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Training for Freedom Panel Discussion

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Training for Freedom Panel Discussion

This TRAINING FOR FREEDOM follow-up panel discussion addresses race-related voter registration issues. Ben Holbert, mayor of Woodmere Village, moderates. Panelists are Bruce Watson, author of Freedom Summer; Nishani Frazier, PhD, associate professor, Department of American Studies & History, University of Kansas; and James Brown, president of the Youngstown branch of NAACP.

Premiered online on Sunday, Feb. 20, 2022.

Biographies of Panel Participants

James Brown
James Brown

James Brown, certified workforce development professional, served on the national board of National Association of Workforce Development Professionals and helped to develop relevant policy and procedures for those agencies that utilize Department of Labor funding. He is president of the Youngstown branch of the NAACP and is chairman of the organization’s Economic Empowerment; Reentry; and Political, Media & Communication committees. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from Youngstown State University and a Master of Public Administration from Texas Southern University.

Nishani Frazier, PhD
Nishani Frazier, PhD

Nishani Frazier, PhD, is associate professor, Department of American Studies and History at University of Kansas. She previously held positions as associate curator of African American history and archives at Western Reserve Historical Society; assistant to the director of the Martin Luther King, Jr., archives at The King Center; and personal assistant for Dr. John Hope Franklin, before and during his tenure as chair of former President Bill Clinton’s advisory board on One America Initiative. 

Ben Holbert
Ben Holbert

Ben Holbert, panel moderator, started his second term as mayor of Woodmere Village in January 2022. He is a member of the Cleveland Leadership Center’s Class of 2020 and has served as president of the Valley Enforcement Regional Council of Governments. His career in journalism and communications spans over 35 years, including serving as a reporter/anchor at media outlets WKYC TV-NBC, WVIZ-PBS, WUAB-TV-43/WOIO-CBS and WJMO-1490-AM. Holbert graduated in 1984 with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Kent State University. He earned an MBA from University of Phoenix in 2012. 

Bruce Watson
Bruce Watson

Bruce Watson is the author of four well-reviewed books on American history, each enlivening forgotten or neglected periods in the nation’s past. Freedom Summer: The Savage Season that Made Mississippi Burn and Made America a Democracy (Viking) received rave reviews when published in 2010. Watson’s most recent book is Light: A Radiant History from Creation to the Quantum Age. It traces humanity’s fascination with light through the lenses of mythology, scripture, philosophy, art history, photography, and physics. Watson has also written three dozen feature articles for Smithsonian on topics ranging from the history of Coney Island to Ferraris to fallout shelters. His work has appeared in the Boston Globe, the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal and more. Now retired from freelancing, Watson produces the online magazine The Attic. 

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