Highlander’s 75th Anninversary Celebration (8/31-9/2/2007) was an incredible experience. Over 1,000 people came to Highlander for three days of workshops, strategy sessions, music, dancing, performances, and more.
Participants included activists and organizers from across the region and the world – veterans of the Civil Rights Movement, people fighting mountaintop removal, young people working on education issues, residents of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast responding to the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, immigrants organizing for fair immigration reform, LGBTQ activists fighting injustice and discrimination, and many, many more.
Local hotels were filled with 75th anniversary attendees, and a camping village grew in the field by the library. Buses, vans, and cars shuttled people to and from Highlander. Golf carts ran up and down the hill, carrying participants between the registration tables, the bookstore, the meeting and food tents, the Workshop Center, and the library.
Impromptu discussions sprang up along the roads, in the fields, outside the bookstore, in the office, at the lunch tables, in the meeting tents, and everywhere people crossed paths – sharing their experiences, their commitments, and themselves across age, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and geography.
We have hundreds of pictures, dozens of audio and video recordings, and uncountable memories of amazing conversations with old and new friends. Samples of all of these will be posted on our website and on View from the Hill in the coming weeks.
So many people contributed to the celebration that it seems impossible to thank them all, but here’s at least a partial list. We send our deepest thanks and appreciation to:
- Everyone who attended the event
- All those who organized, facilitated, and acted as resource people for the educational institutes, strategy sessions, and workshops
- The speakers at the plenary sessions Friday and Saturday morning
- The performers at the benefit concert Saturday night, the dance at the Laurel theater Friday, and at Highlander all weekend
- The volunteers who helped with parking, staffed the registration table, collected the garbage, set out and monitored the water stations, and helped with all the other logistical details
- The organizations, unions, foundations, and individuals who supported the celebration
For 75 years, Highlander has served as a catalyst for progressive movements in Appalachia and the South, and across the country and the world — bringing people together to share ideas and experiences and to learn from one another other how to address the problems facing their communities.
The 75th Anniversary Celebration demonstrated that Highlander continues to inspire activists and organizers, and that new generations of Highlander-supported activists are in forefront of the fight for social and economic justice now and for years to come.
Thanks again to all who participated in and supported the celebration. Your dedicated activism in your own communities and the passion and commitment you brought to the event inspire all of us at Highlander. We look forward to our continued work together in the ongoing fight for justice and democracy in the region, the country, and the world.
9/9/07 – Photo captions:
- Hot 8 Brass Band from New Orleans. Preceding their performance at Sunday’s cultural festival, the band led a second line in a special tribute to honor the 40th anniversary of the We Shall Overcome Fund.
- Maria Anna Gonzalez, Elise Witt, and Pancho Arguelles lead singing during Saturday’s plenary. (Photo by Amelie Ratliff)
- Youth from Highlander’s Seeds of Fire program performing the youth camp chant during Saturday’s plenary. (Photo by Amelie Ratliff)