Civil rights leader presents thought-provoking forum at Schaefer Center


The Appalachian Online

The Appalachian

A forum titled, “Whatever Happened to the Civil Rights Movement?” was held Monday evening at the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts as part of a series presented by the University Forum Committee and University College.

The forum was led by Mary Frances Berry, who is recognized as one of the United States’ most prominent leaders in civil rights, gender equality and social justice movements throughout the last four decades. She served as Chairperson of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission under four different presidents, and has written 11 books on various topics.

Berry’s oration revolved around the aftereffects of the ’60s civil rights movement. Topics ranged from Berry’s perspective on the ineffectiveness of affirmative action, to personal anecdotes about being a part of the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa during the late 1980s and early ’90s.

“Each generation has to make its own dent in the wall of injustice,” Berry said in summation of her ideas. “If you want to see change, you must put your body on the line, because there’s no quiet way to start a movement.”

Freshman biology major Lindsey Bearss attended the forum and said Berry’s speech was short, but packed with provocative thoughts and ideas. Sophomore exercise science major Alexa Triscari, who was also in attendance, said Berry opened her mind to a variety of new aspects of the civil rights movement in today’s society.

Berry’s oration, which began at 7:30 p.m., 30 minutes. Afterward, the floor was opened for questions and comments from the audience.

“I thought the questions tonight were interesting,” Berry said. “It shows that the students here are aware. I hope they continue to involve themselves in achieving social justice.”

STORY: Luke Weir, Intern News Reporter