Civil Rights Act of 1964 Commemoration

Community Empowerment Director

Charles F. Lomax, Jr.
(865) 215-2536

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Civil Rights Act of 19642014 marked the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964. To commemorate that landmark legislation, and to discuss civil rights progress and challenges in the decades since, the City of Knoxville and partners across East Tennessee will be hosting a series of events throughout 2014. 

Under the title "Unfinished Business: Then, Now & Going Forward," the series included lectures, films, panel discussions and other events. 

Schedule of Events:

FEB. 28, 2014 - Political Roundtable Discussion on Title I & Title VIII - "Voting, Voting Statistics and Districting"
TIME: 11:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Brown Bag Lunch
LOCATION: Small Assembly Room -City County Building

The panel will be led by moderator Robert Booker, a former Tennessee state representative and Knoxville City Councilman, and current Executive Director of the Beck Cultural Exchange Center. Panel members will include state Rep. Joe Armstrong; City Councilman and former Mayor Daniel Brown; Knox County Election Commission Chairman Chris Heagerty; and Bill Lyons, Deputy to Mayor Madeline Rogero and a former political science professor at the University of Tennessee. This is a FREE brown-bag affair and attendees are invited to bring a lunch. 

Civil Rights Act of 1964 logoMAR. 25, 2014 - Tennessee Human Rights Commission (THRC) - "The State of Humans Rights in Tennessee"
TIME: 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
LOCATION: UT Extension Campus - Large Meeting Room, 1801 Downtown West Blvd, Knoxville , TN 37919 

The Tennessee Human Rights Commission will hold Hearings in Spring 2014 in communities across the state. Leaders from community organizations, government, advocacy groups and researchers will bring testimony related to their own areas of expertise. These written and oral testimonies will be included in the forthcoming report, "The State of Human Rights in Tennessee" from the Commission. The final report will include information from those bringing testimony in addition to statistics, trends and information from the Commission's own work, safeguarding individuals from discrimination through enforcement and education. For more information contact Susannah Berry at 615-253-1608 or or register at

APR. 4, 2014 - Art Opening of "Bittersweet Harvest"
TIME: 5:30 p.m.
LOCATION: Casa HoLa, Suite 109, 100 S. Gay St. (Emporium Building) 

HoLa Hora Latina will have the opening of "Bittersweet Harvest" - a collection of powerful posters which depict the struggle of migrant workers. The exhibit will continue until April 24. For additional information contact or 865-335-3358.

APR. 5, 2014 - A special screening of Cesar Chavez Movie
TIME: 3:00 p.m.
LOCATION: Regal Pinnacle Stadium 18 in Turkey Creek

Centro Hispano de East Tennessee, HoLa-Hora Latina, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of East Tennessee and Regal Entertainment Group - invite you to participate in a special screening of the new movie Cesar Chavez, with remarks by Mayor Madeline Rogero following the movie.  Mayor Rogero postponed her college studies in the mid-'70s to work with Cesar Chavez to help farm workers improve their living and working conditions. The master of ceremonies will be WVLT's Marco Villareal. We encourage you to purchase your tickets in advance. You can do so on line at starting April 1. 

APR. 11, 2014 - ECHO Fair Housing Conference
TIME: 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
LOCATION: Rothchild's, 8807 Kingston Pike

Cost $65. 30 scholarships are available to citizens who are interested. Registration is required. Contact 865-215-3345 or 865-594-6494.

APR. 22, 2014 - City of Knoxville, Community Development Week Equity Awards Recognition
TIME: 7:30 a.m.
LOCATION: Standard, 412-416 Jackson Ave.

"Remembrance, Reflections and Recommitment." Invitation only. 

APR. 23, 2014 - Todd Purdum Book Signing and Lunch
TIME: 12 Noon-1:30 p.m.
LOCATION: Beck Cultural Exchange Center, 1927 Dandridge Ave.

Todd Purdum, NY times writer and author of "An Idea Whose Time Has Come: Two Presidents, Two Parties, and the Battle for the Civil Rights Act of 1964" will participate in a Book Signing and Lunch. 

APR. 25, 2014 - Former Alabama Attorney General Bill Baxley and U.S. Attorney Doug Jones
TIME: 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
LOCATION: Mt. Calvary Baptist Church, 1807 Dandridge Ave

Baxley and Jones prosecuted the four men who bombed the 16th Street church and killed the four little girls. They will discuss this case, present their prosecution method and answer questions. Moderator Rev. Charles Fels. This is a FREE event. 

JUN. 19, 2014 - Film Festival - "Amos 'n' Andy Seminar"
TIME: 2:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
LOCATION: Beck Cultural Exchange Center, 1927 Dandridge Ave

Seminar will highlight the relative historic significance of the show and present a re-evaluation of this African American comedy show that was suppressed due to racial stereotypes. This festival will compare and contrast the comedy of yesterday (1964) and the comedy (2014) of today. This is a FREE event. Contact Brad Reeves at 865-215-8856 or or contact Robert Booker at 865 524-8461 or

JUNE 19 - "Mass Meeting"
TIME: 6:30 p.m.
LOCATION: Payne Avenue Baptist Church, 2714 MLK Blvd.

