Civil Rights in Springfield

Conversation and Photo Exhibition
Monday, April 27, 5:30 p.m.
Mason Square Branch

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When considering the Civil Rights movement, the first things that often come to mind are the events and struggles that occurred elsewhere in the country: Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, the march from Selma to Montgomery, Rosa Parks’ refusal to give up her seat on the bus, sit-ins in North Carolina, and bus boycotts in Alabama, for starters. While these are the events that, rightfully, made for national headlines and subsequent entries in history books, there are other important tales to tell too.

Join us in the Mason Square Community Room on Monday, April 27th at 5:30 p.m. to hear the story of the Civil Rights movement in Springfield. Our host, Ayanna Crawford, will contextualize local activism within the national movement before introducing an intergenerational dialogue that audience members are encouraged to take part in.

Participating civil rights leaders and advocates, including State Rep. Benjamin Swan, former State Rep. Raymond Jordan, Councilor E. Henry Twiggs, and Rev. Karen Rucks will recount the climate in the city that incited the movement in the 1960’s, they’ll tell stories of leadership, of tireless work and strategizing, of inspiring a community, and making a movement.

They’ll also talk about some of the things that continue to hold the city and its residents back today. Attendees are encouraged to bring questions, to weigh the always-shifting nature of civil rights violations and activism, and to consider how they, themselves, can affect positive change in their neighborhood.

The conversation will be followed by a light reception highlighting the branch’s recently-acquired prints that depict the civil rights rallies and marches against police brutality that swept the city following the Octagon Lounge Incident in July, 1965. The photographs were generously donated by The Republican.

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