Brother Outsider: Remembering Gay Civil Rights Leader Bayard Rustin

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on June 17, 2019


LGBTQ Pride Month every June is an opportunity to explore and amplify the stories of LGBTQ people past and present. But even during Pride Month, we seldom hear stories of LGBTQ people of color. Described as the “unknown hero” of the Civil Rights Movement, Bayard Rustin was the openly gay African American civil rights activist who served as the chief organizer of the historic March on Washington.

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Topics: Civil Rights Movement, LGBTQ, black history

It Takes a Village: The Success of Brown v. Board

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on June 3, 2019

The recent 65th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Educationthe landmark 1954 U.S. Supreme Court decision that overturned the policy of state-sanctioned segregation in public schoolsraised a number of vexing questions for those concerned with educational equity today. As a decades-old quagmire of competing interests sustains school segregation in many parts of the country, this anniversary reminds us that we must have all hands on deck in the continuing fight for educational equity.

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Topics: Civil Rights Movement, Democracy, Race and Membership, Jewish Education Program

School (Re)Segregation 65 Years After Brown v. Board

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on May 17, 2019

Sixty-five years ago today, the justices of the United States Supreme Court voted to overturn decades of racial segregation in American public schools. Buttressed by the groundbreaking research of psychologists Drs. Kenneth and Mamie Clark on the adverse effects of segregation on black children, the Brown v. Board of Education decision inaugurated a new chapter in American education that would compel communities to reckon with racism and inequality in new ways. But as we reflect upon this momentous legal decision, we must ask whether the educational equity that Brown called for has actually been realized—as well as what curious residues of racial segregation remain more than a half-century later.

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Topics: Civil Rights Movement, Democracy, Schools, Civil Rights

6 Resources That Look at the History and Legacy of Brown v. Board of Education

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on May 3, 2019

Nearly 65 years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously in Brown v. Board of Education that separate schools for black and white children were not and could never be equal. As we navigate continuing threats to educational equity in the present, we invite you to learn more about the history of Brown and its legacy through these six resources.

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Topics: Civil Rights Movement, Civil Rights, black history

50 Years Later: A Reflection on Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Legacy 

Posted by Lee A. Daniels on April 3, 2018

Fifty years ago today, Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered what would be his final speech. He was assassinated the next day at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. His leadership in the Civil Rights Movement captured the attention of a nation, including journalist, Lee A. Daniels. He recalls his childhood in Boston during the Civil Rights Movement and how Dr. King's message transcended from the southern states, inspiring him to be a part of the movement in his own way. 

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Topics: Civil Rights Movement

The Legacy of Linda Brown 

Posted by Stacey Perlman on March 29, 2018

The recent passing of Linda Brown, whose landmark case, Brown v. Board of Education, opened the door to desegregate public schools, is yet another reminder of the role young people have played in shaping our society. At only seven years old, she was thrust into the national debate surrounding "separate but equal" schools, and even deeper below the surface, the tense debate around race in the United States. 

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Topics: Civil Rights Movement

Student Activism: From the Civil Rights Movement to Parkland Today

Posted by Laura Tavares on March 7, 2018

On March 7, 1965, 17 year old Charles Mauldin took his place near the front of a line of marchers heading out of Selma, Alabama with a demand for equal voting rights. The peaceful marchers were brutally assaulted by local law enforcement; Mauldin was so close to John Lewis that he still remembers the sound of an officer’s billy club cracking Lewis’ skull. The drama of the Selma to Montgomery march transfixed Americans and was a pivotal moment in the struggle for civil rights. In 2015, the 50th anniversary of the march, Mauldin looked back at his experiences, including at photos of him at the march. Now, as student activists are drawing national attention with their calls for reform in the wake of the Parkland school shooting, Charles Mauldin reflects on the power of young people to spark social change and offers his insights for today’s emerging activists.

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Topics: Civil Rights Movement

How a Jewish Civil Rights Activist Taught Me to Fight for All Rights

Posted by Julia Clardy on February 15, 2018

Facing History is proud to feature young voices on Facing Today. Julia Clardy is a high school student who is part of the Rising Voices Fellowship, a program of the Jewish Women’s Archive (JWA). She wrote this piece as a Fellow, noting how one young Jewish civil rights activist helped her see that fighting for social justice goes beyond just fighting for those in your own inner circle. This piece was originally published on JWA’s blog, Jewish Women, Amplified.

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Topics: Civil Rights Movement

What Can We Learn From the Memphis Sanitation Strike 50 Years Later?

Posted by Andrew Reese on February 5, 2018

Fifty years ago this month, black sanitation workers in Memphis went on strike to fight for their right to safe working conditions and for pay that was equal to their white counterparts. This movement, which would last through April 1968, caught the attention of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who came to Memphis to march alongside these men. He eventually delivered his final speech the night before his assassination at the Lorraine Motel. The attention this strike garnered resulted in raises and the recognition of a worker’s union. As we consider the legacy of pivotal figures during Black History Month, the sanitation workers strike of 1968 shows us the power of civic engagement. So, how can we use our own individual agency to foster collective action and bring about positive change in today’s world?

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Topics: Civil Rights Movement

Why I Marched for Civil Rights at 15 with Martin Luther King, Jr.

Posted by Stacey Perlman on January 10, 2018

Lynda Blackmon Lowery was the youngest person to participate in the historic three-day march from Selma to Montgomery, led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in March of 1965: she turned 15 on the second day of that march. To reflect on Dr. King's legacy, we sat down for a conversation with Blackmon Lowery. She recalls what it was like to participate in a pivotal moment of the Civil Rights Movement as a teenager and shares how young people today can make a difference in the face of the continuing struggle for social justice. 

Please note this piece includes some offensive language. We have chosen to include it as it reflects the historical time period when these events took place and represents Blackmon Lowery’s experiences.

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Topics: Civil Rights Movement

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