National Archives at Atlanta hosting symposium on civil rights and the railroad

Registration is now open

MORROW — Many people know the story about Rosa Parks and her refusal to give up her seat on a bus, but how many people know what Sallie Robinson tried to do nearly 80 years earlier?

Robinson and her nephew tried to ride in first-class on a trip along the Memphis and Charleston Railroad in 1879, but were denied access to their seats. Robinson took her fight against the railroad all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court where she ultimately lost her fight in 1883.

Robinson’s story may not enjoy the attention paid to Parks, but she will get her day in the spotlight during the National Archives at Atlanta’s Black History Month symposium, “The Enduring Chronicle: Civil Rights and the Railroads,” Feb. 15. Part of the program, which runs from 9:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m., will be devoted to discussing her story.

The archives annually hosts a Black History Month symposium in partnership with the Atlanta chapter of the Afro-Historical and Genealogical Society. Professor Anthony Baker from the John Marshall Law School will deliver the keynote address during the presentation on Robinson.

An afternoon session will focus on the impact the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters had on the mid-20th Civil Rights Movement of which Parks was a participant in.

“The symposium will be of interest to scholars of late 19th and 20th century African American history, as well as members of the general public who desire a deeper and broader understanding of the American story.” said National Archives education specialist Joel Walker.

There is no cost to participate in the symposium but archives officials are requiring interested people to register in advance because seating is limited to 200 people. The event includes lunch. Send an email to ancestryatl@gmail.com to register for the event. The archives is located at 5780 Jonesboro Road, in Morrow.