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The Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Speaker Series-African Amer...

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The Wallace Visitor Center located at the Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site

4079 Albany Post Road

Hyde Park, New York 12538

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Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt dedicated their lives to the relief of human suffering in the United States and abroad. Many problems that plagued their era still trouble our world. This series of programs will look to the past and the future to seek wisdom and inspiration from the collective human experience in the historic and modern day struggles for justice. Our aim is to enrich the public knowledge and understanding of this story by highlighting individuals—past and present—who are committed to the protection of human dignity in large and small ways. The speaker series will include lectures, panel discussions, film screenings, and performances presented by historians, park rangers, activists, artists, and entrepreneurs. The Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Speaker Series is co-sponsored by the National Park Service and the Roosevelt-Vanderbilt Historical Association.

African American Civil Rights Leaders and the Roosevelts

Kevin Burke, Hutchins Center for African & African American Research, Harvard University

Few periods in American history have been as profound or consequential as the New Deal, Second World War, Cold War, and Civil Rights Movement, years defined by the Roosevelt presidency and its animating legacy in the decades that followed. From the grass roots to the national and international stage, African American leaders serving overseas and at home, and in every field from the arts to business, journalism to education, law to politics, science to sports, would play a pivotal part in the struggle, pressing Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt to narrow the gap between American ideals and action, working with them to effectuate change, speaking out when they fell short, and making sacrifices and strides to fulfill what the President, in the midst of the Depression, had called their generation’s “rendezvous with destiny.”

Kevin Burke is a native of Newburgh, New York. Kevin is Director of Research at Harvard University’s Hutchins Center for African & African American Research. A graduate of Harvard Law School with a Ph.D. in American Studies from Harvard’s Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, Burke was co-author with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., of the companion book to the PBS Series, Black America Since MLK: And Still I Rise, and has served as Director of Research/Senior Historical Adviser on Gates’s PBS series, Finding Your Roots and Africa’s Great Civilizations.

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The Wallace Visitor Center located at the Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site

4079 Albany Post Road

Hyde Park, New York 12538

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