Education news

Schools to mark fiftieth anniversary of civil rights campaign

Schools will be part of an event to mark 50 years since the civil rights movement began

SCHOOLS will be part of a special event commemorating 50 years since the civil rights movement began its campaign of action on the streets of Derry.

On October 5, young people will gather in the Guildhall with a programme of activities planned to mark the anniversary.

The event is part of the Speeches Strikes and Struggles series which has been running throughout the year, led by Derry City and Strabane District Council.

It aims to open archive materials to new audiences and offer a variety of perspectives on what was an immensely significant era.

Pupils will put questions to a panel of civil rights veterans while there will be workshops throughout the day.

Mayor John Boyle said it would provide an opportunity to hear first-hand accounts from some of the people who led the campaign.

"The Duke Street march changed the course of local history by initiating a movement against the civil oppression which had affected the lives of so many people across N Ireland. People took to the streets to demonstrate that they were not prepared to accept the ongoing violation of their civil rights which had become the accepted way of life here," he said.

"50 years on we live in a very different society thanks to the actions of those who were prepared to stand up against oppression."

Council Speeches Strikes and Struggles project officer Emma McGarrity said the event gave pupils the chance to hear first-hand how the events of that day "snowballed into a campaign which entirely changed the shape of society".

"Pupils will also be among the first visitors to the newly opened Speeches, Strikes and Struggles: Curating Conflict exhibition at the Nerve Visual Building in Ebrington, which charts this time and the years that followed in a collection of fascinating artefacts, hopefully offering a new perspective on the events they read about in their history books," she said.

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