Freedom is a Constant Struggle: African Americans at the Ballot

Tuesday, June 28, 2022 • 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Heinz History Center
Free program | Register online
Hybrid Program

Add to Calendar06/28/2022 06:00 PM06/28/2022 08:00 PMAmerica/New_YorkFreedom is a Constant Struggle: African Americans at the Ballot Freedom is a Constant Struggle: African Americans at the BallotOnline – ZoomfalseMM/DD/YYYY

Join the History Center for a panel discussion, “Freedom is a Constant Struggle: African Americans at the Ballot,” that will explore the history of voting rights, in conjunction with the Civic Season theme of “Rewind, Reflect, and Reimagine.”  

Keynote speaker and civil rights activist Annie Pearl Avery will reflect on her time as the project director of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee in Hale County, Alabama, as well as her experience marching on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama on “Bloody Sunday” in 1965. 

Panelist Dr. Ray Block of Penn State University will discuss voting history in Pennsylvania, from state jurisdictions under the Constitution, to the 15th Amendment, through today. 

Miracle Jones of 1Hood Media will serve as moderator and will join the panelists in reimagining the history of voter rights connected to current voting issues. 

The program will be offered both in-person and virtually. Admission is free, but pre-registration is required.  


Please register online. The program is free.

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Speaker bios

Miracle Jones is a community organizer and queer activist who works in the Pittsburgh area to advocate for equity along the intersections of gender, race, and class. She currently serves as the director of policy and advocacy at 1Hood Media. She received her Juris Doctor degree (J.D.) and Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) from the University of Pittsburgh. Her work focuses on implementing abolition-based principles and transformative justice through writing, policy, and advocacy. 

In addition to being an associate professor in the Political Science and African American Studies departments, Ray Block Jr. is the Laurence and Lynn Brown-McCourtney Endowed Career Professor in Penn State University’s McCourtney Institute for Democracy. He is also a senior analyst for the African American Research Collaborative, a group of community-engaged pollsters, scholars, researchers, and commentators committed to bringing an accurate understanding of African American civic engagement to the public discourse. Block’s research interests include racial, ethnic, and gender differences in civic involvement; the formation and mutability of social identity; campaigns and elections; and other topics. His recent work explores how the COVID-19 pandemic both reflects and contributes to ongoing social inequality in the United States. 

Annie Pearl Avery was born in Birmingham, Alabama, and was sent to live with relatives in Pittsburgh. She returned to Birmingham when she was 14. In the 1960’s she became a member of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) where she became project director in Hale County MS. Annie was present, arguing with police, on “Bloody Sunday” and was prevented from crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Annie continues fighting for voting rights. 

For more information, contact Samuel W. Black, director of the African American Program, at

This event is part of the 2022 Civic Season. Held annually between Juneteenth and July 4th, Civic Season is a new tradition for learning and action, hosted by more than 300 cultural institutions nationwide along with the next generation shaping our nation’s future, and supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities and AMERICAN HERITAGE® Chocolate.  This summer, celebrate what you stand for. Get started at 

This program during Civic Season brought to you in part by: