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The University of Florida’s Samuel Proctor Oral History Program will hold its 4th annual Civil Rights Movement and Oral History in the Mississippi Delta panel event on Wednesday, September 19 at 7:00 p.m. in Ewing Hall’s Jacob Conference Room on the campus of Delta State University. The panel features prominent scholars and community organizers who have participated in the Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi and beyond.
The theme of this year’s panel is, “Fannie Lou Hamer, Civil Rights Movement Organizer: Lessons and Legacies.” Panelists will explore Hamer’s approach to organizing for social change, and we will consider how these lessons can be applied today to deepen our commitment to economic justice, democracy, and a deeper understanding of American history.
GWENDOLYN ZOHARAH SIMMONS
A former Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) project coordinator in Laurel, Dr. Simmons is a professor at the University of Florida and teaches courses on Islam, Women, Religion and Society as well as African American Religious Traditions. For twenty-three years, Dr. Simmons was on the staff of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), a Quaker organization working for peace, justice, human rights and international development headquartered in Philadelphia, Pa.
A member of SNCC in the Mississippi Delta during the 1960s, Kibbee is now member of the Sunflower County Civil Rights Organization. Kibbee was a college student from northern California who was assigned to work for SNCC in Indianola during college. She was a community organizer with SNCC, and had many different responsibilities pertaining to voter registration work. Kibbee stayed in the Delta after her time with SNCC and has devoted her work to Legal Services, Veterans of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement, and prison reform groups among other organizations.
A member of SNCC and COFO in the Mississippi Delta from 1964-65, Winn returned from Mississippi to work as a longshoreman, and then went to San Francisco State College to get a teacher's credential in secondary education. At that time Winn joined the Third World Strike in 1969 at San Francisco State. Winn became a plumbing contractor and ran his business for thirty-five years, remaining vigilant in hiring minorities on his staff. Winn provided invaluable training to young people and minorities to stabilize their economic viability.
A veteran of the United Farm Workers, Chandler participated in the 1965 grape boycott effort and organized cross-border actions with Mexican and American workers to support the United Farm Workers in their efforts to improve conditions, even in the face of police harassment and brutality. Chandler is executive director of the Mississippi Immigrants’ Rights Alliance. Today, Chandler’s organizing focus is primarily with the lowest paid workers in the South, including farm workers, hospitality, health care, public and immigrant workers.
An attorney, retired circuit court judge, civil rights activist, former alderman of Berkeley, CA, author and film actor currently living in Memphis, Bailey founded the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis and wrote two books, Mine Eyes Have Seen: Dr. Martin Luther King’s Final Journey, and The Education of a Black Radical. Bailey practiced law for 16 years in Memphis before being elected as a judge on the Circuit Court of Tennessee's Thirtieth Judicial District in 1990. Bailey also portrayed a judge in the 1999 film The People vs. Larry Flynt.
Panel Organizers and Sponsors: The Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, University of Florida, co-sponsors include the Agora Club at Delta State University, Diversity Advisory Committee at Delta State University, Sunflower County Civil Rights Organization, The Sam Block Civil Rights Organization, and Patricia Stephens Due and John Due Freedom Foundation.