In March 1960, Spelman student government president, Roslyn Pope authored “An Appeal for Human Rights” which appeared as a full-page advertisement in multiple newspapers including the Atlanta Constitution and the Nation. Her words, “We do not intend to wait placidly for those rights which are already legally and morally ours to be meted out to us one at a time,” ignited the Atlanta Student Movement in Atlanta. During the Modern Civil Rights Movement, the tenets articulated in the manifest shaped the ideals of a generation of student activists throughout the United States. One of the most significant accomplishments of this document was to recast civil rights as human rights, asserting entitlement to the dignity and inalienable rights inherent in humanity. When asked about the “Appeal” and words she so eloquently penned, she replied, “Having just returned from a year of study in Paris as a Merrill Scholar, I was not in the mood to return to segregation and second-class citizenship… I was unshackled. I was looking for a movement.” In 2012, Dr. Pope was recognized with a proclamation by the Atlanta City Council, and in 2013, she received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Spelman College for her years of service as a civil rights activist, educator and civic leader. Most recently, Dr. Pope participated in a dialogue with Spelman College students about civil and human rights, and she delivered the 2017 Commencement Address at Freedom University.
Updated June 2018