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Guest speakers to recount stories from Civil Rights era

Talk to celebrate 50th anniversary of Civil Rights Act

By Adam Sauceda
On April 11, 2014

The history department has invited guest speakers to recognize the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act in America and give their first-hand accounts of San Angelo during the time period on Monday, April 14.

The event, "San Angelo and Civil Rights: Local Stories of Integration in San Angelo Schools," will be co-hosted by the Multicultural Center, and will take place in UC 110 and 111 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.

"In light of the anniversary, we started thinking about possible local speakers who could talk about civil rights in San Angelo," Assistant Professor of history Dr. Christine Lamberson said. "We thought speaking about integration in the schools might be particularly interesting to students, and we went with that theme."

Freshman Araceli Jimenez said it is important for students to remember the history and struggles of the civil rights movement.

"For us not to make the same mistakes again, we have to be reminded of what happened before," Jimenez said.  

History can feel distant for many students, and that played a role in choosing the speakers for the event, Lamberson said.

"I think [the speakers] can connect with students particularly well because they will be speaking about the community students already know well," Lamberson said. "Local stories can help make history real and more personal."

Mary Frances Owens, a retired San Angelo independent school teacher, and former ASU athletic director, Coach Phil George, will speak at the event.

Multicultural Center program specialist Robert Garcia said speakers will relate more clearly with the people in the community as opposed to someone who did not live in San Angelo during that time.

"They were here during that time," Garcia said. "They actually experienced the struggles and changes that were happening."

Lamberson said they are looking forward to a good event and hope students will come and ask questions about San Angelo's history.

"As people who come will hear, the changes the movement enacted took place within the life times of many Americans still living in our community," Lamberson said. "[This event] reminds us that history, including civil rights, is not something that happened to someone long ago and far away. Rather, it is something that affected the lives of people they know."

Lamberson said the history department is hoping to hold more similar events next year.


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