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SEVEN DAYS OF 1961 – USA Today Podcasts

In collaboration with USA TODAY, we’re inviting guests to examine how racism continues to shape our country in this free virtual event titled, “Power To The People: How Voting Laws Have Shaped The United States And Black America.” This conversation focuses on how equal access to voting is essential to the promise of democracy.

This event is part of USA TODAY’s “Seven Days of 1961” project, which spotlights seven pivotal protests in 1961 that fueled the civil rights movement and helped end legal segregation and extend voting rights to millions of Black Americans.

This project arrives more than a year after the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and other Black Americans. It comes amid a divisive national debate over systemic racism, equal access to the voting booth, how we teach American history and what role institutions such as the police, media and government serve in making our society safe and fair for all.

“Power to the People” is inspired by mass meetings held in Black communities to end segregation. These gatherings served to keep hope alive through song, prayer and testimony.

This is the second of three virtual events USA TODAY will host as part of its “Seven Days of 1961” project. You can watch the first event on-demand here.

Seven Days of 1961: As civil rights movement intensified, these battles made the biggest difference

Reporter Deborah Barfield Berry conceived the project as a means to collect stories from veterans while they were still able to share them. She traveled to Mississippi in August 2021 to learn more about Tougaloo College students who put themselves and their families at risk to integrate a local library.

“It’s one thing to write about these historic places. It’s another to stand in front of them – with activists who were there when history was made,” Berry recalled in the book. FOR MORE

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