Virginia Tech black history experts can discuss today’s civil rights protests in a historical context and other related topics
February 6, 2017
*Page updated March 2018
Virginia Tech Experts are available to discuss a variety of issues related to black history, including:
Comparing 1960s civil rights movements with today’s Black Lives Matter
Wornie Reed, director of the Race and Social Policy Research Center at Virginia Tech marched alongside Martin Luther King, Jr. during the 1960s civil rights movement. He participated in the Montgomery Bus Boycott (a result of Rosa Parks' refusal to sit in the back of the bus) and the 1963 March on Washington. He also saw King speak over 30 times, marched following King’s assassination in Memphis and attended his funeral in Atlanta.
Reed has studied race and policy for decades and can provide insight in comparing the 1960 civil rights movement with today’s Black Lives Matter. View Reed’s full bio.
“King had been whitewashed. What people know about King today was not the King I knew.”
“Martin Luther King would be very disappointed, because the poverty rate for children is higher than when he put his life on the line for it ... in many instances things are no better or may be worse and people are going around and saying they are better.”
“Many people think of King as a peacemaker ... if you do a Google search on him and peace, you will come up with those connections millions of times, more than anything else, and that is not what he was. Martin Luther King went to prison 30 times. That is not a peacemaker.”
“King was dealing with real issues not the symbolic stuff that people talk about today.”
Watch more video clips from an interview with Wornie Reed ahead of the 50th anniversary of King's assasination (April 4, 2018): https://www.dropbox.com/sh/0gdmtn9zzx0n981/AABr-9M9jpgLZlm60Wi4aucra?dl=0
Loving v. Virginia, 1967 case regarding interracial marriage
Virginia Tech’s Peter Wallenstein is available to discuss the history behind the Oscar nominated movie, “Loving.” The movie is historically significant because it includes a landmark supreme court ruling from a 1967 civil rights case on interracial marriage. Husband and wife, Richard and Mildred Loving, were at the center of this controversy.
Wallenstein has published two books focusing on the Lovings and interracial marriage: “Tell the Court I Love My Wife: Race, Marriage, and Law—an American History” (2002) and “Race, Sex, and the Freedom to Marry: Loving v. Virginia” (2014). See Wallenstein’s full bio.
Underground economies in the south
Prohibition during the 1920s gave birth to underground economies where bootlegging moonshine and Juke Joint culture grew. While much of the African American history narrative centers around urban centers, Virginia Tech expert Beverly Bunch-Lyons offers an alternative perspective with a focus on the south. View Bunch-Lyons' full bio.
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