Panelists were closely involved in desegregation struggles in Boston
Boston Center for the Arts is presenting “Rights Along the Shore,” by Danielle Abrams and Mary Ellen Strom. The exhibition “highlights the struggles to desegregate swimming sites in Northern and Southern US locations,” according to a media release. The artists have focused “in particular on the social transformation and social costs ignited by the NAACP-organized “wade-in” resistance at South Boston’s Carson Beach in the summer of 1975.” On April 15, Boston Center for the Arts will host a colloquium from 1-4 p.m. The following speakers will be in conversation with each other:
- Leon Rock, Columbia Point Projects Youth Organizer and advisor to the 1975 NAACP President Thomas Atkins
- Michael Patrick McDonald, writer, educator and activist author of All Souls: A Family Story from Southie and advocate for survivor families in Boston’s anti-violence movement
- Alicia Baez, former Roxbury resident who attended South Boston High School
- Caitlyn Murphy, South Boston resident, educator and youth advocate; and leaders and participants in South Boston Neighborhood House’s after school programs, among others.
Rock commented on the history of these struggles and whether there has been progress over time:
“Everything has changed and nothing has changed, as we see voting rights and voting opportunities being drawn back. Is the same thing going to happen where we limit the ability of African Americans and other people of color to actually have access not just to voting, but access to physical space, access to opportunity? Everything has changed and nothing has changed. We see the roll back going back to the 1950s and 60s and even the 1970s. Be cautious. Be focused. Be relentless in protecting our rights.”
Shira Laucharoen is a reporter based in Boston. She currently serves as the assistant director of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. In the past she has written for Sampan newspaper, The Somerville Times, Scout Magazine, Boston Magazine, and WBUR.