Hillel (The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life) and the Department of the Library were proud to present, Freedom Riders, a traveling exhibit created by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and the PBS series American Experience. The exhibit tells the story of a courageous band of civil rights activists who challenged segregation in the American South. Freedom Riders was on display in the Library Rotunda from February 3 – February 25, 2015 in celebration of Black History Month. It was dedicated in memory of the three young civil rights activists, James Chaney, Michael “Mickey” Schwerner, and Andrew Goodman, murdered by the Ku Klux Klan in the struggle for equality. Goodman, a Queens College student, and Schwerner were members of New York’s Jewish community whose story came to represent a civil rights coalition with a deep and enduring history.
In addition to the exhibition, a series of events were held that examined the importance of this historical era and reflected on its meaning in today’s society. These events included a viewing of the PBS companion documentary, Freedom Riders, available freely online at: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/freedomriders/watch
The Library Archives & Special Collections [1L-216] also hosted a fascinating round table discussion featuring Professor John Arena (Department of Sociology & Anthropology Dept.), Professor Lauren Rogers-Sirin (Psychology Dept.) Professor George Sanchez (Creative & Performing Arts Dept.) and moderated by Donna Scimeca, Coordinator of the Core Program.These programs were co-sponsored by the Departments of Psychology, Sociology/Anthropology, and History, and the CORE and Mental Health Counseling Programs.
A highlight of the month’s events was a segment about the exhibit by NY1 News. The video is available online at: http://csitoday.com/2015/02/video-amy-posner-appears-on-ny1-news/. Also available is an online version of the exhibit and related content, which can be viewed at the following link: http://www.gilderlehrman.org/history-by-era/civil-rights-movement/interactives/freedom-riders.
-Amy F. Stempler, Assistant Professor & Coordinator of Library Instruction