Renowned journalist, activist and professor Charles Cobb Jr. visited the campus of Fisk University today. In 1962, Cobb become a field secretary in the Mississippi Delta region for the Student Non Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) where he wrote the initial proposal for the Mississippi Freedom School, an education initiative that launched during Freedom Summer in 1964. As a journalist, Cobb reported for National Public Radio, served on the editorial board of National Geographic and is a founding member of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ.)
Cobb is one of the narrators of a new, educational DVD series created by the United Methodist Publishing House. Cobb’s published chronicle of the Civil Rights Movement in the southern United States, “On the Road to Freedom: A Guided Tour of Civil Rights Trails,” served as the the guide to shaping portions of the DVD series. The editors of the Fisk Blog spoke briefly with Cobb about the project.
Q: What is the mission of the new DVD project that you are working on with the Methodist Publishing House?
A: The current DVD that we’re working on involves connecting social issues with stories from the Bible. The goal is to parallel stories such as Moses and Israel crossing the Red Sea or Daniel in the Lion’s Den with accounts from the South during the era of the Civil Rights Movement.
What I’m here to do at Fisk today is to tell stories about the Movement. My content is not scripted, but informal. While I stood in front of the Fisk Memorial Chapel, I said during the filming that it is important to understand Fisk’s contributions and its history. Since we’re aiming the DVD at young people, I’ve spent time talking about the contributions of young people. I’m telling our audience about what Nashville area students such as Bernard LaFayette and Diane Nash contributed to the Movement. We’re trying to tell these stories so that our audience connects in a real way.
Q: How important was Fisk in creating positive changes during the movement?
A: My grandfather was a member of the Fisk Jubilee Singers in the early 1900s. It is important that our youth continue to value the contributions that Fisk and other HBCU’s made to education and leadership. During the filming, I made the point that there is no better place to see what young people contributed to the Civil Rights Movement than in Nashville, Tennessee and at Fisk. Students at Fisk were efficient leaders and they collaborated with members of the Nashville community to not only demonstrate and protest, but they earned strategic victories during the struggle.
For more information on Charles Cobb’s ‘”On the Freedom Road: A Guided Tour of Civil Rights Trails” click here.