By Jesse Steele
Gordon College News Service
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
SALEM – In the 1960s, Judy Richardson left college to be a part of the freedom movement throughout the southern states. She became a staff member for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and later used what she learned to produce a number of documentaries about the topic for Public Broadcasting Services (PBS).
Now Richardson, a distinguished visiting professor at Brown University, spends her fall semesters teaching a civil rights documentary course, and her spring moderating workshops and discussions throughout the region. As part of its Black History Month, Salem State University has invited Richardson to talk about how far the civil rights movement brought the country, but also the challenges that still remain in moving towards reconciliation.
“If we think only Martin Luther King Jr. made the difference, then we will not know that we can do it again,” Richardson said.
Richardson will be on campus February 28th as SSU also launches its spring film series titled, “Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle.” The series begins with a screening of Stanley Nelson’s Freedom Riders, a documentary recalling the events of 1961 when over 400 students, black and white, traveled around the south to challenge segregation. While the Freedom Riders faced violence and, for some, jail time their nonviolent protests against racism sent a message of hope for a better future. Similar films about the civil rights movement will be shown monthly throughout the spring.
“Our platform is to have meaningful conversations about what (still) needs to be done,” said Bethany Jay, assistant professor of history at SSU.