Learning about the history you never knew

By Lynne Curry
Continuing Education Committee


The Most Important Era in U.S. History That You Never Heard Of and Why It’s Still Important Today is the title of a talk to be given by Dr. James W. Loewen November 30 at 7:30 p.m. in the Encore Theater. This talk is co-sponsored by the Continuing Education Committee and the African American History Club.

Paul Pumphrey, Chairman of the African American History Club, will interview Dr. Loewen on Riderwood TV prior to his presentation sometime in mid-November.

Dr. Loewen, a sociologist and author of many books, is best known for his 1995 book, Lies My Teacher Told Me, which was republished in 2008. This book is a result of his spending two years at the Smithsonian Institution where he studied and compared twelve American history textbooks widely used in high schools. He concluded that there was considerable “distortion and misinformation” in them. The book won the American Book Award, the Oliver C. Cox award, and the Critics’ Choice award.

Dr. Loewen co-authored Mississippi: Conflict and Change, which won the Lillian Smith Award for Best Southern Nonfiction. The book was rejected for school use in Mississippi’s schools, a decision that was challenged in a lawsuit, Loewen v. Turnipseed. The U. S. District Court ruled that the rejection of the textbook was not based on “justifiable grounds, and that the authors were denied their right to free speech and press.” The American Library Association considers this case among twelve court cases giving Americans “The Right to Read Freely.”

In his book, Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of American Racism, he writes of towns where African Americans, Jews, and other minorities were strongly encouraged to leave prior to sundown.

Dr. Loewen earned a Ph.D. in sociology from Harvard University. He won a Fulbright Scholarship to Australia.  He was a Senior Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Smithsonian Institution for research on the sociology of American history.

After his talk November 30, Dr. Loewen would like to learn from the members of the audience about “sundown towns” they know.


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