SNCC Activists to Speak at the Annual King Commemoration April 21

GENESEO, N.Y. – A panel of Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) activists, Dorie Ladner, Charlie Cobb, and Charles McLaurin will deliver the keynote as SUNY Geneseo continues its commemoration of Martin Luther King’s Legacy. Their address will focus on the Mississippi Freedom Movement April 21 at 7:30 p.m. in MacVittie College Union Ballroom. The event is free and open to the public.

Ladner and McLaurin are native Mississippians and Cobb arrived in Mississippi in summer 1962 and worked there for the next five years. All three were involved in SNCC’s very early and important voter registration work that laid the basis for the 1964 Freedom Summer Project.

Ladner dropped out of school three times due to racial hostilities in the South and joined the SNCC. Throughout her years of working with SNCC, she served on the front line of the Civil Rights Movement in various capacities. She participated in every civil rights march from 1963 to 1968 including the March on Washington in 1963, the Selma to Montgomery March of 1965 and the Poor People’s March in 1968. Ladner earned her bachelor’s degree from Tougaloo College and earned her master’s degree from the Howard University School of Social Work. She has served as a clinical social worker in the Washington, D.C., General Emergency Room and Psychiatry Department for thirty years. Since her retirement, she has continued her work as a social activist by participating in genealogical research, public speaking, anti-war activities, and volunteering in the presidential campaign of Barack Obama.

Cobb, a journalist and former member of National Geographic Magazine’s editorial staff, served as a field secretary for the SNCC in Mississippi from 1962-1967. He began his journalism career in 1974 as a reporter for WHUR Radio in Washington, D.C and is currently a senior writer and diplomatic correspondent for AllAfrica.com, the leading online provider of news from and about Africa. Cobb is also the co-author, with civil rights organizer and educator Robert Moses, of Radical Equations, Civil Rights from Mississippi to the Algebra Project. His latest book was published in January 2008 titled “On the Road to Freedom, a Guided Tour of the Civil Rights Trail.” In 1008, the National Association of Black Journalists honored Cobb’s work by inducting him into their Hall of Fame.

In 1961, McLaurin attended a mass meeting at the Masonic temple in Jackson to see and hear a speech by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Inspired by King, the next day McLaurin joined the SNCC, and took part in boycotts, sit-ins, picket demonstrations and voters registration drives in Jackson, Miss. McLaurin received his early education in the Jackson Public Schools and attended Jackson State and Mississippi Valley State Universities studying Political Science and Black History. After more than 20 years on the front of the Civil Rights Movement, McLaurin is currently employed as assistant public works director for the City of Indianola.

The Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) was founded in April 1960 by young people who had emerged as leaders of the sit-in protest movement initiated on Feb. 1 of that year by four black college students in Greensboro, N.C. The SNCC grew into a large organization with many supporters in the North who helped raise funds to support SNCC’s work in the south.

The Martin Luther King Jr. commemoration events are all sponsored by Office of the Provost, Africana/Black Studies Program, the Xerox Center for Multicultural Teacher Education, the Office of the President, and the Office of Multicultural Programs and Services.

Release written by College Communications intern Jennifer Kim.

Media Contact:
David Irwin
Media Relations Manager
(585) 245-5529
Irwin@geneseo.edu