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Weaving the Threads of Justice Program Series


Highlander Center: 75 years of Working for Justice
Opening Exhibit, Lecture, Screening, & Reception
Sunday, September 14, 2008, 2 p.m.
Russell Library, UGA Main Library, South Jackson Street Athens, Georgia
One of the best-known and most widely regarded community activists in Appalachia, Dr. Helen Lewis will open the Highlander program series and exhibit. She will share her perspectives and reflections on the long and important history of the Highlander Center and introduce the film, You Got to Move. Dr. Lewis served on the staff of Highlander for two decades (1977-1997) and as a sociologist and anthropologist has held teaching and research positions at Berea College, the University of Tennessee, East Tennessee State University, and Appalachian State University. She spent four years at Appalshop, where she developed a film series on the history of Appalachia. She served as president of the Appalachian Studies Association in 2001-02. She is currently retired and lives in Morganton, Georgia.

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Highlander Folk School & the Southern Front: Worker Education and the Growth of the Civil Rights Movement
Lecture, Reception, & Book Signing
Sunday, September 28, 2008, 3 p.m.
Athens-Clarke County Library Auditorium, 2025 Baxter Street, Athens, Georgia

Noted historians, Dr. James Lorence and Dr. Randall Patton will examine Highlander’s founding and early years. Patton will focus on the climate of southern liberalism during Highlander’s early years and, in particular, the role played by Myles Horton, its co-founder. Lorence will focus on Donald West, a poet from Georgia who was a labor organizer, educator, and outspoken civil rights advocate who played a role in Highlander’s founding years. James J. Lorence is an historian and author of eight books. In recent years he has written widely on southern labor activism, including a just published biography of Highlander co-founder, Don West, and a forthcoming book from UGA Press on community organizing in Georgia during the Great Depression. Lorence spent most of his career at the University of Wisconsin-Marathon, and from 2001-2005, served as Eminent Scholar of History at Gainesville State College in Gainesville, Georgia. He is currently retired in Wisconsin. Randall L. Patton is professor of history at Kennesaw State University. He is a business and labor historian whose books include a history of Shaw Industries and of the rise of the carpet industry in the South. He has also written widely on southern liberalism in the 1930s and 1940s, served as section editor for 20th century history section of the New Georgia Encyclopedia, and is among the founders of the Southern Industrial Project (SIP).

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Seeing Red in Black: White Southern Leaders Fight Desegregation
A Multimedia Archival Presentation & Reception
Sunday, October 5, 2008, 3 p.m.
Demosthenian Hall, North Campus, University of Georgia

Drawing upon film, video, and documents from archival collections at the Richard B. Russell Library, Craig Breaden and Jill Severn will explore the tactics employed by key Georgia segregationists, such as Herman Talmadge and Roy V. Harris, to discredit and undermine the Civil Rights Movement to white southerners. The speakers will give close attention to the background and creation of a covert film and broadside produced by the Georgia Education Commission in 1957, depicting interracial activities and the presence of alleged communists at the Highlander Folk School, as a prime example of segregationist reaction to the Civil Rights Movement. Jill Severn is the head of Access and Outreach at the Russell Library and a member of the faculty of the Foot Soldier Project for Civil Rights Studies at the University of Georgia. She also serves as the director of the Russell Forum for Georgia Civic Engagement, a National Issues Forum Public Policy Institute. Craig Breaden is Head of Media and Oral History at the Richard B. Russell Library and is a member of the faculty of the Foot Soldier Project for Civil Rights Studies at the University of Georgia.

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The Untold Story of Women’s Leadership at Highlander Research and Education Center: 75 Years Fighting for Freedom Lecture & Reception
Sunday, October 19, 2008, 3 p.m.
Demosthenian Hall, North Campus, University of Georgia
While much has been written about Highlander and its influence in the Civil Rights Movement, there has been little research analyzing the role of women at Highlander. Throughout its history, women shaped the work of the Center, but, like most institutions formed prior to the 1970s or 1980s, men filled the top leadership positions. While women often shaped these decisions and carried great influence at Highlander, it is only in the 1994 that the first woman was named as permanent Director. In her presentation, Colleen McDermott will use film and commentary to recover the vital leadership roles played by women at one of the most important centers for civil and human rights advancement in the Southeast. Colleen McDermott is a doctoral candidate in the Program of Adult Education, Department of Lifelong Education, Administration, and Policy, The University of Georgia. She has worked with activists and taught social justice courses for over 15 years. Her research interests are the role of education in social movements and women’s studies. She is currently working on a book about the Women of Highlander Research and Education Center that combines these two interests.

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The South and Appalachia—Linking to the World
The Current Concerns and Initiatives of the Highlander Research and Education Center Presentation & Reception
Sunday, October 26, 2008, 3 p.m.
Athens-Clarke County Library Auditorium, 2025 Baxter Street, Athens, Georgia

Susan Williams will share the Highlander Research and Education Center’s current projects and approaches to critical public issues such as immigration, globalization, and human and civil rights. Susan Williams is the coordinator of the Education Team and the Highlander Library/Resource Center. Susan worked for ten years as a community organizer for Save Our Cumberland Mountains (SOCM) and for several years with the Tennessee Industrial Renewal Network organizing around fair trade and coordinating worker-to-worker exchanges between Mexico and Tennessee factory workers. She has been on the steering committee of the Economic Literacy Action Network and the board of United for a Fair Economy. She is currently working on an historical timeline of Highlander’s education history.

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Reflections on Songs, Actions, and Social Justice: Film, Lecture, and Music from Guy and Candie Carawan & Art Rosenbaum & Special Guests
Closing Lecture, Screening, Performance, & Reception
Sunday, November 16, 2008, 2 p.m.
Russell Library, UGA Main Library, South Jackson Street Athens, Georgia

Guy and Candie Carawan were a vital part of the Highlander staff during the Civil Rights Movement. Guy, a folk musician, served as the center’s music director in the late 1950s and early 1960s, introduced an old labor song, “We Shall Overcome” during a training camp for SNCC workers in 1960, after which it quickly emerged as the anthem of the Movement. Both Carawans have written widely about the role of folk music and culture in social justice movements, from Appalachia to St. John’s Island, South Carolina. They are retired near New Market, Tennessee, but remain active in the Appalachian Studies Association. Art Rosenbaum is a professor of art at the Lamar Dodd School of Art at the University of Georgia and has exhibited his drawings and paintings extensively. He has recorded folk musicians throughout the United States, particularly in Georgia, Kentucky, Indiana, Iowa, and New York. He is the author of Shout Because You’re Free: The African American Ring Shout Tradition in Coastal Georgia, University of Georgia Press 1998 (photographs by Margo Newmark Rosenbaum), and most recently has produced a 4-CD box set, Art of Field Recording: Volume I : 50 Years of Traditional American Music Documented by Art Rosenbaum (Dust to Digital). Their program will talk about the role of performance in the activism and community development efforts at Highlander and will include a screening of the film, The Telling Takes Me Home made by their daughter about their lives.

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