Consequential Impact of the Civil Rights Movement: Implications for Advancing Social Justice in the 21st Century

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A National Symposium

November 20–21, 2015

New York University
Washington, D.C.

Introductory Remarks

I’m Debra Szybinski and it’s a real delight to welcome you to the opening session of our national symposium this year on advancing social justice from classroom to community. As many of you know this is a topic that your liaison officers determine a year in advance so we are thankful to them for coming up with this suggestion. I am also aware that this is the fifteenth year of the FRN National Symposium and it just seems to get better each time. . . .

We have over 175 colleagues with us this weekend and we’re hoping you will find the sessions engaging, productive, and enjoyable. And now it is an honor and a pleasure to introduce this afternoon’s panel moderator, Dr. Beverly Wade Hogan. Dr. Hogan has enjoyed a long and distinguished career as a public administrator, educator, community leader, and humanitarian, serving as president of Tugaloo College since May 2002. She is the first woman and the 13th president to lead this historic institution. Dr. Hogan has more than 25 years of executive level management experience as a mental health administrator, state government official, and college administrator. She has been an adjunct faculty member in administrative law, public policy, and leadership, and a guest lecturer in policy analysis and women’s studies seminars. Please join me in welcoming our good friend and colleague, Dr. Hogan.

Beverly Wade Hogan:

Good afternoon. I cannot tell you what a pleasure it is for me to be here doing this particular task today. When Debra talked to me about this, and talked to me about the topic, I think I got so engaged with her in talking about the people who could really do this, and looking at people who not only brought the scholarship to focus on advancing social justice, but those persons who also had lived experiences. As I was walking in this afternoon I said to one of the speakers that this could be a tagline—don’t you think Dr. Srinivasan—for Tougaloo College—Advancing Social Justice from the Classroom to the Community. We certainly have done that in terms of from the community to the classroom, but it is so important today, as we look at where we are in our nation and in the world, that we begin to look at how we can instill . . . social justice into the classroom and into the community, so that we can continue to build a continuum of individuals who are inspired to make a difference. It is our charge to help prepare them to be productive in a changing global economy.

I’d like to ask the speakers to join me—it’s such an honor and a privilege for me to be here with them and to be able to introduce them to you—Dr. Simmons, Dr. Ladner, Dr. Cobb, please come forward. These are individuals—and I will introduce them individually, but let me say collectively—who have been on the front lines of social change as young people, as students, but one of the common threads throughout their lives is that they have never wavered from that commitment, and [they] found a way to make it a part of their professional lives.

The activities at which they were engaged—the Civil Rights Movement, largely in Mississippi—not only changed the state of Mississippi, and the social, economic, and political fibers of that state, but changed a nation and influenced world democracy as we know it today. I often say that it’s difficult for any emerging democracy to think about that without thinking about the United States of America, and its difficult to think about the United States of America without thinking about the South, and its difficult to think about the South without thinking about Mississippi, which was certainly a poster child during those years, and its difficult to think about Mississippi without thinking about the small liberal arts college that served as the intellectual battleground for social change and civil rights during those days. It was a safe haven and each of these individuals had an opportunity in one way or another to walk those hallowed grounds of that historic institution. . . .

Go to the table of contents for:
Spring 2016: Advancing Social Justice from Classroom to Community