Highlander Folk School Poster
Highlander opened its doors in 1932 with the express intent of enabling poor and working class people in the South to radically change society. Its educational philosophy valued democracy, justice, and learners' self empowerment. It became the first openly integrated educational space in the South while training union leaders in the 1940s. This led Highlander to be a nerve center of the Civil Rights Movement, hosting desegregation workshops and providing space for radical groups such as SNCC to strategize. Highlander was closed by the Tennessee Supreme Court in 1961, the victim of a red-baiting campaign aided by those who wanted to maintain a segregated south and keep organized labor under control. Highlander rechartered and moved to New Market, Tn. www.highlandercenter.org
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