On May 19, 2016, Dr. Clayborne Carson traveled to Washington, D.C. for “The Future of the African American Past” conference. The directors of the newly constructed National Museum of African American History & Culture held the conference as an opportunity for historians to share research and ideas, take stock of recent trends, and set an agenda to guide future inquiry.
Dr. Carson served as a panelist for the opening roundtable, “The Long Struggle For Civil Rights And Black Freedom.” He was joined by Rosalyn Terborg-Penn, Sara M. Evans, Jessica Pierce, and Terrence Roberts. The panel of academics and activists of the Civil Rights Movement reflected on African American political activism in the last half-century. In response to moderator Professor Barbara Ransby’s opening question about the panelists’ entry into the movement, Dr. Carson shared his experience at the 1963 March on Washington. He recalled meeting Howard University student Stokely Carmichael in Ohio shortly before the March, and he remembered that Carmichael told him that the March would just be a big “picnic.”