On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. presents highlights of the Civil Rights Summit marking the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Featured on today’s program are three civil rights legends that looked back at the movement they helped to forge, and how it continues to resonate in America today, while exploring the civil rights issues of the 21st century.
Julian Bond is a leader of the American Civil Rights Movement. While a student at Morehouse College in Atlanta, he helped found the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and served as communications director. He was elected Board Chairman of the NAACP in 1998.
Bond graduated from Morehouse and helped found the Southern Poverty Law Center. He was the organization's president from 1971 to 1979.
John Lewis, U.S Representative from Georgia, is often called “one of the most courageous persons the Civil Rights Movement ever produced.” He has dedicated his life to protecting human rights, securing civil liberties, and building what he calls "The Beloved Community” in America. His dedication to the highest ethical standards and moral principles has won him the admiration of many of his colleagues on both sides of the aisle in the United States Congress.
Lewis was born the son of sharecroppers on February 21, 1940, outside of Troy, Alabama. He grew up on his family's farm and attended segregated public schools in Pike County, Alabama. As a young boy, he was inspired by the activism surrounding the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the words of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., which he heard on radio broadcasts. In those pivotal moments, he made a decision to become a part of the Civil Rights Movement. Ever since then, he has remained at the vanguard of progressive social movements and the human rights struggle in the United States.
Andrew Young, former Congressman and United Nations Ambassador, has always viewed his career through the lens of his first career - that of ordained minister. His work for civil and human rights, his many years in public office as Congressman, United Nations Ambassador and Mayor, his leadership of the Atlanta Olympic Games, his advocacy of investment in Africa through GoodWorks International, and the establishment of the Andrew J. Young Foundation are all a response to his call to serve.
Young was a key strategist and negotiator during the Civil Rights Campaigns in Birmingham and Selma that resulted in the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.