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‘50 Years Forward’ series honors civil rights efforts

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the landmark Civil Rights Act next year, the Northeastern community is coming together to honor the hundreds of thousands of people who have fought for equality and justice.

The “50 Years Forward” series, presented by the Office of Student Affairs and the College of Social Sciences and Humanities, features a yearlong commemoration of the people, events, and organizations dedicated to civil rights efforts in America and around the globe.

The series of events and activities also marks the 45th anniversary of the John D. O’Bryant African-American Institute and the 40th anniversary of the Department of African American Studies. Over the years the O’Bryant Institute has provided a range of services and programs to students of African descent to increase opportunities for academic success, civic engagement, and social inspiration. The institute is named in honor of John D. O’Bryant, Northeastern’s first African-American vice president.

Central to the series is “A Tribute to a Dream,” an event featuring a talk by Bob Moses, a civil rights pioneer and founder of the Algebra Project, a nonprofit that uses math as an organizing tool to ensure quality public education for children. The event is scheduled for Jan. 16 at 4 p.m. in the Curry Student Center Ballroom.

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Thursday marks the opening of a Gallery 360 exhibit featuring civil rights era photography from the University Libraries’ Archives and Special Collections. The opening reception is at 4 p.m.

The Archives and Special Collections preserve the history of Boston-area social groups that served underrepresented communities. Some of the photos in the exhibit portray actions and protests surrounding civil rights, while others are portraits of prominent individuals who fought for equality. The portraits include President John F. Kennedy; Jackie Robinson, the first African American to play Major League Baseball; and Coretta Scott King, a civil rights activist and wife of Martin Luther King, Jr., who received an honorary degree from Northeastern in 1971.

Use the Twitter hashtag #50yrsfwdNU to stay connected to the “50 Years Forward” series and visit for a full list of events taking place in January and February.

Those events include a celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. on his birthday on Jan. 15, and a Black History Month kickoff event on Feb. 3.

On Jan. 17, Northeastern will host a lecture by Douglas Blackmon, a professor, writer, and former journalist. The event, “Slavery by Another Name: Uncovering the Untold Stories,” is sponsored by the School of Law’s Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project in collaboration with the College of Social Sciences and Humanities and the Northeastern Humanities Center.

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