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Fighting for Freedom Virtual Symposium

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Image of a labor rally with text about the event.

Georgia State University and the University of Maryland are pleased to announce that the first annual Fighting for Freedom Symposium will be held on April 4, 2024. The Symposium will feature diverse scholarship on the complex relationship between organized labor and civil rights activism through the past century. This one-day virtual event is free to attend and open to the public.

View our agenda.

Join us for a keynote address and eight virtual sessions that will include presentations from professors, doctoral students, attorneys, research analysts, and research archivists on the following topics and more:

  • Challenges of organizing low-wage minority workers in the South
  • Effects of Black labor organization on the business, radio, entertainment industry in Los Angeles in the 1930s
  • Labor and civil rights alliance in Little Rock, Arkansas, prior to school integration, through the lens of the city’s first integrated public transportation company
  • Untold stories from the Reuther Library and the records of anti-union management from Cornell University labor archives
  • Backlash against the rollout of President Kennedy’s executive order on affirmative action
  • Ethics and effects of digitizing the archival content of contemporary activism

These researchers will seek to present new ways that contemporary scholarship can help us understand the history of this critical alliance of twentieth-century activism.

The symposium is inspired by GSU and UMD’s collaborative exhibit “Fighting for Freedom: Labor and Civil Rights in the American South” and the universities’ Advancing Workers’ Rights project, which has digitized thousands of records from the AFL-CIO Civil Rights Department’s National Office and Southeast Division and made those accessible through the Digital Library of Georgia’s Civil Rights. The Fighting for Freedom Symposium is in part supported by the Digitizing Hidden Collections grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR). The grant program is made possible by funding from the Mellon Foundation.



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