Students hear about current civil rights
Charles McKinney spoke with students Feb. 13 at Rocky River High School about current social movements and how lessons can be learned from history.
“My goal, and what I hope these kids leave with, is the questions we are currently asking about civil rights have roots in history,” said McKinney, associate professor of history at Rhodes College in Memphis.
“What was asked during the Civil Rights Movement and Reconstruction eras, are still being asked today.
“It’s finding the idea of what are rights, who has them and who doesn’t.”
McKinney said the same questions need to be asked to have a better society.
“Things are unequal, it’s as simple as that,” he said. “We have yet to adequately answer these questions.
“They will not be properly answered or addressed until the nation truly forms a more perfect union. It will never be perfect, but it’s about the struggle to build something better; there’s beauty in that as Dr. (Martin Luther) King (Jr.) put it.”
McKinney said the biggest misconception about the Civil Rights Movement is some feel it’s over.
“Don’t get me wrong, gains were achieved, but we’re not done,” he said. “People like to think it was without struggle.
“We have forgotten the resistance by politicians, people in power and many citizens. It wasn’t something everyone agreed with.
“People need to remember the fight and recognize we aren’t done. There is more ground to gain.”
McKinney said he feels it is good to have these discussions around Black History Month, but it shouldn’t end there.
“Civil rights isn’t something that can be booked for one month, then forgotten,” he said. “Many people have lived, and still live, through that struggle all the time.
“It is great that the month raises these questions and gets people thinking about where civil rights are. We need to take these discussions and continue, because there is more that can be done.”
Charles McKinney speaks to students at Rocky River High School about current social movements and how they relate to similar movements of the past.