Dr. Geveva Craig with Principal Michael Navarro

On February 11, in honor of Black History Month, students at Open Meadow Middle School, having studied the acclaimed new film Selma at the Hollywood Theatre, had a chance to meet and hear from a participant in the 1965 Selma march and riots. Dr. Geneva Craig visited the School tIMG_0479o speak about her experiences growing up in Selma, Alabama, where in her teens she became angry at the segregation that targeted the black community. Craig and her family were forced to enter restaurants through the back door and to drink from the sink instead of the whites-only drinking fountain, because, as she said, “If you wanted to save your health and life, you were instructed never to look a white person in the eyes, but to hang your head and look at your feet.” An active participant in the civil rights movement, Craig was repeatedly jailed for demonstrating against the state of Alabama’s refusal to let African Americans vote and was beaten with police billy clubs in the infamous 1965 Pettus Bridge march on “Bloody Sunday.” She credits Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.—with whom she marched and protested in Selma—with teaching her patience. Craig is now a resident of Medford, Oregon, where she works at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center and serves as AARP Oregon’s Chair of the Diversity Advisory Council and Clinical Program. Dr. Craig’s visit to Open Meadow Middle School, sponsored by the AARP, follows a trip to the Hollywood Theatre by OMMS students to see the acclaimed new film Selma. Directed by Ava DuVernay and starring David Oyelowo, Oprah Winfrey, and Tom Wilkinson, Selma chronicles Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s campaign to secure equal voting rights for African Americans via an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. At the Hollywood’s private screening, OMMS students watched the film with their peers and teachers and afterwards discussed its messages, historical context, and contemporary implications. Dr. Craig’s visit marks the culmination of the students’ research into this important chapter in American civil rights history and serves as a means of making Black History Month come alive for Open Meadow Middle School students.