Walker, Belafonte Appearing at JSU Civil Rights Conference | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Walker, Belafonte Appearing at JSU Civil Rights Conference


Actor Harry Belafonte Jr., writer Alice Walker and filmmaker Keith Beauchamp are headlining the third annual Conference of the Veterans of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement at Jackson State University starting this Thursday.

Belafonte rose to fame as a singer and actor. He was a confidant and supporter of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and helped finance the civil rights era Freedom Rides, make bail for jailed activists and organize the March on Washington in 1963. President John F. Kennedy named him a cultural adviser to the Peace Corps, and more recently, he served as a goodwill ambassador to UNICEF.

Walker, one of the most important writers of our time, lived in Jackson in the '60s and taught at Jackson State and Tougaloo College. She won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1983 for "The Color Purple," and is an ardent civil rights and feminist activist. Walker has published dozens of additional prose and poetry books over the years, including the controversial "Possessing the Secret of Joy," a biography of poet Langston Hughes, and she edited "I Love Myself," a Zora Neale Hurston reader.

Beauchamp spent 10 years investigating the 1955 murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till. His investigation led to the Justice Department reopening the case in 2004, and he produced and directed the documentary film, "The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till," in 2005. The case remains open.

The conference, "Visions and Visionaries: Still Moving Forward," is hosted by JSU, and runs for three days, March 27-29, in the University e-Center. In addition to the keynote speakers, the agenda includes plenary sessions, workshops and panel discussions. The cost is $75 for the entire conference; individual events priced separately. Beauchamp is scheduled to speak at Friday's luncheon at 12:45 p.m., Walker at Friday's Presidential Banquet at 6:30 p.m. and Belafonte at Saturday's Veteran's Luncheon at noon. For additional information, call 601-979-1515.

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