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Civil Rights and Equality under the law

Library of CongressTo mark the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) developed a special project as part of its Bridging Cultures initiative: Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle. Stetson University’s duPont-Ball Library is one of 473 institutions in the United States that was awarded a grant to participate in the project. As a participant, Stetson’s Library received a packaged set of four NEH-funded documentary films on Civil Rights history.

The Created Equal project uses the films to encourage public conversations about the changing meanings of freedom and equality in America. The powerful documentaries, The Abolitionists, Slavery by Another Name, Freedom Riders, and The Loving Story, include dramatic scenes of incidents in the 150-year effort to achieve equal rights for all. Each film tells remarkable stories of individuals who challenged the social and legal status quo of deeply rooted institutions, from slavery to segregation. These are award-winning productions:  Freedom Riders received an Emmy in 2012, and The Loving Story won a 2013 Emmy for Outstanding Historical Programming.

Program coordinators Dr. Jason Martin, head of Public Services, and Barbara Costello, Research and Government Documents librarian, have been working with Stetson faculty and community partners to design programming based on the films.

The first event will be held on Thursday, Feb. 13, from 7-8:30 p.m. in the Stetson Room, second floor of the Carlton Union Building, 131 E. Minnesota Ave.  Stetson professors Susan Peppers-Bates, Joshua Rust and T. Wayne Bailey, as well as Mike Williams, President, West Volusia Branch of the NAACP, and Joyce Cusack, current At-Large Representative on the Volusia County Council and former FL House Representative, 27th District, will facilitate a discussion of “Equality Under the Law” as it relates to the Civil Rights movement. The discussion will center on two of the documentaries: The Loving Story and Slavery by Another Name. Clips of the documentaries will be shown during the discussion, and the full films will be shown on campus and at community venues prior to the discussion on Feb. 13.

All events are open to the public, free of charge, and students may receive cultural credit for attending.

The complete schedule of events is at http://www2.stetson.edu/library/created-equal/. A second series of programs, also based on the Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle project will be planned for the fall of 2014.

Contact Dr. Jason Martin or Barbara Costello for additional information.

Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle is made possible through a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, in partnership with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.