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Gordon to commemorate ’63 civil rights movement events

Gordon State College is presenting two programs commemorating two of the most significant events of 1963, the Birmingham Children’s March and the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. James W. Stewart, who, as a 15-year-old student, led the first children’s march out of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, will speak on Wednesday, Aug. 21. Stewart is one of four students featured in the 2012 book, ‘We’ve Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March.’ Three copies of the book will be given away during the program. Additionally, three copies of the book ‘Leroy Stover, Birmingham, Alabama’s First Black Policeman: An Inspirational Story’ will be given away. Stover is the uncle of James Wallace, Gordon State College associate professor of music and coordinator of the two programs. ’The years 1963, 1964, and 1965 were pivotal to the cause of Civil Rights in the United States,’ said Wallace. ‘Events of those years greatly impacted the move toward equality before the law for African-American citizens.’ A retrospective on the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom will be presented Wednesday, Aug. 28, exactly 50 years to the day that the actual march occurred. The retrospective will feature film from the march, the 10 demands presented at the march, perspectives about America since the march, and a complete presentation of Dr. Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech. ’The March on Washington brought together the largest number of peaceful demonstrators for civil rights in the history of the United States,’ Wallace notes. ‘It became part of the impetus that propelled President John F. Kennedy to prepare and to send to Congress the bill that, after his death, became the Civil Rights Act of 1964.’ Both programs will be presented on the stage of the Gordon State College Fine Arts Theatre each evening at 7:30. They are free of charge and the public is invited to attend.

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