For Immediate Release – February 10, 2005


Mary E. McCrank

Media Relations Officer

(585) 245-5516



GENESEO, N.Y. – Civil rights leader Judy Richardson, a staff member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in the early 1960s who went on to co-produce the award-winning documentary series "Eyes on the Prize," will deliver a lecture March 4 at the State University of New York at Geneseo.

The talk, titled "Struggles for Justice: Judy Richardson in the Sixties and Beyond," will be held at 7 p.m. Friday, March 4, in Newton Hall 204. The talk is free and open to the public.

As a member of SNCC, Richardson was involved in several of its most visible projects, including an explicitly interracial project in southwest Georgia; the 1964 Freedom Summer project in Mississippi; in Lowndes County, Ala., where many of the ideas associated with Black Power emerged publicly and were reflected in the image of the Black Panther; and on Julian Bond’s first campaign for the Georgia House of Representatives. She also organized a residential freedom school, which brought together young people from civil rights struggles in the north and south to talk about common concerns and strategies.

Richardson has continued to work for social justice throughout her life, as a co-founder of Drum and Spear, a black nationalist bookstore in Washington, D.C., and in producing historical documentaries, including "Eyes on the Prize," a history of the civil rights movement, and "Malcolm X: Make It Plain." She lectures nationally about the movement and appeared on numerous media shows to oppose the image of the African-American community and the movement portrayed in the film "Mississippi Burning."

Last year, SNCC leaders Chuck McDew, Bob Zellner and Unita Blackwell visited the college. Students have questions about the intersection between the civil rights and women’s movements and how gender issues played out in and emerged from the civil rights movement, notes Emilye J. Crosby, associate professor of history.

Jackie Chessen, 21, a senior sociology major from Great Neck. N.Y., is organizing the visit.

"Often it’s really difficult as a student today to be able to pinpoint exactly where our battles should be fought, where our energy for social justice should be placed. Being able to learn about a time in our not-so-distant history when young people like ourselves were in the trenches, fighting what appears to us now to be very obvious social ills, racism and oppression in our country, is immeasurable in its importance," she said. "To speak with an organizer like Richardson allows me and my peers to translate the activism of the 1960s, and the successes that activism garnered, into an understanding of how to challenge injustice today."

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