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NOLA Celebrates '64 Civil Rights Act
This week marks the 50th anniversary of the watershed Civil Rights Act of 1964. Celebrations of the leap towards equality are being held across America and New Orleans is no exception. NOLA will host panel discussions, gospel brunch, commemorative ceremonies, and a museum exhibition to mark the monumental moment.
The week long anniversary celebration is organized by not-for-profit, Liberty ’64, the brainchild of Dionne Butler. Butler explains, “As an African-American and native New Orleanian, my family lived the civil rights movement," Butler said. "When you grow up in a segregated society and watch downtrodden people come together for the remarkable accomplishment of passing such an important piece of legislation, you always remember it and want to celebrate it for the next generation," Butler said.
Through the Civil Rights Lens - A photo and video exhibit of over 50 civil rights photographs, posters, films and audio recordings at the National Park Service's Visitor Information Center in Dutch Alley/French Market. Images include the Freedom Riders, CORE sit-ins, many religious leaders including Rev. A.L. Davis and the New Zion Baptist Church, and images from the September 1963 march on City Hall, the largest civil rights events in New Orleans history. The show will run for two months beginning on July 28, 2014. Viewing times are Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Civil Rights Sunday - Councilmember James Gray presented a proclamation from the New Orleans City Council proclaiming June 29th as "Civil Rights Sunday.” The day is billed as an “opportunity to remember the struggle and sacrifices which led to the legislation's passage - especially for the important role women such as Oretha Castle, Helen Mervis, Rosa Keller, Doris Castle, Dodie Smith and Lois Dejean played and the equally important contributions of young people like Jerome Smith, Matt Suarez, Lolie Elie, Don Hubbard, and Rudy Lombard.” June 29
Let Freedom Ring Bell Ringing Ceremony and Presentation - On the actual anniversary of the legislation’s signing, dignitaries will gather on the steps of Louisiana State Courthouse (300 block of Royal.) 70 children from the Tambourine and Fan program will be peforming poems and songs and ringing their freedom bells. "We encourage everyone to bring their bells and join us for this important moment," Butler explained. July 2
Civil Rights Panel Discussions - Panel discussions to educate the community on important civil rights issues and serve as a teaching tool for school age children. June 30 - July 5
- The Freedom Riders - Dr. Norman Francis, Judge Edwin Lombard and others and moderated by Dennis Woltering July 1
- The Significance of the 1964 Civil Rights Act - Dr. Raphael Cassimere, Rev. "Skip" Alexander, Barbara Trevigne and moderated by Vincent Sylvain. July 2
- The Role of Women in New Orleans' Civil Rights Movement - Sybil Morial, Diana Bajoie, Rev. Lois Dejean and Gail Glapion and moderated by Judge Miriam Waltzer. July 3.
- Changing the Conversation on Civil Rights - Audry Stewart, ACLU, Mary Griggs, Forum for Equality, and Rafael Saddy, Hispanic Community Leader, Oliver Thomas, and moderated by Loyola University Professor Lisa Martin. July 5.
- The Music of the Movement Performance & Performance - Jackie Harris, Dillard University professor Dr. Dorothy Smith and others, followed by a live performance by the National Park Service's Underground Railroad Freedom Singers. Spirituals that will be performed include "Oh, Freedom," "Many Thousan' Gone," "My Mind Stayed on Freedom," "Run Mary Run," "Same Train," and "Slavery Chain Done Broke at Last.” The Mint on Saturday, July 5 at 2 p.m.
Civil Rights Gospel Brunch at the House of Blues - Phil Manuel, pianist and singer, will serve as Master of Ceremonies. Linda White and the House of Blues Praise Band will be the main performers with special guests the Zion Harmonizers. July 6, at 1 p.m.
For more information, visit www.liberty64.com.
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