A 2015 panel discussion moderated by Professor Elizabeth Hinton at the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University looked at the movement for racial equity in St. Louis, Missouri. Panelists included Percy Green II, Robin D. G. Kelley, Tef Poe, George Lipsitz, and Jamala Rogers. Professor Hinton began:
Elizabeth Hinton: History tells us that it takes, and that it will take, generations of striving, organizing, and mobilizing to fight for the kind of world that we want to see. And these distinct generational approaches play out in all of your work within the black liberation movement.
One of Hands Up United’s slogans is “This ain’t your Mama’s Civil Rights Movement,” which literally invokes generations of struggle, and which is also indicative of some of the questions that we want to explore today. What makes the movement today different? What are some of the failures of the Civil Rights Movement that you and other activists in the current generation want to correct? What are some of the issues that you and others have encountered with cross-generational and cross-class organizing? And on a broader level for all of you, what have we learned from the triumphs and the shortcomings of the previous generations, specifically in the case of St. Louis but also how the history of these local struggles unfolds in communities confronting similar conditions elsewhere? What do generations of struggle tell us? What does the past reveal about some of the misguided actions we’re making in the present?