Past Event

African Americans and Voting: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow

This program will examine how African Americans won the right to vote and how that right is influencing elections today and in the future. It includes a screening of the acclaimed film Mississippi, America, which documents the events of the “Freedom Summer” of 1964. Following the screening, Charles Payne, Professor in the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago, and Kate Masur, Assistant Professor of History at Northwestern University, will lead a discussion about African Americans and voting throughout U.S. history.

FREE and open to the public. Reservations are required and can be made online, by e-mail at, or by calling 312.422.5580.

About the film

Narrated by Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, Mississippi, America takes a retrospective look at the volatile summer of 1964, a season which marked a turning point in the Civil Rights Movement and opened the voting booths of Mississippi to African-Americans.

About the panelists

Charles Payne is the Frank P. Hixon Professor in the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. His interests include urban education and school reform, social inequality, social change and modern African American history. He is the author of Getting What We Ask For: The Ambiguity of Success and Failure In Urban Education, I’ve Got the Light of Freedom: The Organizing Tradition in the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement, and So Much Reform, So Little Change: The Persistence of Failure in Urban Schools.

Kate Masur is Assistant Professor of History at Northwestern University. She works on questions of race and citizenship in the nineteenth-century United States and is especially interested in cities, social movements, and political theory, as well as slave emancipations throughout the Atlantic World. Kate joined the Northwestern faculty in Fall 2005 after spending the previous year as a fellow at the Library of Congress’s John W. Kluge Center.

This program is co-sponsored by The Public Square at the Illinois Humanities Council , the Chicago Freedom School, the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, and the Chicago Cultural Center.

Free and open to the public. For more information, call 312.422.5580.