Celebrating Civil & Voting Rights at UMass Lowell

Professor Bob Forrant sent the following:

University of Massachusetts Lowell Spring 2015

“ In 1964, President Johnson put pen to paper and signed the Civil Rights Act into law. Fifty years later, few pieces of legislation have defined our national identity as distinctly, or as powerfully. By outlawing discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, the Civil Rights Act effectively ended segregation in schools, workplaces, and public facilities. It opened the door for the Voting Rights Act, and the Fair Housing Act. And it transformed the concepts of justice, equality, and democracy for generations to come.”

                          — President Barack Obama

Matt Herron  – ‘Selma to Montgomery Photo Exhibition’
March 23 – April 30, Gallery, University Crossing, 220 Pawtucket St., Lowell, with Opening reception, 5:00pm, March 30th, University Crossing.
Photojournalist Matt Herron is a lifelong activist, conscientious objector and civil rights proponent. His photographs are in the permanent collections of the George Eastman House, the Smithsonian Institution, the High Museum of Art, and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. He is the subject of several profiles, including “Witness in Our Time: Working Lives of Documentary Photographers” and a cover story in the Princeton Alumni Weekly, June 2014. Herron documented the struggle for civil rights across the South and has put together an 30 print exhibition of photographs that cover the civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery. The Selma March led directly to passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  He is author of a new book Mississippi Eyes: The Story and Photography of the Southern Documentary Project (2014).

Callie Crossley  – March 26, 4:00pm.
O’Leary Learning Commons, South Campus
A broadcast journalist and host of Under the Radar, which airs on Sunday evenings from 6:00 to 7pm. on WGBH, 89.7 FM, she is a panelist on WGBH-TV’s “Beat the Press” and a frequent host of WGBH-TV’s “Basic Black”, focusing on current events concerning communities of color. She has two Harvard Fellowships—from the Nieman Foundation for Journalism and the Institute of Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government. Crossley was a producer for Blackside Inc.’s Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Years, which earned her an Oscar nomination, a National Emmy, and the Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia Award (Gold Baton). For Boston Public Radio, Crossley has earned the AP, Edward R. Murrow and Clarion awards.

Included at this event is a UMass Lowell Choral Union performance led by Thomas Malone of songs from Marvin Gaye’s 1971 album What’s Going On?

Civil Rights Film Series at Luna Theater – March 27 – 30
Mill No. 5, 250 Jackson St., Downtown Lowell
For films and further details: 5.lunalowell.com/luna.

Professor Jason Sokol – April 2
South Campus, 4:00pm, Location TBA
Author of the recently published All Eyes Are Upon Us: Race and Politics From Boston to Brooklyn (2014), University of New Hampshire history professor Jason Sokol will discuss his book, which one commenter noted, “is an original and insightful exploration of the recent history of America’s paradoxical racial soul; simultaneous promise and advance on one side, and disillusionment and retrogression on the other.”

University Orchestra Spring Concert – April 10, 7:30pm.
Durgin Concert Hall, South Campus
A Peace and Human Rights themed concert. For details: Mark_Latham@uml.edu.

‘Earthrise Mass’ by Derek Weagle – April 25, 6:30pm.
Durgin Concert Hall, South Campus
Performance to include selected movements from “Earthrise Mass,” which will be performed as part of the Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts. “Earthrise Mass” is a work for orchestra and chorus written by UMass Lowell Music student Derek J. Weagle.

Day Without Violence – April: TBA
O’Leary Learning Commons, South Campus

Charles Cobb and Judy Richardson – April 30, 4:00pm.
O’Leary Learning Commons, South Campus
A journalist, professor, and former activist with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Charles Cobb is a senior analyst at allAfrica.com, and was a visiting professor at Brown University and Duke University. He is the author of This Nonviolent Stuff’ll Get You Killed: How Guns Made the Civil Rights Movement Possible. From 1962-1967 he served as a field secretary for SNCC in Mississippi. He began his journalism career in 1974 as a reporter for WHUR Radio in Washington, D.C. In 1976 he joined the staff of National Public Radio as a foreign affairs reporter, bringing to that network its first regular coverage of Africa. From 1985 to 1997, Cobb was a National Geographic staff member, traveling the globe to write stories on places from Eritrea to Russia’s Kuril Islands. On July 24, 2008 the National Association of Black Journalists honored Cobb’s work by inducting him into their Hall of Fame.

A documentary filmmaker and civil rights activist, Judy Richardson was Distinguished Visiting Lecturer of Africana Studies at Brown University and is a visiting scholar at Duke University. A veteran of the southern Civil Rights Movement and early staff worker with SNCC, she began her film work with the Academy Award-nominated, 14-hour PBS series, Eyes on the Prize, for which she was Series Associate Producer and Education Director. She is a leading scholar with the SNCC Legacy Project and co- author of a brilliant book, Hands on the Freedom Plow: Personal Accounts by Women in SNCC. Her documentary Scarred Justice: The Orangeburg Massacre 1968, produced with Northern Lights Production and co-produced with Bestor Cram, aired nationally on PBS in 2010. It examines the 1968 Orangeburg, South Carolina student massacre — one of the many overlooked incidents of violence of the Civil Rights Movement. Of it, Julian Bond said, “This masterful film casts a brilliant light on events shamefully obscured for decades.” Howard Zinn agreed, “This hidden piece of history has now been brought to light in a powerful, passionate documentary.”

Student Creative Work Projects
Students will present several projects in Graphic Arts, Music and Creative Writing throughout the semester as part of the 50th Anniversary Commemoration of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act.

For further information, contact Robert_Forrant@uml.edu.