Block receives Freedom Award
by Kaitlyn Tucker
Mar 20, 2011 | 2636 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Civil rights leader Margaret Block of Cleveland was honored with a Freedom Award during the 46th anniversary of Bloody Sunday in Selma, Ala.

“We were celebrating Bloody Sunday in Selma — it was the 46th anniversary, I believe,” said Block. “They gave everybody awards who fought in the civil rights movement.

“I received the Freedom Spirit of the Flame Award,” she continued. “I was inducted into the hall of fame.”

The awards were given out by the Freedom Foundation during the event to remember Bloody Sunday.

Block spent years working to register voters, teaching and trying to bring about change in the South.

“We called it human rights,” Block said of the civil rights movement, remembering many of the inequalities of the time. “In 1964, I had to go down to Jackson to meet with the Justice Department and file a complaint against Baxter.

“Baxter was getting federal money but wasn’t hiring any black people to work on the lines,” she said. “They had maybe one or two janitors and that was it.”

Her focus in those years, however, was on registering voters.

“I worked on voter registration about six or seven years,” said Block. “I taught in the Freedom Schools and in the citizenship schools.

“We did just about everything — we went to jail for voter registration,” she continued. “They gave me the Spirit of the Flame award because I would usually be out on the town teaching and singing and doing my poetry.”

Each award, according to Block, was unique. Hers was an African carving of a gazelle.

“It was nice to be honored,” Block said.

She spent four days in Selma and the surrounding areas during the event.

“We went to church and went to a couple of gospel concerts — the Freedom Singers also did a concert,” said Block. “I did go to the Civil Rights Museum in Montgomery and the Slave Museum in Selma.

“They were nice,” she continued. “Mostly, we sat around and got reacquainted with each other.

“It was nice,” said Block. “It was interesting to see how they had changed.”

Block said that there many people there that she had not seen since the 1960’s. She also noted that she would like to bring a group of children to the museums in Alabama as a learning trip.