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Freedom Riders 50th anniversary events

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To mark the 50th anniversary of the five Freedom Riders' attempt to integrate interstate bus terminals in Little Rock, UALR's new Institute on Race and Ethnicity will host a pair of events this weekend. On Saturday, July 9, it teams with the UALR History Department to present a symposium called "Freedom Rides, Sit-Ins and Beyond: Direct Action and the Civil Rights Movement in Arkansas in the 1960s" at the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center. The event is free and open to the public.

On Sunday, July 10, the institute hosts a commemorative event at the Old State House beginning at 2 p.m. The agenda includes the unveiling of a commemorative plaque, a ribbon cutting for the Arkansas Civil Rights Heritage trail and a performance by the United Voices of Gaines Street Baptist Church.

John Curtis Raines, one of the five Freedom Riders arrested in Little Rock in 1961, will participate along with a number of former members of the Arkansas Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in both events. Arsnick, as it was called, played a pivotal role in desegregation efforts in the state.

John Kirk, Donaghey professor of history and chair at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, is co-editor along with Jennifer Jensen Wallach of "Arsnick: The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in Arkansas," which was recently published by the University of Arkansas Press. Both Kirk and Wallach will serve as moderators at the symposium. Below is a schedule of the Saturday event.

9 a.m.-10:30 a.m: "From Sit-Ins to Freedom Rides: Little Rock, 1960-1962." With John Kirk as moderator and Frank James, Worth Long, Freedom Rider John Curtis Raines and Bill Hansen as panelists.  

10:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m.: "SNCC in Arkansas: Little Rock and Pine Bluff." With John Kirk as moderator and Bill Hansen, Robert Whitfield, Jim Jones and Howard Himmelbaum as panelists.

2 p.m.-3:30 p.m.: "SNCC in Arkansas: Forrest City and West Helena." With Jennifer Jensen Wallach, assistant professor at University of North Texas and co-editor of "Arsnick: The Student the Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in Arkansas," as moderator and Michael Simmons, Dwight Williams and Bryan Rybolt as panelists.

3:45 p.m.-5:15 p.m.: "SNCC in Arkansas: Gould." With novelist Sanderia Smith as moderator and Lucy Whitfield, Marion Cox, Kenneth Harris, Laura Foner and John Walker as panelists.

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