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Judy Masterson: Black History Month reflection, education

Thomas Delany Jr. Staff Photographer.
Judy Mastersresporter for The News Sun.

Thomas Delany Jr. Staff Photographer. Judy Masterson, resporter for The News Sun. 7/12/06

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Updated: April 6, 2011 4:45AM

Black History Month is a good time to reflect on the need to reignite the Civil Rights movement.

It’s been more than four decades since the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his dream, that all people, particularly people of color, would one day be judged by who they are, not what they are — race, religion, immigration status — remains largely unfulfilled.

Despite the election of the nation’s first black president, a 2009 Urban League report found that in the U.S., black people are three times more likely to live in poverty, twice as likely to be unemployed and six times more likely to be serving time in jail or prison than white people.

I plan to ask Sheyann Webb-Christburg about this rot, this stagnation.

Webb-Christbug, who will speak on her involvement in civil rights protests in Selma, Ala., in the 1960s at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Feb. 23, at CLC’s Lakeshore Campus, was just 7 years old when she joined the cause. She grew up in the George Washington Carver projects in Selma and was teargassed during what became known as Bloody Sunday on March 7, 1965, when 600 civil rights marchers were attacked by state and local police.

“We were fighting for the right to vote and we were fighting nonviolently,” Webb-Christburg said.

Nonviolent resistance is still a powerful weapon. But the poor and disenfranchised aren’t using it.

“It’s important for young people to understand their history,” Webb-Christburg said. “The opportunities black people have now are because of those who paved the way in the movement.”

Black History Month, Webb-Christburg said, should serve as a vehicle to educate. It should serve as a reminder that institutionalized inequality can be challenged and changed, that people can make a difference, whether they’re 7 or 97.

For a larger listing of Black History Month events in Lake County, visit

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