Panel to discuss 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer

By Natalie Richie, Intern

Free preview screening of film, “Freedom Summer,” to be shown during Juneteenth

Three social justice advocates will participate in a panel discussion moderated by Dr. Michael Twyman, director of the Institute on Race and Ethnicity, to discuss voter registration efforts of 1964 following the free preview screening of the film, “American Experience: Freedom Summer” at 1 p.m. Saturday, June 21, during Mosaic Templars Cultural Center’s annual Juneteenth celebration.

RSVP at Freedom Summer.

Panel members Dr. T. Elon Dancy, Judge Wendell Griffen, and Dr. Ravi Perry, all who specialize in social justice and civil rights, will discuss the 50th anniversary of voter registration efforts in Mississippi and how significant the movement was throughout the South. Dr. Michael R. Twyman, director of the UALR Institute on Race and Ethnicity will moderate the discussion.

Dr. T. Elon Dancy

Dr. T. Elon Dancy is an associate professor of higher education at the University of Oklahoma. His research focuses on the experiences and socio-cognitive outcomes of college students, particularly related to race, gender, and culture. He has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, a Master of Health Administration from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, and a doctorate in higher education from Louisiana State University.

Judge Wendell GriffenJudge Wendell Griffen of the Sixth Circuit for Pulaski County in Arkansas, became the first lawyer of color to join a major Arkansas law firm as an associate in 1979. He was also the first lawyer of color to make partner at a major Arkansas law firm in 1984. Additionally, Griffen is pastor of New Millennium Church in Little Rock. He is the owner and CEO of Griffen Strategic Consulting, PLLC, a firm that advises clients on a variety issues ranging from cultural competency to government relations.

Dr. Ravi PerryDr. Ravi Perry is an assistant professor of political science and Stennis Scholar of Municipal Governance at Mississippi State University. His broad research interests focus on contemporary issues facing African Americans, with special attention on black politics, minority representation, LGBT candidates, elected officials of color, and American public policy. Perry holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and a master’s and doctorate from Brown University.

The UALR Institute on Race and Ethnicity, Arkansas Educational Television Network, and Mosaic Templars Cultural Center are sponsoring the screening and panel discussion.

The Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, a museum of the Department of Arkansas Heritage, is dedicated to telling the history of African Americans in Arkansas from 1870 to the present, especially in the areas of politics, business and the arts.

The Arkansas Educational Television Network (AETN) is Arkansas’s statewide public television network that enhances lives by providing lifelong learning opportunities for people from all walks of life. AETN delivers local, award-winning productions and classic, trusted PBS programs aimed at sharing Arkansas and the world with viewers. AETN depends on the generosity of Arkansans and the State of Arkansas to continue offering quality programming. For more information,, or follow the AETN blog AETN is broadcast on KETS (Little Rock), KEMV (Mountain View), KETG (Arkadelphia), KAFT (Fayetteville), KTEJ (Jonesboro), and KETZ (El Dorado).


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The Institute on Race and Ethnicity at UALR was founded in July 2011. With a vision to make Arkansas the best state in the country for promoting and celebrating racial and ethnic diversity, the Institute conducts research, promotes scholarship and provides programs that address racial inequities. It does so by facilitating open and honest dialogue aimed at empowering communities and informing public policy to achieve more equitable outcomes. For more information, visit or the Institute’s Facebook page at

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