Sunderland’s Red House Academy welcomed life-long civil rights activist, Mark Levy, to host a talk with Year 11 History students as part of their upcoming GCSE study.
Mark Levy, who was born in New York, first got involved in civil rights in 1964 aged 23, volunteering to help local activist groups in Mississippi with their voter registration projects. This became known as the Freedom Summer 1964 and is an historical milestone in the ongoing fight for social justice. Now retired, Levy dedicates his time to educating and inspiring the younger generation about the historical and modern day relevance of civil rights.
Today’s Western society may seem far from the discrimination, oppression and injustice of the 1960’s, however in the words of Levy himself, “the civil rights movement is not over”. This message was prominent in his talk with the Year 11 pupils of the Northern Education Trust – sponsored school.
Steve Newman, leader of History at Red House Academy said, “Our Year 11 students are currently studying the civil rights movement in America as part of the GCSE History course. Being able to hear about it first hand from Mr Levy has been a truly enriching experience for them. We hope this has empowered them as young adults and really encouraged critical thinking on the matter”.
Red House Academy students described the event as, “amazing”. One pupil added, “I learned a lot more than I thought I would”. Another stated, “It was good to hear about it from someone who was actually there instead of just reading about it in a textbook”.
Levy spoke about the success of the civil rights movement in 1964 in Mississippi, and how it brought about many changes, but not all that were needed. He said: “Some of what was won, is being undone these days. The struggle continues”.
Dr Therese Quincey, Principal of Red House Academy, added: “Mark has delivered a strong and important message to our pupils. The fight for social justice is as relevant today as it was all those years ago. He has really brought the cause to life and we hope this has engaged our Year 11 students with their current historical studies.
With recent campaigns such as ‘Black Lives Matter’, the civil rights message resounds more each day. Red House Academy has provided its Year 11 students, not only with an enriching educational experience, but a first-hand insight into some of the most important chapters of the history and modern day relevance of social justice”.