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African American History Month Event: Participants In M.L. King's Civil Rights Movement Hold Reunion


Phyllis Cohen Stevens
Deputy Director of News Services

(718) 997-5597

Maria Matteo
News Assistant
(718) 997-5593


-- Free Documentary Films on Rosa Parks and Emmett Louis Till, Afro-Cuban Music, Display on Black Inventors and Discussions Are Among the Many Other Public Events Taking Place During February, African American History Month --

FLUSHING, NY, January 25, 2006 – In the summer of 1965 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. recruited the late Rev. Hosea L. Williams and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) – along with over 500 summer college student volunteers — to register African Americans to vote in 120 counties in five Southern states. This major voter registration effort came to be known as the Summer Community Organization and Political Education (SCOPE) project.

Among the students who participated in the SCOPE contingent assigned to Orangeburg, South Carolina, were Peter Geffen, a graduate of Queens College, founder of the Abraham Joshua Heschel School and former Executive Director of The Center for Jewish History; Moshe “Mickey” Shur, now as Rabbi Shur, head of the Queens College chapter of Hillel; and Dean Savage, currently a professor of Sociology at the college and chair of the department. The project, which resulted in the registration of 49,000 new voters in the South, had a huge impact on their lives.

On February 8, these three men will come together to take part in a special event at Queens College called “The Scope of Freedom: Dr. King’s Civil Rights Movement.” Scheduled to attend and also share their SCOPE experiences are: Joel Siegel (ABC "Good Morning America)", who will bring greetings and remembrances of his SCOPE involvement through the UCLA contingent; Barbara Jean Emerson, Rev. Williams’ daughter and former Associate Provost at Queens College, and Willy Siegel Leventhal, who wrote about this ground-breaking civil rights initiative in his book, The Scope of Freedom: The Leadership of Hosea Williams with Dr. King’s Summer ’65 Student Volunteers.

This program is part of a variety of Queens College public events in February under the title “Remembering the Past: Celebrating the Future” to commemorate African American History Month.

“As a collaboration among students, clubs, faculty and staff, these programs have been organized to celebrate the significance of the events that happened in the past, the struggles that are still going on today, and how they will affect the future of civil rights in this country,” says Constance Capobianco, Director of the Health Service Center at Queens College, who headed the college’s African American History Committee.

“The topics and events we are remembering in February are as diverse as the people who fought for these rights….It’s their culture we’re also embracing,” says Randall Clarke, president of the Black Student Union of Queens College.

More information is available at The following events are free and open to the public:

Wednesday, February 1; Thursday, February 2; Friday, February 3 and
Monday, February 6: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm

Student Union, 1st Floor
Documentary Film: Mighty Times: The Legacy of Rosa Parks, 50 min.
Film times: Running continuously
An entertaining and educational tribute to the life of Rosa Parks, whose legendary bus boycott on December 1, 1955 helped overturn an unjust law and create a legacy that continues to inspire social activists today. Features stunning black-and-white footage and music by Keb Mo, John Lee Hooker, et al

On display: “Tribute to Rosa Parks”: A memorial of her life, and what led up to and followed her simple act of defiance against racial discrimination. Includes timelines, storyboards and photo displays.

Monday, February 6: 12:15 – 1:45 pm
LeFrak Concert Hall
Presentation of Afro-Cuban Music and Literature
Includes performances by Antonio Hart on saxophone, Michael Lipsey on percussion, and discussion by Comparative Literature Professor Christopher Winks.

Wednesday, February 8: 12:15 – 1:45 pm
Student Union, Room 206
Civil Rights Presentation directed by Rabbi Moshe Shur: “The Scope of Freedom: Dr. King’s Civil Rights Movement”
Participants in the SCOPE voter registration initiative of summer 1965 share their experiences.

Wednesday, February 15: 12:15 – 1:45 pm
Student Union, Room 310
Presentation by the Caribbean Student Association: “The Stop They Made Before America”
Explores the history of the Caribbean Islands before the discovery of America.

Tuesday, February 21: 12:15 – 1:45 pm
Student Union, 4th Floor
Documentary Film presented by Black Student Union: The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till
Includes never-before-seen testimony on Emmett Louis Till, who in 1955 at age 14 was brutally murdered in a small Mississippi town after he supposedly whistled at a white woman. This film helped reopen the infamous murder case.

Wednesday, February 22, 12:15 – 1:45 pm
Student Union, Room 310
Documentary Film co-sponsored by the Anthropology Club: Race: The Power of an Illusion
This 2003 film explores the contradictory assumptions and myths that surround the notions of race we all hold.

Monday, February 27: 12:15 – 1:45 pm
Student Union, 4th Floor
Resource Fair represented by Black, African and Caribbean Clubs
On display: “Tribute to Rosa Parks”: A memorial of her life, and what led up to and followed her simple act of defiance against racial discrimination. Includes timelines, storyboards and photo displays.

Wednesday, March 1: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Dining Hall
Exhibit: “Making it in America! Black Inventors USA”: A multi-media, multi-dimensional exhibition in conjunction with Student Life that features 25 tables of rare, antique 3-D artifacts on the myriad inventions by black people who have made a contribution to the industrial, technological, social and economic progress of America throughout its history. Tour guides will be available to take visitors on walk-throughs. Of particular interest to elementary and secondary school groups.

Ongoing Activities
• Display in college bookstore of books by leading Black authors, available for purchase at 20% discount throughout February
• “This Little Light of Mine”: Sponsored by Queens College, the Queens Borough Public Library/Flushing branch will mount a new exhibition showcasing Walt Whitman’s views on slavery that spotlight local black history of his time through the present day, as well as the diversity of Queens’ African American heritage.

For directions to Queens College, please visit where you will also find a detailed campus map. The college is located at 65-30 Kissena Boulevard in Flushing, exit 24 (Kissena Boulevard) from the LIE and on many bus routes.


 Office Information

Deputy Director of News Services
(Position vacant)

(718) 997- 5597

Maria Matteo
Assistant Director of News Services
Queens Hall, Room 270B
(718) 997-5593

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