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Winthrop Receives Liberty Tree Initiative Grant

Quick Facts

 Winthrop is one of eight schools nationwide to receive a $5,000 grant through the Liberty Tree Initiative.
 Initiative-related programming focuses on the five freedoms of the First Amendment.

Karen Kedrowski
Justin Brown

ROCK HILL, S.C. - Winthrop University will host a series of on-campus events throughout the fall semester for the Liberty Tree Initiative Series. Winthrop’s John C. West Forum for Civic Engagement, along with faculty, staff and students in the departments of mass communication, English and political science, have helped plan and promote the series. 

Winthrop is one of eight schools nationally selected to receive a $5,000 grant through the Liberty Tree Initiative. Winthrop faculty members Karen Kedrowski and Justin Brown applied for the grant that is funded through the McCormick Foundation and the American Society of Newspaper Editors. The Liberty Tree Initiative aims to increase awareness and appreciation among college students and campus communities about the five freedoms of the First Amendment.

The semester-long series of events will include:

"The First Amendment and the Religion Clauses"
WHAT: Heather Weaver, attorney from the American Civil Liberties Union Religion and Belief Program in Washington, D.C., will focus on the two religion clauses of the First Amendment. This also constitutes Winthrop’s annual observance of Constitution Day.
WHEN: Wednesday, Sept. 23, 7 p.m.
WHERE: Barnes Recital Hall 

"Religious Freedom and Public Education"
WHAT: Weaver will focus on religious freedom of the First Amendment and how it applies to public education.
WHEN: Thursday, Sept. 24, 11 a.m.
WHERE: Plowden Auditorium 

Banned Book Reading
WHAT: Faculty in Winthrop University’s Department of English, under the leadership of Winthrop professor Jo Koster, will host a banned book reading. This coincides with the American Library Association’s “Banned Book Week.”
WHEN: Monday, Sept. 28, 7 p.m.
WHERE: Owens Hall G01 

"The First Amendment and the Civil Rights Movement"
WHAT: Panelists will discuss instrumental developments during the civil rights movement that are unique to South Carolina. Janet Hudson, from the University of South Carolina, will serve as a panelist. Other panelists may include faculty members from Winthrop. Members of the Friendship Nine, who were jailed during a sit-in at a Rock Hill lunch counter in 1961, will be invited as the significance of this event is examined.
WHEN: Thursday, Oct. 15, 7 p.m.
WHERE: Plowden Auditorium

"The First Amendment and Public Reconciliation"
WHAT: Discussion on public apologies given by officials of Rock Hill to civil rights leaders. Invited guests will include: columnist Andrew Dys, who profiled 1960s civil rights protestors; Van Shields, executive director of the Culture and Heritage Commission of York County; and members of the “No Room for Racism” committee.
WHEN: Monday, Oct. 26, 7 p.m.
WHERE: Plowden Auditorium

Liberty Tree Planting
WHAT: This tree planting symbolizes the tree in Boston of 1765 where new American patriots gathered to voice the need for a country based on liberty.
WHEN: Tuesday, Nov. 10, 3:30 p.m.
WHERE: To be determined.

"The First Amendment and the Press"
WHAT: Ken Paulson, president of the Freedom Forum and former editor of USA Today, discusses the First Amendment’s role in protecting free press.
WHEN: Tuesday, Nov. 10, 4 p.m.
WHERE: Carroll Hall 

All events are free and open to the public and offer cultural event credits for Winthrop students. Visit the John C. West Forum for Civic Engagement Web site for more information.

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