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Art & Social Justice: The Legacy of the Freedom Riders

Event Date:

April 10 @ 6:00 pm


Polk Museum of Art
800 East Palmetto St
Lakeland, FL 33801


Suzanne Grossberg

Program Description:

The Polk Museum of Art (PMA) at Florida Southern College (FSC) is offering a two-part program series entitled Art & Social Justice: The Legacy of the Freedom Riders. This set of free community programs begins with a panel discussion and community screening of the acclaimed PBS documentary Freedom Riders at the Museum on Wednesday, April 10, from 6-9 pm and concludes with a youth program for Parker Street Ministries middle/high school students on Friday, April 12, 3:30-5 pm.

These programs were designed to coincide with the PMA SUN + LIGHT exhibition, which features the work of artist Charles Edward Williams and is currently on display until May 19. Williams will be a guest speaker at both programs. The distinguished panel of experts includes USF Professor of Southern History Dr. Raymond Arsenault and civil rights activists and Freedom Riders Dr. Bernard LaFayette, Jr. and Kredelle Petway. The Parker Street Ministries youth program partners are Tim Mitchell, executive director, and Christina Allen, director of education.

Inspired by Williams’ work, which examines the personal and collective impact of the Civil Rights Movement, these humanities programs will examine the legacy of the Freedom Riders and the importance of the example they set. From May to November 1961, over 400 Riders endured beatings and imprisonment for traveling on buses and trains to test the 1960 Supreme Court ruling that declared segregation in public interstate transportation facilities unconstitutional. Their saga lent credence to the Civil Rights Movement and set the stage for many others to follow. The discussion, film screening, and Q & A will focus on this essential story of the Freedom Riders and how organized nonviolent civil disobedience can positively impact the world, propel the course of social justice, and motivate generations to come.

To learn more about this PMA two-part program series supported by a grant from the Florida Humanities Council, with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities, contact Adult Programs Manager Laura Putnam at 863-688-7743 ext. 288 or lputnam@polkmuseumofart.org.



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