As Black History Month continues one local university continues a tradition to help students and the community learn more about civil rights.
The University of Tennessee at Martin is hosting their 20th Annual Civil Rights Conference this week.
This conference brings together speakers from across the country to talk about past and present civil rights issues.
UT Martin student, Amethyst Hawkins, says “It’s like multiple people who went through these things, they are telling us their stories. It’s pretty powerful, i like to learn from other people and their experiences.”
The conference goes deep into topics that fall under the umbrella of civil rights like voting, immigration, and the LGBTQ community.
“Because what we are trying to do, we are trying to show that civil rights is everyone’s fight. That it is not just certain groups, it’s not just groups that are understood as minorities. Minority rights are everyone’s rights", says conference coordinator, Dr. Lindsay Anderson.
The first speaker of the conference spoke about the murder of one of the charter members of the Haywood County NAACP chapter, Elbert Williams.
Lawyer Jim Emison said Williams’ murder was done to deter african americans from using one of their civil rights... voting.
Lawyer, Jim Emison, says, “People had to fight for their rights. They didn’t just… they weren’t just given to them. They had to fight for them.”
The civil rights conference will be going on all week long. In Martin, for 39 News, I’m Imani Williams.