UT Helps Reenact Civil Rights History

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KNOXVILLE — The University of Tennessee is helping commemorate a key event of the Civil Rights Movement.

UT’s Community Partnership Center and Knoxville’s Mount Zion Baptist Church are co-sponsoring a reenactment of the Montgomery, Ala., bus boycott of 1955.

Tony Hebert, the center’s program coordinator, said UT students, local youths and community volunteers will recreate figures such as civil rights leader Martin Luther King and Montgomery resident Rosa Parks, whose arrest for refusing to sit in a rear bus seat launched the boycott.

Hebert said the event is part of the center’s Living Legacy project that gives youths the opportunity to produce historical documents about civil rights through interviews with senior citizens.

A videotaped presentation of the reenactment will be shown at 4 p.m., Jan. 16, at Mount Zion Baptist Church as part of a Martin Luther King Holiday program.

“The kids have created storyboards, and they are excited about filming,” Hebert said. “It gives them a chance to take what they have learned from elders in the community and see it in a unique perspective.”

The Montgomery bus boycott lasted more than a year and was a pivotal point in the national struggle for equal rights.

Alan Jones of Mount Zion Baptist Church said Knoxville Area Transit is providing a 1950s-era bus and local theatre groups are supplying vintage costumes. Knoxville Community Development Corp., the Knoxville Police Department and Stop-N-Go Market on Brooks Road also supported the project.

“Just as the boycott helped spark the Civil Rights movement, we hope this event sparks interest in the minds of the children to research their legacy and respect their elders,” Jones said.

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