Southern History and Civil Rights in the News 19 February 2021

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Southern History and Civil Rights in the News

19 February 2021


This week brought quite a few more stories to celebrate Black History Month. Philadelphia’s NBC affiliate interviewed former Tennessee State Representative Johnnie R Turner on her days in the civil rights struggle in Memphis. Another of their features this week was an interview with Purcell Conway, who worked in the civil rights movement in Tallahassee. Sacramento’s ABC affiliate wrote of Nathaniel S Colley, “Mr. Civil Rights of California.” Colley, who was a lawyer who argued and won anti-discrimination cases before the US Supreme Court, will have a Sacramento-area school named in his honor and his office, the first opened by an African American in Sacramento, has been added to the Sacramento Register of Historic and Cultural Resources.


The Salina Post (KS) has a story about the First Amendment and the Civil Rights movement, which includes a link to a free course on the same topic. WMCTV, NBC affiliate in Memphis has a look at “The Fight for Equality: Then and Now,” which looks at the similarities and differences between the classic civil rights era and today’s movement for social justice. Likewise, the Post and Courier (Charleston, SC), wrote about the two movements separated by fifty years, including interviews with many contemporary leaders in the movement in South Carolina. Also from South Carolina: WLTX, the CBS affiliate in Columbia reported that the University of South Carolina is the recipient of forty years’ worth of documentary footage from Steve Crump, a long-time producer of documentaries about the civil rights movements in the state, including the Orangeburg Massacre and the Columbia protest over segregated buses that happened a year and a half before the Montgomery bus boycott.


Finally this week, Penn Today, news site of the University of Pennsylvania, featured the story of Sadie T M Alexander, the first African American woman to graduate from the university’s School of Law and enter the Pennsylvania bar, a few years after she had become the first Black woman in the US to earn a PhD in economics, also from Penn. She followed those academic achievements with a long career in service to civil rights, which you can read more about here.


Until next week, stay well,


Michele “Scout” Johnson

Editor, H-South


This series of weekly posts to H-South, “Southern History and Civil Rights in the News,” aims to track informed public discussions of southern history and civil rights. To recommend a reading, please email Dr. Michele Johnson at