Saturday, July 19, 2008

HIghlander at Wisconsin Historical Society

Highlander Folk School.

The Highlander Folk School, and later the Highlander Research and Education Center, began in the 1930s as a social leadership center focused on labor organization in Monteagle, Tennessee. In 1953, Highlander shifted focus to civil rights, reflecting an underlying belief that progressive advances in the South depended greatly on defeating segregation.

Myles Horton and Don West created the Highlander Folk School in 1932 to educate rural and industrial leaders for what they called "a new social order." Through the mid-1940s, Highlander worked primarily to build a labor movement among farmers, laborers, miners, and woodcutters by supporting strikes and training workers to take leadership roles.

Shifting to civil rights in 1953, Highlander drew the ire of the press during its 25th anniversary in 1957. Speakers at the event, including Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks and Aubrey Williams, were accused of inciting racial strife throughout the South.

See PHOTO Gallery at Wisconsin Historical Society.

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