Hildebrand lecture to examine BLM link to civil rights campaigns

Roger Coda
Dr. Jennifer Hildebrand

Dr. Jennifer Hildebrand

“Voting Rights: Identifying the Deep Roots of #BLM,” a lecture by Department of History Associate Professor Jennifer Hildebrand, will be presented as part of the Constitution Day observance at SUNY Fredonia on Wednesday, Sept. 14, at 2 p.m. in Williams Center Room S204.

Scholars who study the Civil Rights Movement often talk about the “long Civil Rights Movement” and the “modern Civil Rights Movement,” Dr. Hildebrand said.

“They do so to acknowledge that while something powerful and unique happened in the period from roughly 1954-1965, nothing comes from a vacuum. As long as the American power structure has conspired to prevent African Americans from voting and taking part as citizens in other meaningful ways, African Americans have been engaged and active in a struggle for liberty,” Hildebrand said.

“We’ll review the long campaign for full citizenship, identifying the roots of today’s #BlackLivesMatter movement in the civil rights campaigns of the past and concluding by touching very briefly on the current attempts by some, through the ‘anti-CRT (Critical Race Theory)’ debates of today, to limit our ability to study this history,” said Hildebrandt, who is also coordinator of Ethnic Studies.

Fredonia's American Democracy Project is sponsoring the on-campus Constitution Day lecture, which is free and open to the public. The goal of ADP is to educate students to become engaged in civic issues through participatory democracy and develop appreciation for voter participation. 

Elsewhere and on a different day, the virtual National Constitution Day Conversation, on Friday, Sept. 16, at 2 p.m., is designed to reach across differences and create a space for open discussion of the U.S. Constitution. This national, facilitated dialogue, hosted by the American Association of State Colleges and University’s American Democracy Project, is based on the fundamental value of the pursuit of knowledge for the public good.

Participants will gain new information about the U.S. Constitution and play a constitutional Kahoot game. This is open to everyone, so faculty, staff, students and community members need not be an expert to enjoy this event and share in the lively conversation.


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