UF oral history program team to conduct interviews in Mississippi Delta region
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Samuel Proctor Oral History Program at the University of Florida will return to the Mississippi Delta next week to continue research on the civil rights movement in Mississippi with veteran civil rights activists and leading scholars of the Mississippi Freedom Movement.
A research team of 12 UF undergraduate and graduate students will work with the Sunflower County Civil Rights Organization to conduct oral history interviews in the historic region. The team will focus on uncovering the movement’s origins, analyzing its impact and documenting contemporary legacies in a region that gave birth to what’s considered the most important independent political party in American history, the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party.
This year marks the fifth anniversary of the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program’s Mississippi Delta research trip. On the way, students will stop in Tallahassee to spend an afternoon with Laura Dixie, an organizer of the 1956 Tallahassee Bus Boycott and a lifelong civil rights and labor organizer. Dixie will discuss her work with the Rev. C.K. Steele, a legendary Florida civil rights leader, and other movement activists.
Another highlight of the Sept. 18-23 research trip includes a public history symposium at Delta State University in Cleveland, Miss. Each year, the panel features movement veterans, historians, educators and area youth to discuss social movement organizing, civic engagement and lessons that can be drawn from civil rights organizations such as the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. This year’s panel includes Bill Chandler, a veteran of the United Farm Workers and director of the Mississippi Immigrant Rights Alliance, and John Due, an attorney who worked in voter registration in Mississippi and who played an important role in the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
Last year, the panel drew more than 200 participants, the majority of whom were middle school and high school students. Teachers, students and community activists who attend this event will receive free educational DVDs on the histories of the civil rights movement in Mississippi and Florida.
Each of the interviews collected during this research trip will be deposited in a publicly accessible archive at UF and with the Sunflower County Civil Rights Organization in Mississippi for educational use.
This research trip is co-sponsored by William De Grove, the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, UF’s Office of the Vice President for Research, UF Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere (Rothman Fund), the Sunflower County Civil Rights Organization, the Sam Block Civil Rights Organization and the Patricia Stephens Due and John Due Freedom Foundation.
For more information, go to http://www.history.ufl.edu/oral/.
- Paul Ortiz, email@example.com, 352-392-7168