Thursday, August 28, 2008

Expert on race relations to speak at UIS

Dr. James Loewen (left), author, professor, and expert in race relations, will be the special guest at the University of Illinois at Springfield on Thursday, September 11, when he will speak on "Lincoln's Unfinished Legacy: What It Means for Springfield." The presentation will begin at 7 p.m. in Brookens Auditorium, located on the lower level of Brookens Library, and is free and open to the public.

Dr. Loewen will discuss race relations in the region following the Lincoln era, including the city’s 1908 race riot. A native of Decatur, he is the author of Lies My Teacher Told Me, an acclaimed critical review of high-school history texts, as well as the book Sundown Towns, which studied the thousands of towns in America that required minorities to leave the city limits before dark. Sundown Towns was named a Distinguished Book of 2005 by the Gustavus Myers Foundation.

Loewen taught race relations for 20 years at the University of Vermont and was also on the faculty at predominantly black Tougaloo College in Mississippi. He has been an expert witness in more than 50 civil rights, voting rights, and employment cases, and he is the recipient of an Oliver Cromwell Cox Award for Distinguished Anti-Racist Scholarship.

His address is presented as part of the ECCE Speakers Series at UIS -- campus-sponsored lectures by speakers who exemplify engaged citizenship. The series is also a course in the Engaged Citizenship Common Experience, the distinctive set of courses taken by undergraduates at UIS to foster appreciation for and practice of diversity and the active effort to make a difference in the world.

Upcoming ECCE programs for September include the documentary "Springfield Had No Shame," written and produced by UIS staff member Dave Antoine, on September 15; a Constitution Day panel presentation on "Freedom of the Press in 2008" on September 17; and "Rethinking the Economics of Energy, Climate, and Food," with Dr. John Ickerd, on September 29. The complete schedule of speakers and topics for the 2008 Fall Semester is available at, or contact series coordinator Kimberly Craig at 206-6245 or