Charles McDew, not Jim Forman, to speak here on civil rights tonight

Longtime civil rights activist Jim Forman, who was scheduled to speak at the University of St. Thomas tonight, is unable to travel here due to illness.

The lecture has not been canceled, however. Speaking instead will be another civil rights activist, Charles McDew, who teaches African American history and the history of the civil rights movement at Metropolitan State University in Minneapolis.

Both Forman and McDew played leadership roles in the early years of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

McDew will discuss “Civil Rights From the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee to Today” from 8 to 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 27, in O’Shaughnessy Educational Center auditorium at the University of St. Thomas.

McDew’s talk, free and open to the public, is presented in connection with Black History Month. The talk is co-sponsored by several campus and community organizations: the Black Empowerment Student Alliance, Multicultural Student Services, Campus Ministry’s VISION Program, Justice and Peace Studies, Midwest Institute for Social Transformation, Minnesota Freedom Riders, and University Lectures Committee.

Born in 1938 in Ohio, McDew went south to study at South Carolina State University in 1959. A year later, following the student sit-ins in Greensboro, N.C., McDew became a leader of local sit-ins. He helped to found the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and served as its chair from 1961 to 1963. He worked primarily in Mississippi, especially in McComb, and narrowly escaped death several times.

As a result of his voter-registration and community-organizing efforts, he was sentenced to 18 months in the Angola Penitentiary, Louisiana, for “criminal anarchy.”

For more information about McDew’s talk, call (651) 962-6578.