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Public Reconciliation Re-examines Local Efforts During Civil Rights Movement

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 Among the invited forum panelists are a newspaper columnist, museum executive director and peace activist.
 Winthrop was one of eight colleges awarded a $5,000 grant through the Liberty Tree Initiative.

Justin Brown

ROCK HILL, S.C. - Sit-ins, segregated public facilities, the Freedom Ride, protests and boycotts describe the era of the Civil Rights Movement some 40 years ago. Now, local civil rights efforts and public apologies that followed will be examined through a First Amendment perspective. As part of the Liberty Tree Initiative Series, Winthrop University will host "The First Amendment and Public Reconciliation" on Monday, Oct. 26, at 7 p.m. in Plowden Auditorium.

Among the invited guests are Herald columnist Andrew Dys; Van Shield, executive director of the Culture and Heritage Commission of York County; and Susan Kocsis of Search for Common Ground in Washington, D.C. and a member of York County Human Resources Committee. Alan Miller, general manager of WRHI news talk radio station, will moderate the event.  

Justin Brown, an assistant professor of mass communication and co-author of the Liberty Tree grant, said that in the last five years, Rock Hill has undergone a period of public reconciliation fostered by the spirit of the First Amendment. "This event will examine that particular effort," he said.

In a related event scheduled for Oct. 26 at 11 a.m., the York County Culture and Heritage Commission will unveil an historical marker at the former location of St. Anne School, the first integrated school in South Carolina.

Winthrop was one of eight colleges awarded a $5,000 grant through the Liberty Tree Initiative. The grant is funded through the McCormick Foundation and the American Society of Newspaper Editors, with an aim to raise awareness among college students and the surrounding campus community about First Amendment freedoms.

Winthrop’s departments of English and mass communication faculty and students along with the John C. West Forum of Politics and Policy are hosting the series of events that focus on First Amendment freedoms.

For more information, visit the West Forum online.

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