Pulitzer Prize Winners, Voter Registration Legend Featured at Event on Teaching the Civil Rights Movement

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Two Pulitzer Prize Winners and Voter Registration Legend to Be Featured at Event on Teaching the Civil Rights Movement in Public Schools

BOSTON – Two Pulitzer Prize winners will be among those featured at a Pioneer Institute education reform forum marking the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday. “America in the Age of MLK: Teaching the Civil Rights Movement in Schools” will be held on Wednesday, January 15th at 8:00 a.m. at the Omni Parker House hotel in Boston.

One keynote address will be delivered by Robert P. Moses, who directed the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee’s Mississippi Project from 1961-64 and was a key voter registration leader. He is currently a visiting lecturer at the New York University School of Law as well as founder and president of the Algebra Project, Inc.

The other keynote will be delivered by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Taylor Branch, who is best known for his landmark trilogy on the Civil Rights era, America in the King Years. His latest book, released last year, is The King Years: Historic Moments in the Civil Rights Movement.

Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Diane McWhorter, who wrote Carry Me Home: Birmingham, Alabama – The Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution, will be part of a panel following the co-keynote addresses.

The panel will also feature Bill Carpenter, co-founder of Capital Entertainment and author of Uncloudy Days: The Gospel Music Encyclopedia; Robert Pondiscio, executive director of CitizenshipFirst; and Dr. Peniel Joseph, a history professor at Tufts University and author of Dark Days, Bright Nights: From Black Power to Barack Obama. The panel will be moderated by Gerard Robinson, a former Florida and Virginia education official.

Last year, a commission chaired by State Senator Richard Moore recommended making passage of a U.S. history MCAS test a high school graduation requirement for Massachusetts public school students. The commission’s report cited a Pioneer Institute poll that found that the commonwealth’s parents, teachers, and legislators all support restoring the U.S. history graduation requirement, which had long been planned to go into effect, but was dropped by the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education in 2009.

Pioneer Institute has actively promoted rigorous, content-based academic standards that include U.S. history and civics instruction. Pioneer has published two reports on the lack of understanding of U.S. history that has resulted from the current neglect of teaching it in public schools, and hosted numerous events featuring Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. historians and nationally-recognized experts, including: Dr. Gordon Wood of Brown University, Dr. James McPherson of Princeton University, Dr. Jack Rakove of Stanford University, Dr. Howard Dodson of Howard University, Dr. E.D. Hirsch, Jr. of the University of Virginia, as well as Jeff Shesol, Willard Sterne Randall, Ron Powers, and Jocelyn Chadwick.

“America in the Age of MLK: Teaching the Civil Rights Movement in Schools” is co-sponsored by the Program on Education Policy & Governance at the Harvard Kennedy School, the Black Alliance for Educational Options, the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice at Harvard Law School, The Concord Review, We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution, CitizenshipFirst, The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, and the Massachusetts Historical Society.

Taylor Branch, Bill Carpenter, Diane McWhorter, Robert P. Moses, and Peniel Joseph will all be available to sign copies of their books following the event, which is free and open to the public. Please RSVP to Brian Patterson at (617) 723-2277, ext. 217 or bpatterson@pioneerinst.wpengine.com.

Pioneer Institute is an independent, non-partisan, privately funded research organization that seeks to improve the quality of life in Massachusetts through civic discourse and intellectually rigorous, data-driven public policy solutions based on free market principles, individual liberty and responsibility, and the ideal of effective, limited and accountable government.