How environmental justice is shaping a new civil rights movement in the South

Sep 18, 2018

When she was a teenager in 1967, Katherine Egland was one of a dozen students to integrate the Hattiesburg, Mississippi, public school system. As a member of the NAACP youth program, she spent her childhood afternoons with civil rights titans Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Medgar Evers.

Decades later, a TV reporter asked Egland if she was afraid to be outspoken against powerful groups. She laughed and said, “I grew up with the Ku Klux Klan. I grew up with bomb threats. This was daily.”

By that point, Egland, a chairperson of the NAACP’s Environmental and Climate Justice program, was fighting another kind of backyard terror, what she calls “the biggest civil rights crisis” in the South: climate change.

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