Civil Rights Movement Is Alive In Indiana

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August 28, 2013  — Today marks the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom- the biggest public demonstration of the Civil Rights movement. Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Claire McInerny reports on how the Civil Right Movement continues in Indiana.


As Americans mark the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream Speech,” African-American history experts in Indiana say there has been progress toward racial equality in the Midwest and nationally, but key issues still need to be addressed.

 Indiana University African-American studies professor Valerie Grim , was in diapers in 1963 when King gave his historic speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Growing up in rural Mississippi, Grim says she still dealt with racism.

 After moving to Iowa for school, then to Indiana to teach, she says she experienced racism just in a more subtle way than what was present in the Deep South.

 “In Mississippi, you knew it, nobody masqueraded it, if people had a problem with the color of your skin they didn’t pretend, so you kind of knew where you stood.”

 Jakobi Williams also teaches African Ame rican studies at IU. He says the issues presented during the March on Washington are still relevant today. He says the Supreme Court decision earlier this summer that declared part of the 1965 Voting Rights Act unconstitutional is a good example of how history is repeating itself. He says there’s a simple solution to many of these problems.

 “We are in desperate need as a nation of compassion,” Williams said.

 Grim says 50 years after the national movement, civil rights expands past race. She says the nation needs to focus on clean water, food availability, and good education for children among the many social issues that are keeping the nation from becoming a great society.   For Indiana Public Broadcasting, I’m Claire McInerny.


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