Race relations speaker to close OSU lecture series


CORVALLIS - James Loewen - a nationally recognized author and speaker on race relations, multicultural education, and school and residential desegregation - will offer his views on American history at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 17, at Oregon State University.

The two-hour presentation, "Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong," is free and open to the public. The discussion, which is the final event in the university's 2004-05 Convocations and Lectures Series, will be held in OSU's LaSells Stewart Center at 26th Street and Western Boulevard.

After spending two years researching 12 high school history textbooks, Loewen dedicated himself to exposing what he alleges is an embarrassing mix of bland optimism, blind patriotism, and misinformation.

Loewen taught race relations for 20 years at the University of Vermont. Previously he taught at predominantly black Tougaloo College in Mississippi. He now lives in Washington, D.C., continuing his research on how Americans remember their past.

His book, "Lies Across America: What Our Historic Markers and Monuments Get Wrong," came out in 1999. His other books include "Mississippi: Conflict and Change," a co-authored piece, which won the Lillian Smith Award for Best Southern Nonfiction. His latest book, "Sundown Towns - White Exclusion in America," tells of communities that kept out minorities by force or custom. He claims the rise in gated communities is now doing the same thing throughout the nation.

Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg and nationally syndicated columnist Norman Solomon opened the lecture series last fall. The OSU Convocations and Lectures Committee hosts three to four major speakers each year intended to broaden the intellectual and spiritual knowledge of the community. In the past the committee has brought such speakers as Doris Kearns Goodwin, Michael Moore, Ray Suarez, Winona LaDuke and Anita Hill to the region.