MU deputy chancellor concludes Black History Month by looking forward

Thursday, February 27, 2014 | 11:05 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — MU Deputy Chancellor Michael Middleton still remembers the Confederate Memorial Rock that stood between Tate Hall and the MU School of Law. 

Middleton, who would graduate from the Law School in 1971 and go on to litigate voting rights and employment discrimination, spoke Thursday night in the MU Student Center to cap a month of events celebrating Black History Month.

The Confederate Rock is gone, he said, but the civil rights era still has plenty to teach us.

“We are still in a revolution,” he said, pointing to economic and educational inequality. “It’s just changed a little."

Middleton’s speech, titled “Living Civil Rights: A Mizzou Challenge,” spanned his life, from attending segregated grade schools in Jackson, Miss., in the 1950s to accepting a position as an MU law professor in 1985.

Middleton said living through those times taught him how crucial it is to remain composed in the face of injustice. "I urge you to understand that whatever indignity you are subjected to, your reaction is in your control."

Black History Month events early in the month were cancelled due to weather conditions. Chuck D, a former member of Public Enemy, had to reschedule his talk on “Race, Rap, and Reality.” The event has been rescheduled for April 1.

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