Sponsored by Knoxville District Baptist Association and Knoxville Interdenominational Christian Ministerial Association Keynote Speaker - Rev, Dr. C.T. Vivian. Dr. Vivian was honored for his vision and leadership in the fight for justice when he was awarded this Nation's highest civilian honor - The Presidential Medal of Freedom. Among his many leadership roles, he has served on the board of the Center for Democratic Renewal and the National Voting Rights Museum. He currently serves as a and founding Board Member of Capital City Bank, a Black-owned bank in Atlanta, and is also Board Chair of BASIC Diversity, Inc., the Nation's oldest diversity consulting firm. He has provided civil rights counsel to Presidents Johnson, Carter, Reagan, Clinton, and Obama, and he continues to lecture on racial justice and democracy throughout the world. 

JUL. 2, 2014 - Commemorative Civil Rights March
TIME: 6:00 p.m. (line-up begins at 5:00 p.m.)
LOCATION: March begins at Knoxville Safety Building at 800 Howard Baker Jr. Ave. (KPD) and ends at Mt. Olive Baptist Church at 1601 Dandridge Ave.

For more information please contact David Twiggs at 865-300-2154 or or Marva Martin at Sponsored by Visit Knoxville, Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority, Tennessee Valley Authority, KJCFF, Beck Cultural Exchange Center, Knoxville Area Transit, Faith Coalition, Metropolitan Planning Commission, Knoxville Jewish Community Family of Funds and City of Knoxville.

JUL. 2, 2014 - Celebration of Civil Rights Bill Signing - Legendary Civil Rights Leaders Rabbi Israel Dresner and Dorie Ladner will Speak
TIME: 7:00 p.m.
LOCATION: Mt. Olive Baptist Church, 1601 Dandridge Ave

Following the Commemorative Civil Rights March, Legendary Civil Rights Leaders Rabbi Israel Dresner and Dorie Ladner will speak. In 1961, Ladner became involved with the Freedom Riders in Jackson and was able to learn her first lessons in nonviolent action. In December 1962, she was arrested for attempting to desegregate a Woolworth's lunch counter. That same year, she joined with Robert Moses, Mississippi Project director for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and others from the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), and began working to register disenfranchised black voters and to end racially segregated public accommodations. Rabbi Dresner was the foremost rabbinic participant in the Civil Rights struggle of the 1960s and was one of the three rabbis who were closest to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. King spoke on two occasions (1963 and 1966) to Rabbi Dresner's synagogue in Springfield, N.J. He was the first Rabbi arrested in the freedom struggle in 1961 in an interfaith clergy freedom ride. President Obama honored the Rabbi at the White House the evening before the 50-year anniversary celebration of the March on Washington. Program is  free.  Sponsored by Visit Knoxville, Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority, Tennessee Valley Authority, KJCFF, Beck Cultural Exchange Center, Knoxville Area Transit, Faith Coalition, Metropolitan Planning Commission, Knoxville Jewish Community Family of Funds and City of Knoxville.

SEPT. 5, 2014 - "Celebrating local African-American history and the Civil Rights Movement " - Viewing of Knoxville Civil Rights footage, art exhibits by Simms Fine Art and Geneva Gallery and musical performances. 
TIME: 7:00 PM
LOCATION: East Tennessee History Center 601 Gay St. 

Sponsored by Tennessee Archive of Moving Image and Sound (TAMIS) and the Knox County Public Library. Contact TAMIS at 865-215-8856 or This footage goes as far back as the 40's and highlights some of the leaders that set the foundation for the Civil Rights Movement. See lots of live footage of Mechanicsville, Lonsdale, Downtown and east Knoxville before Urban Renewal. There is footage of students and the acting principal of Mtn. View Elementary School before it was closed. Mt. Calvary Baptist Church on Dandridge Ave is now on that site now. Footage also available of Knoxville College in its prime plus more. Refreshments served.

OCT. 18, 2014 - Civil Rights March for Historical Black Colleges and Universities
TIME: 11 a.m.
LOCATION: Knoxville College Campus, 901 Knoxville College Drive

Sponsored by Knoxville College Homecoming Committee and City of Knoxville. 

OCT. 18, 2014 - Cultural Festival on the Lawn
TIME: 12 Noon
LOCATION: Knoxville College Campus, 901 Knoxville College Drive

Festival to include vendors, food and exhibits. Sponsored by Knoxville College Homecoming Committee and City of Knoxville. 

OCT.  19, 2014 - Ecumenical Civil Rights Worship Service and "Silver Rights Reception"
TIME: 10:30 a.m. to 12 noon 
LOCATION: Fourth United Presbyterian Church at 1323 N. Broadway

Sponsored by Knoxville College Homecoming Committee and City of Knoxville. 

DEC. 10, 2014 - Unfinished Business: Then, Now and Going Forward
TIME: 5:00 p.m.
LOCATION: Beck Cultural Exchange Center, 1927 Dandridge Ave. 

The event will recap what's been learned in the past year and invite Knoxvillians to look ahead for ways to continue to embrace inclusion and diversity.

Civil Rights Act of 1964 Commemoration Sponsors:

Beck Cultural Exchange Center
Centro Hispano
Children's Defense Fund "Haley Farm"
Faith Coalition
Highlander Center
Hola Latino
Knox Bar Association
Knox County School Systems
Knoxville District Baptist Association
Knoxville Interdenominational Christian Ministerial Alliance
Knoxville Jewish Alliance
Knoxville Jewish Community Family of Funds
Leadership Knoxville
Martin Luther King Commemorative Commission
Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority
Metropolitan Planning Commission
National Coalition of 100 Black Women of Greater Knoxville
U.T. Knoxville - Vice Chancellors Office of Equity and Diversity
Visit Knoxville