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Selma to Montgomery: Marching Along the Civil Rights Trail

February 27–April 12 (see March 12 opening information, below)

An exhibition of photographs by Stephen Somerstein
Center for Art and Dance, Flaten Art Museum

Selma to Montgomery: Marching Along the Voting Rights Trail documents the quest for democracy and social justice through 45 photographs from the archives of Stephen Somerstein, then college student and editor-in-chief and picture editor of the City College of New York newspaper. His photographs reveal the nonviolent discipline of the marchers and movement’s leaders, and depict the Alabama onlookers who found themselves at the heart of a national battle. As present-day demonstrations against racial injustice occupy the nation’s attention, Somerstein’s photographs illuminate a resonant chapter in the black freedom struggle.

Alabama Return: Life in Segregated Alabama

March 2, noon

Buntrock Commons, Viking Theater

This 30-minute film, produced by St. Olaf alumnus Jeff Strate ’66 and widely aired on PBS, documents the experiences of 65 St. Olaf students who volunteered for the Tuskegee Institute Summer Education Program in the summer of 1965.

Gallery Talk

March 2, 3:45 p.m.

Center for Art and Dance, Flaten Art Museum

Tonya Kjerland ’90 will share how her late husband, David Kjerland ’65, drew inspiration for his art from his experiences as a volunteer in the Tuskegee Institute Summer Education Program (TISEP) in 1965.

Alabama Return: Life in Segregated Alabama

March 4, noon

Buntrock Commons, Viking Theater

This 30-minute film, produced by St. Olaf alumnus Jeff Strate ’66 and widely aired on PBS, documents the experiences of 65 St. Olaf students who volunteered for the Tuskegee Institute Summer Education Program in the summer of 1965.

Gallery Talk

March 4, 3:45 p.m.

Center for Art and Dance, Flaten Art Museum

Sheryl Anderson Renslo ’66 along with Jeff Strate ’66, filmmaker of Alabama Return: Life in Segregated Alabama, produced for Twin Cities Public Television in 1996, recounts how their experiences as St. Olaf students participating in the Tuskegee Institute Summer Education Program (TISEP) in 1965 forever changed the way they see the world.

Race, Policing, and Inner City Boys: Questioning the ‘Broken Windows’ Theory

March 4, 7 p.m.

Buntrock Commons, Viking Theater (streamed and archived online)

Victor Rios, Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara

The Broken Windows Theory, which essentially states that preventing small crimes such as vandalism and public drinking prevents more serious crimes from happening, has come under sharp criticism recently from observers who think it has contributed to over-policing in America. Rios’s research tracks the corrosive effects of policing and the criminal justice system on low-income young people of color in Oakland, California. He reports about the ways in which black and Latino youth adapt to the constant harassment and humiliation of the “youth control complex” on the streets and in school as enforced by police. Rios concludes that the result is a vicious cycle of criminalization and incarceration, and that these young men attempt to maintain their dignity in ways that often backfire, deepening their social and economic isolation. Rios is the author of Punished: Policing the Lives of Black and Latino Boys and Street Life: Poverty, Gangs, and a Ph.D. His research interests include educational equity, restorative justice, resilience, motivation, and youth culture.

Gallery Talk

March 6, noon

Center for Art and Dance, Flaten Art Museum

Retired St. Olaf College Pastor Bruce Benson will share his experiences as an exchange student at Talladega College in Alabama during the winter and spring terms of 1966.

Gallery Talk

March 9, 3:45 p.m.

Center for Art and Dance, Flaten Art Museum

Associate College Archivist Jeff Sauve will share some of the information and materials found in the Shaw-Olson Center for College History about St. Olaf’s role in both the civil rights and voting rights movements of the 1960s.

Chapel service: Creating Southern History

March 10, 11:10 a.m.

Boe Memorial Chapel (streamed live and archived online)

Listen to students describe the 2015 Creating Southern History Interim course that took them to Alabama while retracing the history of the civil rights movement.

