The Delta State University Quality Enhancement Plan, and the DSU Diversity Committee invites the public to a special panel and book signing Sept. 8 at 6:30 p.m. in the Charles W. Capps, Jr. Archives and Museum Building. The event is titled “In Remembrance of Margaret Block, Civil Rights Movement Organizer: Voting Rights, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.”
During the week of Sept. 6-11, the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program (SPOHP) at the University of Florida, returns to the Mississippi Delta to conduct oral history research on the civil rights movement in Mississippi and the American South. A highlight of this year’s trip will be the public panel. The event is co-sponsored by Delta State University and the University of Florida.
The panel will focus on “Voting Rights, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow,” and the event will honor the memory of Margaret Block, an organizer of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in Bolivar County in the 1960s. Block was a life-long human rights activist.
The panel will begin with the world premier screening of a new documentary titled “Celebrating the Life of Margaret Block, Civil Rights Activist.” The first 50 audience members and educators who attend the event will receive a free copy of the Margaret Block Remembrance DVD, as well as a booklet copy of SPOHP’s award-winning “I Will Never Forget: Memories from Mississippi Freedom Summer,” which contains first-hand accounts from SNCC veterans on the Freedom Movement in the 1960s.
This year’s panel will feature Mississippi State University’s Jason Ward, who will discuss his new book, “Hanging Bridge: Racial Violence, and America’s Civil Right Century.” The book was recently published by Oxford University Press. Ward will be signing copies of his book after the discussion.
Delta State instructor of political science, Arlene Story Sanders, will discuss voting restrictions in Mississippi. Sanders is chair of the DSU Diversity Advisory Committee.
Rounding out the panel will be Paul Ortiz, author of the award-winning books “Emancipation Betrayed” and “Remembering Jim Crow.” Ortiz will speak about voting rights and democracy in the United States.
Since 2008, SPOHP has worked under the guidance of a number of organizations during this annual civil rights history field work trip. These include the Sunflower County Civil Rights Organization, the Sam Block Civil Rights Organization, the Natchez Museum of African American History and Culture, Veterans for Peace, United Food & Commercial Workers, as well as the Equal Justice Initiative and the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama. Each of the interviews collected during the history of the project are publicly accessible to all at the University of Florida’s Mississippi Delta Freedom Project Digital Collection, which can be accessed at http://ufdc.ufl.edu/freedom
Panel co-sponsors include: the Delta State University Quality Enhancement Plan, the DSU Diversity Committee, the University of Florida Office Of Research, the Robert and Gay Zieger Social Justice Scholarship Fund, William De Grove and Mark Proctor.