Emory Report
January 30, 2006
Volume 58, Number 17


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January 30, 2006
Civil rights movement marks 50th birthday

BY Katherine baust lukens

Lectures, discussions, film screenings and a variety of special events throughout February will remind the community to take note of the 50th anniversary of the civil rights movement during Heritage Month.

“Because this is the 50th anniversary year of the civil rights movement and because of the recent loss of Rosa Parks, most of the programming is centered around those topics,” said Vera Dixon Rorie, director of multicultural programs and services and assistant dean for Campus Life.

One of Heritage Month’s opening events—and one it shares with Emory’s Founders Week celebration—will be next Sunday’s address, “Civil Rights and the University Community,” given by Rep. John Lewis of Georgia’s 5th district. The Feb. 5 event will be held at 5 p.m. in Glenn Auditorium and is free and open to the public.

Another key event will be a screening of the film, Mighty Times: The Legacy of Rosa Parks. Parks’ act of civil disobedience in 1955—refusing to give up her seat on a public bus to a white man in Montgomery, Ala.—helped give birth to the civil rights movement. The film screening will be held twice, Feb. 1 and Feb. 7, at noon in Harland Cinema. Both screenings will be followed by an informal discussion.

“The film is narrated by [Parks’] niece and is very powerful,” Dixon Rorie said. “I think it’s important to show it to this generation of students because they study the civil rights movements from books, which doesn’t foster the same emotional connection to the movement as the older generation that lived it has.”

“Experiencing Race at Emory: The Era of Desegregation” will be a signature event for Heritage Month coming out of African American studies and the Transforming Community Project, according to Dixon Rorie. The Feb. 7 event will be a panel discussion, moderated by Provost Earl Lewis and featuring five Emory alumni who graduated between 1963–73 who will share their experiences concerning race on campus.

The panelists are Delores Aldridge, Grace Towns Hamilton Professor and founding director of African American studies at Emory; Henry Ambrose, Emory College alumnus and Black Student Alliance president; Verdelle Bellamy, one of the first students to integrate Emory’s nursing school and the first African American to graduate from Emory; Marvin Arrington, law school alumnus; and Charles Haynes, an Emory College alumnus and Student Government Association president at the time when the Black Student Alliance was formed. The event is open to the public and will be held at 7 p.m. in Cannon Chapel.

Later in the month, a documentary-style video, The History of African Americans at Emory, will be screened as part of Heritage Month. Dixon Rorie said the video is adapted from a slide presentation originally created in 1985 by a graduate student in African American studies. The date, time and location of this event will be announced later in the month.

For more information on Heritage Month events, check the calendar of the Office of Multicultural Programs and Services at www.emory.edu/MULTICULTURAL/calendar/index.htm.