Never Forget: Memorialization and Commemoration at Orangeburg, Kent State, and Jackson State

Thursday, April 2, 2020, 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM

Type: Roundtable Discussion

Tags: Crime and Violence; Education; Public History and Memory


This roundtable will explore the differences in commemorations and memorialization at Kent State University, Jackson State College, and South Carolina State University in Orangeburg, three universities tragically linked by the use of state violence against protesting students. As Kent State and Jackson State prepare for their 50-year commemorations, it is important to consider why similar events are remembered so differently and attempt to better understand the efforts of individuals trying to preserve this difficult history. The conversation will cover many pressing issues, including memory and history, race, and the power of the First Amendment.

Session Participants

Chair: Terri Lee Freeman, National Civil Rights Museum
Terri Lee Freeman was appointed president of the National Civil Rights Museum in November 2014. As president, Freeman is responsible for providing strategic leadership in furthering the museum’s mission as an educational and cultural institution.

In addition to updating the organization’s vision and mission, Freeman has placed her emphasis on building the museum’s reputation as the new public square. While stewarding the integrity of the Museum’s historic content, Freeman has expanded the public programming to increasingly focus on contemporary civil and human rights issues such as criminal justice, education, and basic human rights for marginalized populations. A safe space for difficult conversations, Freeman created “Unpacking Racism for Action” a six-month dialogue program to go deep into issues of implicit bias and structural racism. Through her collaborative approach to the work, she has increased the public engagement four-fold, with visitors to public programs increasing exponentially, more than 300 percent.

Prior to joining the Museum, Ms. Freeman served as president of the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region for 18 years. She distinguished herself for her community building, and her ability to grow the Foundation’s reputation as an effective and strategic funder in the metropolitan DC region.

Her intense passion for the nonprofit sector and community was nurtured while serving as the founding executive director of the Freddie Mac Foundation, at the time, one of the five largest corporate foundations in the metropolitan Washington region.

A frequently sought after speaker, Ms. Freeman lives by the saying that what’s most important is what people say about you when you aren’t in the room.

Freeman received her bachelor’s degree in journalism/communication arts from the University of Dayton and her Master's degree in organizational communications from Howard University. She is married to Dr. Bowyer G. Freeman and is the proud mother of three daughters and grandmother of two.

Panelist: Mindy Farmer, May 4 Visitors Center at Kent State University

Dr. Mindy Farmer is the director of the May 4th Visitors Center and an assistant professor in the History Department at Kent State University where she oversees all aspects of the Center’s educational programming and academic outreach. During her tenure, the Center has doubled in size to include a new Reflection Gallery which hosts new, original exhibitions. She and her team our currently working on a series of exhibits celebrating the lives of the four students killed on May 4, 1970 and a collaborative tribute to the 50th anniversaries of the shootings at Kent State and Jackson State. Farmer was also a coauthor of the successful application to make the May 4 Shootings Site a National Historic Landmark.

Before joining the Center, she worked for the National Archives and Records Administration as the founding education specialist at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum. One of her primary – and most challenging –missions was to build public trust and establish nonpartisanship educational programming at the once highly partisan, private institution. She played a key role in some of the Library’s most high-profile successes, including the creation of the Watergate Gallery and the first academic conference. She also worked closely with local educators on a variety of innovative initiatives and oversaw the bustling school tour program. She also rewrote the panel on the Kent State Shootings.

Dr. Farmer holds a doctorate in modern United States history from Ohio State University. She has taught a variety of courses at both at her alma mater and the University of Dayton.

Panelist: Robert Luckett, Jackson State University
Robby Luckett received his BA in political science from Yale University and his PhD from the University of Georgia with a focus on modern civil rights movement history. A native Mississippian, he returned home, where he is a tenured Associate Professor of History and Director of the Margaret Walker Center for the Study of the African American Experience at Jackson State University. His book, Joe T. Patterson and the White South’s Dilemma: Evolving Resistance to Black Advancement, was published by the University Press of Mississippi (2015). Along with other academic publications and presentations at numerous conferences, Robby has appeared in several documentaries, including the Independent Lens film Spies of Mississippi. He has served as an expert witness in litigation to end the practice of felony disfranchisement in Mississippi and has testified before the state legislature on the matter. Robby is an Advisory Board member for the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum and the Mississippi Book Festival, and he serves as Vice President of the Board of Directors of Common Cause Mississippi and as Secretary of the Board for the Association of African American Museums. In 2017, Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba appointed him to the Board of Trustees of Jackson Public Schools. Robby has three children: Silas, Hazel, and Flip.

Panelist: Frank C. Martin, The I.P. Stanback Museum and Planetarium
Frank C. Martin, II, is a graduate of Yale University and the City University of New York, Hunter College, with additional study in contemporary art at the Institute of Fine Arts of New York University. A former Curator of Exhibitions and Collections, Martin currently serves as Director of The I. P. Stanback Museum at South Carolina State University. Initially trained as an art theorist and critic of cultural interpretation, Martin has served as an academic advisor for the PBS documentary, Shared History and as contributing critic in the fine arts for The Charleston Post and Courier, one of the South’s oldest newspapers. Appointed as a Carolina Diversity Professors Doctoral Scholar in the Department of Philosophy at the University of South Carolina, Martin’s area of specialization is the study of axiology, concentrating in the field of aesthetics. A faculty member in the discipline of art history at South Carolina State University, Martin also serves as an adjunct professor of art history at the Salkehatchie and Walterboro extensions of the University of South Carolina in Allendale, and has been a guest faculty member for special topics in the Department of Art History at The College of Charleston. Martin is a member of AICA, the International Association of Art Critics (Association Internationale des Critiques d’Art) based in Paris. His published projects include contributions to the Henry Louis Gates encyclopedic African American Biography, organized by Harvard University and the Oxford University Press, contributing research pertaining to American artists of the African diaspora. In 2014, Martin was designated Professor of the Year, for the School of Education, Humanities, and Social Sciences at South Carolina State University.