Civil Rights Conference

By: Mike McDaniel
By: Mike McDaniel

Nestled inside a building on the campus of Tougaloo College in Jackson, a group of folks are doing something Mississippians do best, telling their stories.

"We were arrested and they had to bring the chief of police out there," said one man as he told his story to those seated around him.

Those stories come from across the state, real life accounts of the struggles during the civil rights movement in Mississippi.

"We want to get their stories on the record. We're trying to document the work that they did," said organizer Bob Moses.

Moses is leading the two day "We the People" conference designed to reflect on the past and address the unfinished needs ahead. Two of those needs he says are education and voting rights.

"What we want to get at is how do we move forward with the idea of both the constitutional right to vote and the idea of a constitutional right to quality public school education," said Moses.

On the voting front, the sixties proved to be a pivotal time.

"1960 was a dishonest, corrupt system of self government. That's all changed with the Voting Rights Act," said former assistant attorney general John Doar.

Doar was working in the U.S. Department of Justice during the civil rights movement. Advocates say he was an ally to Mississippi, enforcing the right to vote under the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Doar says it's one of the greatest pieces of legislation the country has ever passed.

"You ask yourself, what legislation has been the most successful, made the biggest change for the better, you're going to say the Voting Right's Act of 1965. No doubt," said Doar.

As the stories now get passed down to students who've only read about the struggles, Moses and Doar both say history and the policies that helped shape it, should become the foundation for changes in the future.

"It reflects that if you work hard, you can bring about change for the better," said Doar.

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  • by Anthony Location: Meridian, Ms on May 14, 2012 at 04:33 PM
    Hey rednecks, you're are on the wrong post, this one says Civil Rights Conference
  • by WATS UP AMERICA Location: MS on May 11, 2012 at 06:06 AM
  • by do not forget it on May 9, 2012 at 10:50 PM
    (Deuteronomy In this final section Moses reviews God's holy law and teaches it to the tribes of Israel."Do not forget!" Be careful not to forget that you were slaves in Egypt! Do not forget all that God did for you on the way, between Egypt and the new land which you are about to enter! Do not forget the sins that you committed against the Lord your God! Do not forget how the Lord judged your parents because of their unbelief, which is why all their corpses remain in the desert. Do not forget that God was good to your parents, but they were hardheaded and refused to believe Him. Do not forget it! Today, when you hear the voice of God, do not harden your hearts, as your parents did in the wilderness. Will you be like your ancestors who refused to believe the Word of God, or will you believe the Lord your God? If you refuse to believe the Word of God as your ancestors did, God will punish you as He punished them. Do not forget it! The Lord God will bring you into the land, which flows with milk and honey, which He swore to your ancestors. Do not forget your God who gave you the land, because man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord! Do not forget it!
  • by Anonymous on May 9, 2012 at 10:42 PM
    we cant move foward as long as we are dwelling on the past.
  • by KC Location: meridian on May 9, 2012 at 09:22 PM
    "reflecting on the past" is the only thing black mississippians do. They live in the past. Everyone has equal voting rights now. Move forward people
  • by liberal democrat on May 9, 2012 at 09:19 PM
    Oh I remember the 60s. What a wonderful time for speaking out against the government, and singing with the trees and birds. When we elected Obama one of are goals was to get it were everyone can vote even the people who are not US citizens. How wonderful that would be. We have come this far lets make sure we get four more years so there will be equal right for everyone and we liberals and democrats can forever run the country. GO GREEN Obama ya
  • by bearhunter on May 9, 2012 at 09:09 PM
    i have always been told its good to look back but dont stop and other words MOVE ON.
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