Join us for a conversation with Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons, Michael Simmons and Dan Berger to help launch their new book: Stayed on Freedom: The Long History of Black Power Through One Family’s Journey.


Special promotion: Three copies of the book will be given out as door prizes to participants of the webinar.


Black Power has many connotations in its multitudes as a philosophy, an orientation, and a social movement that, since its inception, has been met with violent opposition, fear, and hatred. But perhaps the single quality that fuels it is the one most often overlooked: Black Power is a global expression of love.


Through the story of two little-known organizers—Zoharah and Michael Simmons—we access a window to the endurance and experimentation of Black Power across space and time in Dan Berger’s STAYED ON FREEDOM: The Long History of Black Power through One Family’s Journey (Basic Books; January 24, 2023). After meeting in 1965 in Atlanta as members of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the Memphis-born Zoharah—then Gwen—and the Philadelphia-born Michael traveled the country and the world to carry the fight for freedom and equality, and to build their familial and personal connections among political lives. From hours of interviews—with friends, family, and activists—and years of knowing the once-married couple, Berger relates a living and loving history of what has become an emblematic symbol for the pursuit of justice, and to see it as “a potent way to understand the long-haul commitments of those who join, and sustain, the fight for freedom.”




Dan Berger is Professor of comparative ethnic studies at the University of Washington Bothell. He is the author or editor of several books and curates the Washington Prison History Project. His most recent book is Stayed on Freedom: The Long History of Black Power Through One Family’s Journey, published by Basic Books.


Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons Ph.D. is Professor Emerita from the University of Florida, where she taught African American, Religious and Women Studies. She is a veteran of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and of the Black Power, Women & Anti-War Movements from the 1960s onward. She is a founding member of the National Council of Elders and a board member of the SNCC Legacy Project.


Michael Simmons has been a domestic and international human rights activist for 60 years. Beginning as an organizer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and later as Director of European programs for the American Friends Service Committee, Michael’s work has taken him to Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. For 18 years, he co-founded and ran the Ráday Salon, an independent human rights learning and discussion program in Budapest, Hungary. He also taught courses on African American History and US Elections at the Budapest campus of McDaniel College.

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  • Julianne Mattox
  • Sean Nguyen
  • Nicole Rae Valencia
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