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Janet Dewart Bell is a social justice activist with a doctorate in leadership and change from Antioch University. She founded the Derrick Bell Lecture on Race in American Society at the New York University School of Law, now in its 23rd year. She is author of Lighting the Fires of Freedom: African American Women in the Civil Rights Movement (The New Press).
An award-winning television and radio producer, Dr. Bell lives in New York City.
My respect for the women in Lighting the Fires of Freedom and others in the Civil Rights Movement knows no bounds, so I am happy to clarify a few references made during my presentation recorded recently on C-SPAN2 Book TV. Please note that the information is correct in the book.
Thank you, Judy, for contacting me. I am happy to make these clarifications and corrections.
Let me add that Judy also organized a Residential Freedom School and was with Stokely Carmichael and other SNCC people who first began organizing in Lowndes County, Alabama in 1965, after the Selma to Montgomery March. SNCC worked with local activists to organize the Lowndes Country Freedom Party, whose logo was the Black Panther.
Claudette Colvin, the brave teenager who refused to give up her seat to a white person on a Montgomery bus months before Rosa Parks, is still alive. She was also a named plaintiff in the suit that ended the bus boycott. She is 78 and lives in the Bronx, New York. Although she is not in my book, I usually mention her heroic action as part of the conversation about women we should laud. I had been told that she had passed. As I was mentioning her after the C-Span program, an audience member pointed out my error. I immediately reached out to Ms. Colvin with an apology. She was kind enough to speak with me. I am especially pleased to correct the record and to lift up the legacy of this living legend. Thank you, Ms. Colvin, for your contribution to civil and human rights. 1010 WINS Radio in New York City aired a wonderful interview with her on March 2 of this year. The report included an interview with her attorney, Fred Gray, a legend himself. Here is a link to that program:http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2018/02/16/claudette-colvin-documentary-1010-wins/