Screening of the motion picture Selma

March 10, 7 p.m.

Tomson Hall 280

Selma chronicles the tumultuous three-month period in 1965 when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led a campaign to secure equal voting rights in the face of violent opposition. The epic march from Selma to Montgomery culminated in President Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the most significant victories for the civil rights movement. Director Ava DuVernay’s film tells the real story of how the revered leader and visionary and his brothers and sisters in the movement prompted change that forever altered history.

Talk Back: From Selma to St. Olaf

March 10, 9 p.m.

Tomson Hall 280

Anne and Leah Reeb will speak about the role their father and grandfather, James Reeb ’50, played in the voting rights movement.

Gallery Talk

March 11, noon

Center for Art and Dance, Flaten Art Museum

Anne and Leah Reeb will speak about the role their father and grandfather, James Reeb ’50, played in the voting rights movement.

Two screenings of the motion picture Selma

March 11, 7 and 9:30 p.m.

Tomson Hall 280

Selma chronicles the tumultuous three-month period in 1965 when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led a campaign to secure equal voting rights in the face of violent opposition. The epic march from Selma to Montgomery culminated in President Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the most significant victories for the civil rights movement. Director Ava DuVernay’s film tells the real story of how the revered leader and visionary and his brothers and sisters in the movement prompted change that forever altered history.

Immediately following the 7 p.m. screening, a student-moderated discussion and Q&A on the film will be held in the Tomson Hall East Lantern. The discussion will be facilitated by the St. Olaf Cultural Union for Black Expression (CUBE), an organization that discusses issues relating to African American communities.

Chapel service honoring James Reeb ’50

March 12, 11 a.m.

Boe Memorial Chapel (streamed live and archived online)

This chapel service will be dedicated to the legacy of the Rev. James Reeb ’50 and the important role his life and death played in the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The Rev. Gilbert H. Caldwell, a fellow clergyman who traveled from Boston to Selma with Reeb, will speak alongside Reeb’s daughter Anne and granddaughter Leah.

Rev. James Reeb Reflection Room Dedication

March 12, 11:45 a.m.

Rolvaag Memorial Library (lobby)

After chapel join us in a ribbon-cutting ceremony to dedicate a lasting memorial for the Rev. James Reeb ’50 and the more than 65 St. Olaf students who participated in activities in support of equality and inclusion in 1964–66.

From Selma to Stonewall: Continuing the Struggle for Inclusive Civil Rights

March 12, 3 p.m.

Buntrock Commons, Viking Theater

Gilbert H. Caldwell is a retired United Methodist minister and a lifelong activist in the civil rights movement from the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer to the Million-Man March of 1996. He has authored numerous books and blogs on social justice, including his latest collection, Something Within. Caldwell served several historic black churches in the Northeast, including Union Methodist in Boston and St. Mark’s in Harlem. He also served as associated general secretary to the General Commission on Religion and Race in Washington, D.C., and as executive director of the Ministerial Interfaith Association of Harlem. He is a national board member of PFLAG, and is a co-founder of Truth in Progress. 

Memorializing the Civil Rights Movement

March 12, 4 p.m.

Center for Art and Dance 305

Professor of History Michael W. Fitzgerald’s Interim 2015 course Experiencing Southern History examined how Alabama’s official sites of memory — museums, monuments, and memorials — reflect the competing demands of politics, public attitudes, schools, and tourism. Fitzgerald will frame the current Flaten exhibit within the political context of Alabama in 1965 and draw on his course’s weeklong Alabama visit to examine how the civil rights movement is memorialized 50 years later.

Gallery reception for Selma to Montgomery: Marching Along the Voting Rights Trail

March 12, 5–7 p.m.

Center for Art and Dance, Flaten Art Museum

This exhibition is generously supported by the Glen H. and Shirley Beito Gronlund Annual Exhibition Series Fund.