In Celebration of Black History Month


— Lecture Will Focus on Legacy of Fellow Activist James Forman,
Whose Library the College Has Acquired —

FLUSHING, N.Y., FEBRUARY 4, 2011 — When long-time civil rights leader Julian Bond comes to speak at the Queens College library on Thursday, February 17, he’ll be focusing on the legacy of another civil rights pioneer–James Forman (1928-2005). Crediting Forman as having had an enormous influence on him personally and on the entire civil rights movement, Bond calls him “one of the under-appreciated figures of the modern civil rights movement…His autobiography, The Making of Black Revolutionaries, is a classic.”

Bond’s lecture, which is free and open to the public, will celebrate the college’s recent acquisition of Forman’s personal library and recordings. As one of the founders of the influential Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in the 1960s, Bond worked closely with Forman, SNCC’s executive secretary.

After SNCC, Bond became the first president of the Southern Poverty Law Center.  He served in the Georgia state legislature for two decades.  From 1998 to 2010, he was chairman of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). 

Forman was a principal organizer of the 1963 March on Washington and the Freedom Rides and the key framer of the “Black Manifesto,” which demanded reparations to African Americans in payment for the hardships of slavery. He remained active in promoting the cause of blacks throughout his career, including traveling to Africa and Europe on behalf of the Black Panther party.

The Forman library consists of approximately 2,000 books, over 2,100 pamphlets, academic journals and printed ephemera as well as a variety of audio and moving image material—a major addition to the history of civil rights in America. This contribution by the Forman family, who will be present February 17, is the latest acquisition in the college’s expanding archive of original materials from the civil rights era. These materials are being organized and catalogued, with selections digitized by QC faculty and graduate students for permanent use by the campus community, researchers and the general public. 

The Queens College Civil Rights Archive, begun with donations from a significant number of alumni who were involved in the movement, has generated considerable interest among historians and scholars. One of the college’s civil activists was student Andrew Goodman, who was slain in Mississippi in 1964 with two other young men; all three were “Freedom Summer” volunteers trying to register African Americans to vote in the South. The Chaney-Goodman-Schwerner Clock Tower of Rosenthal Library, a highly visible borough landmark, is named in their honor.

The Bond lecture will take place from 5 – 7 pm at Rosenthal Library, Room 230. All Black History Month events are co-sponsored by the Africana Studies Program, Special Collections & Archives of the Queens College Libraries, the SEEK Program, and several student organizations. For directions to the campus, go to:

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Contact: Phyllis Cohen Stevens
Deputy Director of News Services

Maria Matteo
Assistant Director of News Services