University of Florida Hosts Event Celebrating Civil Rights Movement Leaders
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University of Florida Hosts Event Celebrating Civil Rights Movement Leaders

Back in 1960 when Patricia Stephens Due was still Patricia Stephens, she was a student at Florida A&M University who changed the history of the civil rights movement. She was arrested for trying to integrate a lunch counter in Tallahassee, Florida. Her arrest marked a shift in the strategy of the fight for equality because up until that point, protesters opted to pay a fine instead of serving jail time. By choosing instead to be part of the first jail-in of the civil rights movement, she and five others received national attention that in effect aided their battle for equal rights.

Patricia Stephens Due and her husband, civil rights attorney John Due, will speak about their role in the civil rights movement in “An Evening with the Dues: Pioneers in the U.S. Civil Rights Movement,” on Feb. 16 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in the Buddy & Anne MacKay Auditorium in Pugh Hall, University of Florida. There will be free parking next to Pugh Hall the evening of the event.

“An Evening with the Dues” is being organized by the UF Center for the Study of Race and Race Relations and the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program.

The event will be moderated by noted civil rights activists Dr. Zoharah Simmons and Dan Harmeling. There will be a book signing, and copies of “Freedom in the Family: A Mother Daughter Memoir of the Fight for Civil Rights,” by Patricia Stephens Due and Tananarive Due will be available for purchase.

Dr. Paul Ortiz, the director of the Oral History Program, notes, “The emphasis of ‘An Evening with the Dues,’ is to learn about the history of the struggle for civil rights in Florida and to ask the question: how do we build on the achievements of the past? Who better than Patricia Stephens Due and John Due, who are considered to be among the most important civil rights activists in the nation, to help us address this question?”

Dr. Katheryn Russell-Brown, a Professor of Law and the Director of the UF Race Center, said, “It’s rare to have an opportunity to hear directly from people who’ve participated in the civil rights movement. The Dues are living testimony to the national impact of local political struggles. We are pleased that they will join us and that their visit has brought more than twelve university and community groups together to present the event.”

The Civic Media Center in downtown Gainesville will host a live video stream of "An Evening with the Dues" during the event. The Civic Media Center is located at 433 South Main Street. Call them at 352-373-0010 for more details.

For those who cannot attend the program, it will be recorded and streamed live on the Bob Graham Center for Public Service’s homepage. Additionally, when the program is over the video stream will be posted at the Graham Center’s events archive.

Patricia Stephens Due is available to be interviewed by the media in advance of the Feb. 16 event. To set up an interview, contact the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program at 352-392-7168.

Co-sponsors include: The University of Florida African American Studies Program, Center for African Studies, Bob Graham Center For Public Service, Center for Women’s Studies and Gender Research, Department of History, Department of Anthropology, Office of the Provost, George A. Smathers Libraries, Gainesville Women’s Liberation, Civic Media Center, and 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East – Florida Region

For more information call the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program at 352-392-7168 or the UF Center for the Study of Race and Race Relations at 352-273-0164.



Katelyn McKey, Samuel Proctor Oral History Program

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