Claflin students, faculty and staff will travel to Washington, D.C., Saturday to participate in the National Action to Realize the Dream March to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington. The University also has planned a series of screenings centered on the history of the civil rights movement that will be shown during the upcoming months.
The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom took place 50 years ago on Aug. 28 at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. It was during this march that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech that has reverberated for decades. On Aug. 24, a rally will be held at the Lincoln Memorial followed by a march to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial.
Claflin University President Dr. Henry N. Tisdale remembers when Claflin University was one of the epicenters for civil rights, and that many students participated in the historic event. Participating in Saturday’s march is a continuation of a tradition of social consciousness among Claflin students, he said.
“At a time when stepping out for equality was putting your life on the line, our students were fully engaged in the movement,” Tisdale said. “They demonstrated remarkable courage. It is another opportunity for our students to continue this engagement and celebrate the resolve of those who marched before them to realize a dream of equality for all citizens.
”The Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle film screening is a part of an initiative of the National Endowment for the Humanities that uses the power of documentary films to encourage community discussion of America’s civil rights history. Claflin is one of 473 institutions across the country awarded a set of four films chronicling this history. The powerful documentaries, The Abolitionists, Slavery by Another Name, Freedom Riders, and The Loving Story, include dramatic scenes of incidents in the 150-year effort to achieve equal rights for all. Freedom Riders received an Emmy in 2012, and The Loving Story and The Abolitionists have been nominated for Emmys in 2013.
“These films chronicle the long and sometimes violent effort to achieve the rights enumerated in the Declaration of Independence—life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness—for all Americans,” said Ms. Marilyn Y. Gibbs, library director. “We are pleased to receive a grant from NEH to provide programming around these films. It is important for the community to have a vessel though which conversations about civil rights can continue. By understanding the struggle, we are better equipped to fight against present day injustices.”
Each of the films was produced with NEH support, and each tells remarkable stories of individuals who challenged the social and legal status quo of deeply rooted institutions, from slavery to segregation. The Created Equal film set is made possible through a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, as part of its Bridging Cultures initiative, in partnership with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.
About Claflin University
Claflin University is an accredited, comprehensive institution of higher education affiliated with The United Methodist Church. A historically black university founded in 1869 and located in Orangeburg, S.C., Claflin is committed to providing students with access to exemplary educational opportunities in its undergraduate, graduate and continuing education programs.
About the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History
Founded in 1994, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History is a nonprofit organization that promotes excellence in the teaching and learning of American history. Programs include publications, teacher seminars, a national Affiliate School Program, traveling exhibitions, and online materials for teachers, students, and the general public. www.gilderlehrman.org.
About the National Endowment for the Humanities
Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities. NEH grants enrich classroom learning, create and preserve knowledge, and bring ideas to life through public television, radio, museum exhibitions, and programs in libraries and other community places. www.neh.gov.