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  • Shanna Turpin

Coming Together for Civil Rights

Humans United for Equality had the amazing opportunity to co-sponsor "Coming Together for Civil Rights in 1950's - 1960's America", which was brought to the community by League of Women Voters of Montgomery County. The Malcolm X Institute of Black Studies (MXI) of Wabash College and The Carnegie Museum of Montgomery County also helped sponsor the event hosted at the Historic Bethel AME Church of Crawfordsville.

The event opened with an introduction from Dr. Helen Hudson, who welcomed local historian and AME's own Vicke Elmore Hudson-Swisher to speak. Vicke spoke on her experience of growing up in Montgomery County as a Black woman during a time of segregation. She had noted that the play areas in town were still separated by race and in order for White and Black children to play a game together outside, they had to first get permission. One of the hardships witnessed and experienced was how BIPOC community members had to enter the homes of their White counterparts from the back doors only. It was also almost impossible for BIPOC to run their own business locally for when they tried, the rent would constantly be increased to an unobtainable amount until they were deterred from that property. One question posed was if there was still a need to have a local NAACP chapter revived in Montgomery County. There was a chapter previously, but it dissolved in the 1980's. While Montgomery County has come a long way from Klan attacks on the AME church and scare tactics towards our BIPOC community members, there is still a long way to go for progress in equality.

Dr. Shamira Gelbman, author of "The Civil Rights Lobby: The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights and The Second Reconstruction" was welcomed to the podium. Dr. Gelbman's book covers the work that is often forgotten about when we think of the Civil Rights Movement. This is the work of almost 100 organizations who lobbied together to bring about Civil Rights legislation whilst dealing with the almost 3-month long filibuster. She spoke of the importance each person who lobbied, documented their accounts, filled rooms, and spoke out, truly played to bring about the Civil Rights legislation. Ordinary people that helped invoke these changes in legislation are often lost in history as the faces of the Civil Rights Movement such as Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, and more became symbolic to the movement. As Black History Month concludes, it is important that we recognize how diverse groups of people coming together can be the best way to bring about positive change.

See the local Journal Review's front-page article covering the event. Speaking for Millions | Journal Review

If you were unable to attend the event, there is a recording on YouTube brought to you by Chris French, founder of

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