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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Trotter Center Highlights the Civil Rights Movement

The William Monroe Trotter Institute, once a silent staple on campus, steps out in a big way this year with a new director, Dr. Barbara Lewis, and new direction. Founded in 1984, the Trotter Institute set out to conduct research within the African American Community. In hopes of becoming more involved with students and more visible on UMass Boston’s campus, Dr. Lewis is pushing to switch its research focus to outreach.

On the heels of successful events last semester that brought both contentious Boston University Professor Glenn Loury and Gem of the Ocean star Lisa Gay Hamilton to the campus, Dr. Lewis continues to advance the Trotter’s profile on campus. In celebration of Black History Month this February, the Trotter Institute along with UMass Boston, is organizing events to be held every Wednesday beginning at noon on the eleventh floor of Healy Library. Dr Lewis’s goal in designing this series was not only to bring entertainment to students, but also to educate.

“Looking at subjects they find interesting and entertaining, that would make them look at the frame work of their world, to connect with what came before, and to help them envision the destinations they are heading for,” says Lewis.

The series theme is based on the civil rights movement and its historical impact on the African American Community. The first event, scheduled on February 2, was to introduce the students to the life history of the center’s namesake, William Monroe Trotter, by having two biographers speak about his life and work. However, the event was cancelled due to one of the speakers falling ill.

Trotter was a historic African American figure, and according to Lewis, the first African American phi beta kappa graduate from Harvard University. She adds that Trotter was a founding member of the Guardian, the newspaper from which the Bay State Banner, the contemporary black community-focused newspaper in Boston, evolved.

“I don’t know if people on campus know much about him,” Dr. Lewis told The Mass Media last fall of Trotter. “He started a legacy and that legacy is ongoing and to honor him and his memory I think we should definitely be very interested in and focused on history.”

On February 9, the series, as well as that historical focus, will continue on as author Judge Charles Walker, a Tufts University law professor, will present and discuss his father’s experience as a Tuskegee Airman during World War II.

On February 16 and 23 respectively, documentaries chronicling the Emmett Till murder of 1955, and the murder of three civil right workers killed in the summer of 1964 will be shown.Another event in April will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

According to Dr. Lewis, a documentary club and/or discussion group for students with a focus on black culture and history, as well as Boston-area tours revolving around African American figures and their contributions are in the works.