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Olly Ayers - Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement

The final lecture in this year’s speaker series, The Robert Winston Lectures, saw us welcome historian and lecturer, Dr Olly Ayers. Olly came from the New College of Humanities in London to share his specialist knowledge of the civil rights activism throughout the 1930s and 1940s, a particularly useful topic for those studying GCSE and A Level History!

Before his talk, Olly enjoyed a group discussion with our Lower Sixth History group, examining to what extent war was the key factor in furthering the cause of civil rights for African-Americans between 1863 & 1968. It was a great opportunity for our students to ask some in-depth questions! He was particularly impressed with the group’s enthusiasm and enjoyed giving this “mini lecture”.

Throughout his talk, Dr Ayers introduced the audience to some critical, but lesser known, activists that played important roles in the civil rights movement alongside Martin Luther King. He discussed the various approaches to civil rights, including the difference between Marcus Garvey’s nationalistic idea and King’s dream of a colour-blind future, and the role that women played throughout the 1930s and 1940s.

Olly’s lecture brought to a close a year of incredible speakers on a diverse range of topics, from aliens to law to climate change, we have heard from some fascinating experts. Next year’s line-up has now been confirmed and details will be released shortly. Thank you to everybody who has supported these events, we look forward to seeing you next year!