FORTY students and faculty? Shit. Bill Mandel
> Civil rights activist rewinds time in Kent State U. speech
> February 28, 2001
> By Matt Lehman
> Daily Kent Stater
> Kent State U.
> (U-WIRE) KENT, Ohio - Attorney and civil rights activist Staughton Lynd
> attempted to turn minds into time machines Tuesday afternoon on the 12th
> floor of the library at Kent State University.
> "I'd like to bring time back a little," Lynd said.
> The audience listened carefully as Lynd discussed how the civil rights
> movement had first come to his attention. Lynd was driving a young
> African-American woman to her home in Montgomery, Ala. The young woman had
> been meeting with Lynd in Georgia, and she needed a ride home. Lynd said
> that because of the driving time between Georgia and Alabama, he just
> assumed he would be offered a place to stay when they arrived. Instead, he
> was greeted by an uncertain and concerned mother.
> "She opened the door, and I just assumed I would be offered a place for the
> night," Lynd said. "She looked at her daughter, looked at me, swallowed
> hard and after a long pause invited me in."
> Lynd said he later felt embarrassed after assuming that being white and
> staying at the woman's house was not a big deal.
> More than 40 students and faculty filled the usually quiet special
> collection's reading room to hear Lynd tell this story and others about his
> involvement in the civil rights movement of the early '60s.
> Kent State Library and Media Services held the presentation in honor of
> Black History Month.
> During the presentation, Lynd also mentioned some of the books he feels
> most accurately describe the civil rights movement. The titles included a
> biography of Martin Luther King Jr. and a book written by Charles Payne
> called I've Got the Light of Freedom. Payne's book appealed to Lynd because
> of the attention the book gives to the women in Mississippi during the
> Lynd also told of the unique experience of being offered a teaching
> position at Spelman College in Georgia, an African American, all-women's
> school. Lynd accepted the offer but said at the time the request seemed
> "I thought it seemed odd for a white professor to coordinate a program for
> black teenagers," Lynd said.
> Sometimes emotionally, Lynd told other stories to the audience. He
> discussed being the director of the freedom schools in Mississippi during
> the summer Freedom Project of 1964. Freedom schools were make-shift high
> schools for young African American men and women set up throughout
> Mississippi. He also offered some of his thoughts on the murders of three
> civil rights workers that year near the town of Philadelphia, Mississippi.
> Freshman marketing major Rachelle Brown attended Lynd's presentation and
> said his stories showed her the reality of the movement.
> "They made me realize what went on then," Brown said. "They let you know
> that people put their lives on the line."
> Lynd was not alone in his involvement. Lynd's wife, Alice, has been with
> him through many of his experiences. Lynd went on to describe why he and
> his wife chose to take part in the movement.
> "We had the opportunity to do something that [most] white people in this
> country (didn't) do," Lynd said. "We took place in an inter-racial movement
> with black leaders."
> Lynd also commented on the current state of affairs in the United States
> and how his experiences showed him that the key to change is coming together.
> "We did the best we could," Lynd said. "I think in the end we aren't going
> to be able to change things that disturb us in this society until we get"
> races together.
> At the end of his presentation, Lynd, backed by his wife, led the audience
> in singing the civil rights song, "Eye on the Prize." Audience members
> stood with their arms around each other as Lynd and his wife sang the
> verses in perfect tune.
> Lynd is not a stranger to Kent State. He was a guest speaker for the
> Friends of the Library Dinner in April, 1998 and gave a presentation called
> "Labor History, Oral History and May 4."
> Jeanne Somers, senior secretary in the library administration office, said
> Lynd has an ongoing relationship with Kent State.
> "I wouldn't be surprised if he comes back in five years or so in some
> capacity," Somers said.
> Some of Lynd's papers can be viewed in the special collections area of the
> library, and more will be added in the future.
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Sat Mar 03 2001 - 20:00:09 EST