Stories

Democracy/Civic Engagement

  • Sophia Bracy Harris: Early Orientation & Founding of FOCAL

    Sophia Bracy Harris is Executive Director of the Federation of Child Care Centers of Alabama (FOCAL) and Alabama Director of the Southern Rural Black Women’s Initiative for Economic and Social Justice (SRBWI). Her lifelong dedication to improving educational opportunities for children and their families has been recognized with the Rockefeller Public Service Award, Gleitsman...

  • Presenting "Southern Voices," an Oral History Archive

    All over the American South, civic-minded people are working to improve communities by building coalitions and breaking down barriers to opportunity. The recent commemorations on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, honored the sacrifices of those who marched 50 years ago and the gains they brought to bear on our society. Many of those brave...

  • Shirley Sherrod: Splitting with SNCC and founding SWGAP

    Shirley and Charles Sherrod founded the Southwest Georgia Project for Community Education in 1961 to educate, engage and empower through advocacy and community organizing. SWGAP has successfully addressed school segregation, welfare rights, voter rights and education, housing, land loss, economic development and unfair policies affecting school children and families....

  • Hollis Watkins: Founding of Southern Echo

    A veteran of the civil rights movement, Hollis Watkins founded Southern Echo, a leadership development, education and training organization working to develop effective, accountable grassroots leadership in rural Mississippi and the surrounding region.

    Watkins and Southern Echo have been instrumental in challenging redistricting in Mississippi,...