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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • LV Times columnist: Civil Rights history series to continue in Lansing

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  • Readers may recall that Lansing Historical Museum and the University of Saint Mary joined forces to secure a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to present the documentary film series, "Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle."
    The NEH partnered with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History to provide programmatic support for the series.
    Last spring, I and USM historian Kyle Anthony presented the first two films in the series: "The Abolitionists" and "Slavery by Another Name" at the Historical Society.
    This fall, Dr. Anthony and Dr. Karenbeth Zacharias will discuss "Freedom Riders" and "The Loving Story."
    "Freedom Riders" received an Emmy in 2012. "The Loving Story" was nominated for an Emmy in 2013.
    Both tell the story of the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s in the wake of Brown v The Topeka (Kansas) Board of Education (1954). The landmark decision struck down the so called “separate but equal” precedent in the law, which perpetuated segregation in the nation’s public schools, but that also proved to be only one step in the decades’ long process of realizing desegregation in America.
    Dr. Anthony will discuss "Freedom Riders" at 7 p.m. Sept. 16. The subject of the documentary and of the talk will be the 1961 attempt to desegregate long-haul buses.
    On May 4, 1961, a group of whites and blacks, recruited by the Congress of Racial Equality, boarded Greyhound and Trailways buses for a ride across the South.
    They sat next to each other in defiance of state and local laws, attracting national, even international, news coverage, as well as severe violence.  The documentary features interviews with some of those who took this ride in an attempt to break down the barriers of racial inequality.
    On Sept. 30, Dr. Zacharias will discuss Loving v. Virginia, which presents the 1967 U.S. Supreme Court case of the same name.
    Married in Washington, D.C., in 1958, but living in Virginia, Mildred and Richard Loving were arrested in their home state and sentenced to a year in prison.
    In a unanimous decision, however, the court reversed the guilty verdict and in the process struck down all miscegenation laws, which placed legal restrictions on marriage based on race between blacks and whites. 
    For more information on the Civil Rights series, contact Laura Phillippi, Lansing Historical Museum site supervisor, who wrote the grant for the series and coordinated its various activities. She can be reached at (913) 250-0203 or lphillippi@scglobal.net.
    Bryan F. Le Beau is a historian and provost/vice president for academic affairs at the University of Saint Mary.

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