Later this week, MU will host a panel discussion exploring the civil rights history of the university. The talk, which takes place this Thursday night at the Missouri Theater, is just one of a number of events scheduled across town to honor Black History Month.
Locally, much has improved since the days of Jim Crow, but some believe that more can be done to make Columbia a more inclusive community.
This week on Intersection, we’ll take a look back at some of the civil rights gains at MU and the town at large, and talk about the lessons that can be learned from them.
Michael Middleton is MU’s deputy chancellor. Prior to that, he was a professor in the university’s School of Law. He also was the first African American student to enroll and graduate from MU’s law school.
William Horner is a Professor of Political Science at MU, and the co-author of a book on Lloyd Gaines, who was an early civil rights pioneer who challenged the Law School’s ban on African American students.
Mary Ratliff is the president of the state chapter of the NAACP, and has lived in Columbia since 1959. (joining by phone)
According to a report released by the Missouri Attorney General, black drivers were more likely than people of any other race to be stopped by Columbia Police. A coalition of groups recently convened the first in a series of public meetings designed to address the issue. But what steps could law enforcement agencies take to reduce the effects of bias? And how well might they work?
Noor Azizan-Gardner, interim chief diversity officer, University of Missouri
Ken Burton, chief, Columbia Police
Mary Ratliff, president of the Missouri and Columbia unit of the NAACP
Don Love, chairman, Missouri Association of Social Welfare Human Rights Task Force (joining the program by phone)
Maintaining a culturally diverse student and faculty population is a large concern for many colleges across the nation. The University of Missouri’s Diversity Office recently unveiled a campaign to encourage people to report charges of bias. But how successful are current efforts to promote diversity, here and across the nation?
Noor Azizan-Gardner, interim chief diversity officer for MU
Noel English, director of the MU Equity Office
Eric Woods, MU Student Body President
Karen Aroesti, regional director, Missouri/Southern Illinois office of the Anti-Defamation League (joining the program by phone)
In the early 1950s, cancerous cells were taken from a tumor that killed a young black woman and became the first human cells to be successfully kept alive and replicated outside the human body. That cell line, known as HeLa, went on to become one of the most important ingredients in medical research, leading to several important breakthroughs -- and generating large profits for biomedical companies. But the woman and her descendants had no idea any of this was happening.
The details of this true story are chronicled in this year's One Read book, "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks." Our discussion focuses on the medical issues raised in the story, in particular how race, medicine, civil rights history and bioethics all come together in the book and in our world today.
For more information about this year's One Read events, click here.
Doyne McKenzie, collections manager, Daniel Boone Regional Library
Traci Wilson-Kleekamp, director of diversity and outreach initiatives, MU School of Medicine
It's time to rework the boundaries that outline the City Council districts in Columbia, thanks to uneven population growth across Columbia over the past 10 years. Panelists -- along with several members of the audience -- discuss the options that have been proposed and the implications of the different scenarios.
Kip Kendrick, president of Benton-Stephens Neighborhood Association
Wiley Miller, Ward Reappointment Committee member (also former psychologist, MU Counseling Center)
Bob Pugh, chair of the Columbia ward reapportionment committee (also former Columbia mayor and current CEO of MBS Textbook Exchange)
Terry Smith, member of the Columbia ward reapportionment committee (also executive vice president and dean of academic affairs at Columbia College)
A persistent difference in test scores among students from various racial or socio-economic groups has become a central point in discussion about education nationwide. Columbia Public Schools Superintendent Chris Belcher says he wants the Columbia school district to be one of the first in the country to solve this problem of an "achievement gap," and he's reaching out to the community to improve student performance from outside the school walls. In this conversation, we look at what exactly needs fixing, and how Belcher and others believe the community can help.
Chris Belcher, superintendent, Columbia Public Schools
Steve Calloway, president, Minority Men’s Network
Sarah Horn, reporter, Columbia Missourian (joining the program by phone)