explore King’s speeches and how his message changed over his lifetime. Schur will consider the country’s progress regarding race relations and identify areas where we need to draw on the spirit of King to advance the cause of freedom.
"Slavery by Another Name,” Tuesday, July 29, 6 p.m., Library Center auditorium. This 2012 PBS documentary challenges the belief that slavery in the United States ended with the Emancipation Proclamation. The film tells how, even as chattel slavery ended in the South in 1865, thousands of African-Americans were pulled back into forced labor with shocking force and brutality. It was a system in which men, often guilty of no crime at all, were arrested, compelled to work without pay, repeatedly bought and sold, and coerced to do the bidding of masters. Tolerated by both the North and South, forced labor lasted well into the 20th century.
Book Discussion “March: Book One,” by John Lewis. Wednesday, July 30, 7 p.m., Library Center auditorium.
Brown v. Board of Education and How it Changed America, with Sisters Linda Brown Thompson and Cheryl Brown Henderson, Thursday, July 31, 7 p.m., Central High School auditorium, 432 E. Central St. Linda Brown Thompson and Cheryl Brown Henderson will share their experiences as daughters of the named plaintiff in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case, Oliver L. Brown et. al. vs. the Board of Education of Topeka.
“The Abolitionists,” Sunday, Aug. 3, 1:30-4:30 p.m., Library Center auditorium. The 2013 PBS special dramatizes how abolitionist allies Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, Harriet Beecher Stowe, John Brown and Angelina Grimké turned a despised fringe movement against chattel slavery into a force that changed the nation.
“Freedom Riders,” Thursday, Aug. 7, 6-8 p.m., Springfield Art Museum, 1111 E. Brookside Drive. This 2010 PBS film documents the story behind a courageous band of civil rights activists called Freedom Riders, who in 1961 challenged segregation in the American South.
Springfield’s Family Album, week of August 11. The Springfield Art Museum with Memphis, Tenn., photographer, installation and performance artist Richard Lou will produce a program exploring race and identity through images and stories. For details call 837-5700.
Slavery in America: The Final Chapters, 1863-1865, Monday, August 18, 7 p.m., Library Center auditorium. Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation marked the beginning of the end of slavery, but it took two more years of struggle before the peculiar institution would finally disappear from American life. Learn what happened during those years from Dr. Greg Renoff, associate professor of history at Drury University.
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