Road to Freedom Study

Join Mike Stevens and members of First Church for an in-depth exploration into the U.S. Civil Rights Movement and its implications for us today.

The Civil Rights Movement from 1954 to 1968 has frequently been viewed as a watershed moment in the history of our country as the time of more fully living into the nation’s creed that “all men are created equal” with “inalienable rights” to “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” But as the topics of racial justice and white supremacy have become more ubiquitous in contemporary society, should we now look at the Civil Rights Movement in a different light?

In four or five sessions, we will discuss this question. We will start with a brief view of some of the historical aspects of slavery and white supremacy that are evident today. Then we’ll take a look at an overview of the Civil Rights Movement, why and how it came to be in the short window of 14 years, and why it splintered. Finally, we’ll discuss the impact of the Civil Rights Movement on our current-day discussion of race and white supremacy; what lessons can we take from the Movement?

Participants will be asked to prepare with approximately 40 to 50 pages of reading prior to each week’s discussion. We hope to have two guest speakers, an African-American man who grew up in North Carolina during the Jim Crow period and was one of the students in the Greensboro sit-ins; and an African-American woman who is currently running the Young People’s Project in Cambridge and other sites around the country and whose father is Bob Moses, the creator and one of the leaders of the 1965 “Freedom Summer” in Mississippi.

This study will be led by Mike Stevens, husband of Peggy Stevens. For the last nine years Mike has taught a course on the United States Civil Rights Movement to New Hampshire public high school students during the summer at St. Paul's School's Advanced Studies Program. Mike worships at the Society of St. John the Evangelist, an Episcopal monastery in Cambridge, where he is a member of the Fellowship of St. John.

When: Tuesday Nights in Lent Following the 'Tuesdays Together in Lent' Community Meal, February 20 and 27, March 6, 13, and 20 @ 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.