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College, Other Units to Launch Civil Rights Institute

October 22, 2018

The College of Social Sciences and Public Policy is part of a partnership in a new interdisciplinary institute at Florida State University that will launch at an event featuring acclaimed civil rights speaker Desmond Meade.

The Civil Rights Institute inaugural event takes place Thursday, November 1, at 5:30 p.m. at the Dunlap Champions Club West at the FSU stadium. The event will include remarks by FSU Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Sally McRorie and a presentation by COSSPP alums Doby and Fred Flowers on the startup and components of the institute.

Meade, the event’s featured speaker, is president of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition and chair of Floridians for a Fair Democracy, the group that is responsible for the Amendment 4 ballot initiative. The amendment seeks to change Florida’s Constitution to allow felons who have completed their sentences to regain expeditiously the right to vote in Florida.

Meade, who holds a law degree from Florida International University, is a frequent contributor to the national conversation about advocacy for felon rights and a sought-after speaker and has been featured on MSNBC with Joy Ann Reid and by the Huffington Post. He will speak about the issues before the state of Florida from a personal and legal perspective.

The institute is an interdisciplinary endeavor created by the Office of the Provost, FSU Libraries, the Center for the Advancement of Human Rights, the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy, the College of Communication and Information and the College of Criminology and Criminal Justice. Its mission is to commemorate and study the U.S. civil rights movement and to promote civil rights and social change.

“President Thrasher and I are very pleased to have this important work happening at FSU,” said McRorie. “This joint effort will leverage Florida State’s unique history of civil rights with ongoing social justice work.”

The institute will host speakers and events, curate museum exhibits, develop an interactive website and publications, support education and research and build library collections that focus on civil rights and social change.

The Civil Rights Institute grew out of conversations between Doby Flowers, attorney Fred Flowers,Thrasher and McRorie. Doby Flowers was FSU’s first African-American Homecoming Queen, and her brother, Fred, was the first African-American athlete to wear an FSU uniform. They have worked with FSU Libraries to develop the steering committee that has been instrumental in shaping the new institute.