University of Rochester

EVENT: Lecture and discussion about the experiences of a 1960s civil rights worker

TIME, DATE, AND PLACE: 6:50 p.m. Monday, Jan. 20, in lecture hall 2-162A of Dewey Hall on the University of Rochester's River Campus

ADMISSION: Free and open to the public

January 15, 2003

In 1964, at the height of the civil rights movement, Howard Kirschenbaum was a 19-year-old college student spending his summer as a voter registration volunteer in the African-American community in Moss Point, Miss. Now a professor at the Margaret Warner Graduate School of Education and Human Development at the University of Rochester, Kirschenbaum will share his experiences and moderate a discussion about their relevance today on Monday, Jan. 20, to celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The event will begin at 6:50 p.m. in lecture hall 2-162A, located in Dewey Hall on the University's River Campus. It is free and open to the public.

Kirschenbaum was one of about 700 volunteers, mostly college students and young people, who traveled to Mississippi at the invitation of African-American residents and civil rights organizations. "For years, black people had been beaten and killed pursuing their basic democratic freedoms, and the country seemed not to care or even take notice," explained Kirschenbaum, now chair of the Counseling and Human Development department at the Warner School. "What if white civil rights workers were jailed, beaten or even murdered because they believed in democracy? Maybe the country would take notice then."

During preparation for the Mississippi Summer Project, Kirschenbaum met Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman, and James Chaney, the civil rights workers who were soon after murdered by the Ku Klux Klan. Kirschenbaum was terrorized by police, vilified by "white" Mississippians, and jailed.

He came home to Long Island and spoke about his experiences. By one account, there were six civil rights murders, 80 people beaten, 35 shot at, 35 churches burned, 30 homes and other buildings bombed, and 1,000 arrests that summer alone.

For information about the event, contact the Warner School at (585) 275-3178.