Barton Presents “Civil Rights and Social Change”

Wilson, N.C. — Barton College will host the program “Civil Rights and Social Change — Where Have We Been and Where Are We Going?” on Tuesday, Nov. 6 in Hardy Alumni Hall. The event, featuring both morning and evening sessions, is open to the public at no charge, and the community is invited to attend.

The morning session, which begins at 11 a.m., is titled “Journey to Selma.” Barton College students, who participated in a travel course to Selma, Ala., this past spring semester, will share their experiences, knowledge, and insight gained during this extraordinary journey into history and how this small town was central in the struggle for Civil Rights in America.

The program will continue at 6 p.m. with a light dinner followed by an evening panel discussion with three presenters: Joanne Bland, former director of The National Voting Rights Museum; Dr. David Cunningham, Professor of Sociology at Brandeis University; and Dr. Reginald Watson, Professor of English at East Carolina University.

Bland was a young girl in Selma, Ala. when she marched on the front lines of what would become known as “Bloody Sunday” in March 1965, witnessing brutal beatings, tear-gas attacks, and the hosing of fellow marchers by local and state police. As a teenager, she became one of the first to integrate the local high school. Co-founder and former director of the National Voting Rights Museum, Bland has dedicated her life to sharing the Selma story, and the stories of others involved in the movement. She continues to work tirelessly to promote civil and human rights, and the continuing importance of voting in our participatory democracy.

Cunningham is a sociology professor at Brandeis University, where his research and teaching interests focus on community-level contexts for the emergence of social change. In 2001, he developed a cross-country travel course, titled “Possibilities for Change in American Communities,” examining historical and contemporary activist work in some two dozen communities. He also is the author of “There’s Something Happening Here: The New Left, the Klan, and FBI Counterintelligence.” Cunningham’s current research examines the civil-rights era mobilization of the KKK in North Carolina. He received his doctorate from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

Watson is Professor of English at East Carolina University where he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in American and multicultural literature. His book manuscript, “Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Images of the Mulatto,” is currently under review by Oxford University Press. An alumnus of North Carolina Central University, he received his Master of Arts degree from East Carolina and his doctorate from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

The event is sponsored by Alpha Phi Omega, ARAMARK, The Hamlin Society, The Minority Student Association, The Psychology Club, and The Barton College Student Government Association.

For additional information, please contact Amanda Gengler, School of Behavioral Sciences, at 252-399-6441 or email:


Questions? Please contact Kathy Daughety, director of public relations, at 252-399-6529 or email: