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Civil rights fight recalled at Clark; Alumnus tells of 40-year struggle, and warns that racism still exists.

Byline: Meghan Ward

WORCESTER - Tennessee circuit court judge and 1965 Clark graduate D'Army Bailey returned to his alma mater this week to discuss an upcoming book and to remind students that the election of Barack Obama does not mean black students needn't keep up the fight for civil rights.

"Now more than ever, we must remain strong to support our president, Obama," he said.

Judge Bailey, speaking at Dana Commons Thursday, spent much of the time discussing his upcoming book, "The Education of a Black Radical, a Southern Civil Rights Activist's Journey, 1959-1964."

Mr. Bailey recalled his experiences growing up in the segregated South, and how that inspired him to become active in the civil rights movement. He was raised in Memphis at a time when, "Young people were changing the country." But he also reminded the audience that even though the civil rights movement was a unifying experience,

activists all had to be prepared for consequences. "These kids summoned up the courage of adults," Mr. Bailey remembered.

He was kicked out of an all-black university after getting in trouble numerous times for joining in marches and riots, and for what the university described as an "inability to adjust to the patterns of the institution." He found it a reoccurring and discouraging theme that authorities would claim, "We don't disagree with what you are trying to do, but we disagree with how you are going about it."

Clark offered Mr. Bailey a scholarship. He brought his enthusiasm to continue the civil rights movement with him, even though he was only one of two black undergraduate students.

Some of the students attending Thursday's event came as an assignment for class. Clark junior Harry Banks was there along with the rest of his Civil Rights Movement class. "I would probably come anyway even if I didn't have to," Mr. Banks said. "This is something you can't get from a book."

Other students, such as senior Olufunmike Ibrahim, were there out of curiosity.

"I came because I wanted to listen to what a Clark alum has to say about race," she said.



CUTLINE: Tennessee Judge, civil rights veteran and Clark University alumnus D'Army Bailey spoke to students at his alma mater earlier this week.
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Title Annotation:LOCAL NEWS
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Feb 7, 2009
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