Black Power mural - raised fist

Fifty years after the first shout of “Black Power” rang out during a pivotal Mississippi civil rights march, Roosevelt University will host a conference, “From Civil Rights to Black Power: Tracing the African American Freedom Struggle” on Feb. 17 and 18.

Presented by Chicago Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) History Project, this Black History Month conference will celebrate the international Black Power/Black Liberation movement that began with a shout for “Black Power” in 1966 during a march in support of James Meredith. The first African American student to enroll at the University of Mississippi, he was shot at the march by a white nationalist.

Willie (Mukassa) Ricks, who first shouted “Black Power” at hecklers, will be one of the presenters at the conference. The two-day event includes: a roundtable discussion of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party’s challenge to the 1964 Democratic National Convention; the organizing of the Lowndes County Freedom movement and emergence of the Black Panther symbol; and a look at the Meredith March Against Fear, including involvement by SNCC chair Stokely Carmichael. A screening of the new film “The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution,” and a discussion of the new book The Revolution Has Come: Black Power, Gender and the Black Panther Party in Oakland also will be featured.

“We welcome the opportunity to host this intergenerational dialogue on race and protest politics, then and now,” said Al Bennett, director of Roosevelt’s St. Clair Drake Center for African and African American Studies.

The conference will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 17 and 18 at Roosevelt University, 430 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago. To register, visit: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/chicago-sncc-history-project-conference-from-civil-rights-to-black-power-tickets-30896457135?aff=erelexpmlt

The conference is free to members of the Roosevelt community.  For more information, contact Al Bennett, director of Roosevelt’s St. Clair Drake Center for African and African American Studies at abennett@roosevelt.edu.

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