* Much has been written about the civil rights era, but not enough has been said about black women’s influence on the civil rights movement. Associate Professor Tiyi Morris, Ph.D., brings black women to the forefront as agents of change in her book Womanpower Unlimited and the Black Freedom Struggle in Mississippi.
“It is my responsibility as a historian to continue to uncover the ways in which black women have contributed to the black freedom movement and how black women have sustained their families, their communities and each other,” said Morris. “This work demonstrates the legacy of black women’s activism that extends from anti-slavery and feminist activism in the early 1800s to the #BlackLivesMatter movement today.”
Womanpower Unlimited was a black women’s civil rights organization based in Jackson, Miss. Founded in 1961, the organization was created initially to provide aid to Freedom Riders, but its activism expanded to include programs such as voter registration drives, youth education and participation in Women Strike for Peace.
“Black women, and Womanpower specifically, were central to Movement success within the state,” said Morris.
In the book, Morris chronicles the organization’s role in sustaining the civil rights movement in Mississippi. She examines the roles of “local people” as well as some of the lesser known women upon whom activists, both inside and outside the state, relied. Womanpower Unlimited brings black women to the center of civil rights scholarship, not just as support workers, but as key leaders. Their idea of civic engagement was a visionary philosophy grounded in a legacy of Black women’s activism, yet unique to the social movement during which it existed.
* Each year, undergraduate students at Ohio State Newark are granted a Scotts-Staats Outstanding Psychology Student Award to help them reach their educational goals. Rewarding Ohio State Newark psychology students who demonstrate great scholastic success and community involvement, the award was created by Ohio State Newark emeritus faculty member Ruth Scott, M.A. The award is funded by an initial endowment from Scott, who gave enough funds to last for ten years, and was contributed to later by Sara Staats, Ph.D. to keep the award going beyond those years.
The award was initially titled the Ruth Scott Outstanding Psychology Student Award, named after the then sole contributor to the endowment fund, Ruth Scott. During her time at Ohio State Newark, Scott worked to further the presence and education of psychology at the Newark campus. While teaching at Ohio State Newark, Scott met experimental psychologist Sara Staats, Ph.D. in 1963, and the two of them encouraged their students to become involved in the area’s schools and healthcare facilities to further their understanding of psychology in the community. After Scott’s retirement from teaching, she donated an endowment to the campus in order to fund the Ruth Scott Outstanding Psychology Student Award, and later, an additional amount was given by Staats, and the award was renamed in honor of both professors.
* Liz Callaway, a Tony nominee and Emmy Award-winning actress, singer and recording artist, and Grammy-nominated Broadway conductor and musical director Phil Reno, will return to The University of Findlay in January for the 10th anniversary of the Donnell Broadway Concert Series.
“An Evening with Liz Callaway” will be presented Sunday, Jan. 24 at 7:30 p.m. in Winebrenner Theological Seminary’s TLB Auditorium. Tickets will cost $25 for adults, $20 for senior citizens and $10 for students. UF faculty, staff and students will be admitted free with a valid University ID. Tickets may be purchased at the box office of the Marathon Center for the Performing Arts, 200 W. Main Street, Findlay, OH 45840, or by calling 419-423-2787 or at marathoncenterarts.org.
In 2006, Callaway served as the series’ premiere guest artist. She made her Broadway debut in Stephen Sondheim’s “Merrily We Roll Along,” received a Tony Award nomination for her performance in “Baby,” and for five years won acclaim as Grizabella in “Cats.” She has also starred in the original casts of “Miss Saigon,” “The Three Musketeers” and “The Look of Love.”