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Category: civil rights

Museum Statement Regarding the Passing of Sidney Poitier

The National Civil Rights Museum joins the world in grieving the loss of a great icon and its 2001 Freedom Award honoree, Mr. Sidney Poitier. Poitier was a trailblazing thespian and staunch civil rights activist that remained true to his principles.  His art reflected his convictions.  Because of that, the world reimagined Black culture during a transformative period that challenged racial prejudice and social norms. On stage, screen, and in real life, Poitier reflected a... Read More
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Museum Statement on the Passing of Archbishop Desmond Tutu

The National Civil Rights Museum grieves the loss of world leader and 1992 Freedom Award honoree, Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Tutu became the first black Anglican Dean of Johannesburg in 1975, Bishop of Johannesburg in 1985, and Archbishop of Cape Town in 1986. Under his vigorous leadership, the church in South Africa became immersed in the political struggle. He was chosen by President Mandela to chair South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) to investigate the crimes... Read More
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Museum Statement on the Passing of Secretary Colin Powell

The National Civil Rights Museum expresses deep sorrow in the passing of 1997 Freedom Award honoree, Secretary Colin L. Powell. Secretary Powell was appointed by President George W. Bush as the 65th Secretary of State in 2000, becoming the first African American Secretary of State in the U.S.  Powell was a professional soldier for 35 years, during which time he held a myriad of command and staff positions and rose to the rank of four-star general.  His last assignment, from... Read More
at Monday, October 18, 2021
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Museum Statement on the Passing of Bob Moses

The National Civil Rights Museum mourns the passing of civil rights icon Bob Moses, a visionary leader, innovative educator and champion for voting rights.  Moses received the museum’s Freedom Award in 2014. Bob Moses was born Robert Parrish Moses in Harlem, NY.  He understood that access to the ballot for the most underserved required educating the electorate, not only to mitigate obstacles to voting, but also to provide opportunity for economic advancement.  As a... Read More
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Bayard Rustin: Strategist, Organizer, Unifier

As he approached the podium, Bayard Rustin was determined and elated. He expected about 100,000 marchers to converge at the Washington Monument on August 28, 1963. To his delight, approximately 250,000 people cheered as he listed the demands of the march. The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom began after eight weeks of recruiting marchers, coordinating buses and marshals, scheduling speakers, and managing logistics. Despite Rustin’s critical role as the march’s chief... Read More
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We Were Prepared to Die: Freedom Riders

Fifty-nine years ago, the Freedom Rides of 1961 entered the state of Alabama. Potential violence awaited in Anniston and Birmingham. Below, the backstory of how the Freedom Rides began and how one of the most pivotal protests in the Civil Rights Movement came about. While we know the names of notable activists like James Lawson and Diane Nash, there are numerous overlooked details behind the scenes of this epic event. The Freedom Riders story began fifteen years earlier in 1946 when... Read More
at Thursday, May 14, 2020
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