Living Legends: Black History Month

The program read “Living Legends of the Civil Rights Movement,” but it just as easily could have been called “Living History.” So many people came out to hear Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton moderate a discussion with civil rights leaders Rep. John Lewis and Julian Bond, former chairman of the NAACP, that there was a line down the block outside Busboys & Poets where the event was held on Monday night, February 27, in honor of black history month.

All three panelists were activists with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Council (SNCC) in the 1960s. They talked about a time when “the south was terrorist territory.” They shared some of the atrocities, including a man who had a kidney problem and stopped at the only bathroom for miles to relieve himself. He got no relief. Instead, he was shot in the back and killed. It was a white only bathroom.

Norton, Lewis, and Bond talked about Bloody Sunday in Selma, the passage of the Voting Rights Act, the March on Washington, and, of course, Martin Luther King, Jr. For two plus hours, the crowded room was spellbound as history came alive. In order to accommodate as many people as possible, bleachers and chairs were added to the stage behind the speakers. What was encouraging was that so many of those faces were young. And in the audience itself was an older crowd which included a former Time magazine journalist who covered civil rights in the 1960s, former SNCC members, and even a Freedom Rider, Joan Trumpauer Mulholland.

The evening ended with a Q&A and one of the questions was about Obama. Rep Lewis said that “the election of Obama was not the dream; just a down payment.”

 

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3 responses to this post.

  1. Interesting! Sounds like a good night…

    Reply

  2. Very interesting topic, and you wrote it so eloquently. I have just created a blog regarding the history of African Americans beginning from the 1600’s up until now, noting just about every African American who has contributed to the success and betterment of mankind and then towards civil rights. Please join me, I’d be most honored, kindly, Penny Liberty

    Reply

  3. wow, that would have been a great event to attend. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

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