(SARASOTA, October 30, 2017)- The Boxser Diversity Initiative presents “The Freedom Riders: Their Relevancy Today,” a panel discussion, November 16, 6:30 p.m., at New College of Florida’s Sainer Pavilion, 5313 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota. The event is free and open to the public.
The panel will feature Dr. Ray Arsenault, author of “Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice” and “The Sound of Freedom,” Michael Jeffries, associate professor of American Studies, Wellesley College, and author of “Paint the White House Black: Barack Obama and the Meaning of Race in America,” and Ellen Ziskind, psychologist and Freedom Rider, imprisoned in Mississippi State Penitentiary for six weeks in 1961. The discussion will be moderated by Charles E. Williams, chief judge of the 12th Judicial Circuit.
“From May until November 1961, more than 400 black and white Americans risked their lives—and many endured savage beatings and imprisonment—for simply traveling together on buses and trains as they journeyed through the Deep South. Deliberately violating Jim Crow laws to test and challenge a segregated interstate travel system, the Freedom Riders met with bitter racism and mob violence along the way, sorely testing their beliefs,” said Chief Judge Williams. “These ordinary people did extraordinary things to save their country from hatred and division. Those battles and those adversaries were presumed to be a thing of the past. Recent events tell us this was not to be the case. Their struggle for the American ideal continues to become our struggle now.”
The panel is sponsored by New College of Florida, Manasota ASALH, The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee, Johnston Family Foundation, and Embracing Our Differences.
About the Panelists
Dr. Ray Arsenault
The John Hope Franklin Professor of Southern History and Chairman of the Department of History and Politics at the University of South Florida, St. Petersburg. A frequent consultant for various civil rights museums and documentaries, he is the author or editor of nine books, including “Crucible of Liberty: 200 Years of the Bill of Rights (1991),” “The Changing South of Gene Patterson: Journalism and Civil Rights, 1960-1968,” “Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice,” and “The Sound of Freedom: Marian Anderson, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Concert That Awakened America.” The 2010 PBS “American Experience” documentary, “Freedom Riders,” based on his 2006 book, won three Emmys and a George Peabody Award. He is currently writing the first full-scale biography of the legendary tennis player and public intellectual Arthur Ashe.
Professor Michael Jeffries
Professor Jeffries is associate professor of American Studies at Wellesley College. His work is focused on racism, sexism, and exploitation. He teaches courses in race and cultural studies, and the sociology of sport. His latest book is “Behind the Laughs: Community and Inequality in Comedy.” His previous, “Paint the White House Black: Barack Obama and the Meaning of Race in America,” uses Obama-related topics to demonstrate how race relies on other social forces, like gender and class, for its meaning and impact. It addresses race and nationhood, “biracialism” and Obama’s mixed heritage. Dr. Jeffries’ first book, “Thug Life: Race, Gender, and the Meaning of Hip-Hop,” puts the spotlight on hip-hop fans and documents the ways everyday listeners define hip-hop and use it in their lives. Non-academic writing has been published by The Boston Globe, The Atlantic, The Guardian, and other outlets. He is a regular contributor to Boston’s public broadcasting station, WGBH.
Freedom rider. Imprisoned in Mississippi State Penitentiary for six weeks in 1961. Psychotherapy and consultation practice in Brookline, MA. Formerly affiliated with Harvard Medical School at Cambridge Hospital and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA. Co-editor of two books: “Internal Family Systems Therapy: New Dimensions and Innovations” and “Elaborations in Internal Family Systems Therapy.”
Moderated by Charles E. Williams
Chief judge of the Twelfth Judicial Circuit Court in Sarasota County. Served on numerous committees and boards but he is most proud of his work and partnerships with the Palmetto Youth Center, the Booker High School Law Academy, Florida Studio Theatre and the Sarasota County Bar Association’s Diversity Committee. Recipient of the Sarasota County Branch NAACP’s 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award as well as the 2014 C.L. McKaig Award, in recognition and appreciation of his tireless dedication to promoting the ideals of equality, justice, and professionalism.
About The Boxser Diversity Initiative
The Boxser Diversity Initiative promotes diversity to encourage a better understanding of the diverse groups, racial, religious and gender in Southwest Florida that embrace the mission of diversity, inclusion and community. The initiative brings global speakers, commentators and scholars to the Sarasota-Manatee area. It showcases exhibits, screens films and creates events that highlight some of the most important topics of our time.
For more information, contact Dan Boxser at (941) 321-7852 or firstname.lastname@example.org