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UMD to host talks about civil rights movement

Three retired Air Force officers involved in historic 20th-century struggles that advanced civil rights for blacks will speak today at the University of Minnesota Duluth as part of Black History month.

Three retired Air Force officers involved in historic 20th-century struggles that advanced civil rights for blacks will speak today at the University of Minnesota Duluth as part of Black History month.

Major Joseph Gomer and Lt. Col. Hiram Mann were combat pilots in the segregated Tuskegee Airmen unit during World War II. Col. Nathan Thomas Jr. participated in Civil Rights marches in Alabama during the tumultuous and momentous year of 1965.

The Profiles in Courage event is being hosted by Metropolitan State University's Veterans Network, UMD's Office of Cultural Diversity and Duluth's Air Force ROTC Detachment 420.

The event runs from 2:30 to 4 p.m. in Weber Music Hall. The lecture is free and open to the public.

The event will allow people to see living heroes, "to hear their stories, to hear their struggles, what they went through and, because of them, the massive advancements we have had on behalf of minorities," said UMD aerospace studies professor Maj. Mark Goehring.

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"Maybe people will realize, 'Hey, here's an average Joe who went out of the way to do extraordinary things. If they can do that maybe I can do something like that,' " he said.

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