FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Raymond Arsenault, award-winning Freedom Riders author, to speak at Salt Lake City Library
June 15, 2011 – SALT LAKE CITY – Professor Raymond Arsenault, expert on the political, social, and environmental history of the American South, will provide a lecture on the Freedom Riders movement on Wednesday, June 29 at 7:00 PM in the Main Library Auditorium. Arsenault, author of Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice (Oxford University Press, 2006), will discuss the Freedom Rides, their significance to the political atmosphere of the 1960s, and their long-standing impact fifty years later.
The lecture, hosted by the City Library and the Center for Documentary Arts, is part of a series of programming prepared by the City Library and community partners to supplement the PBS American Experience documentary on the Freedom Riders, which aired in May. The powerful, harrowing, and ultimately inspirational story of the Freedom Rides told by American Experience was accompanied by a companion documentary, Utah's Freedom Riders, produced by KUED, and Navigating Freedom: A Utah Youth Perspective, four short films created by local high school filmmakers and by Spy Hop Productions.
Other programs include a Civil Right Film Series, the Freedom Riders art exhibition, and Arsenault's lecture. A full list of activities, screenings, and exhibitions can be found at http://kued.org/productions/freedom-riders.
Arsenault's lecture will be moderated by Pastor France Davis of Calvary Baptist Church, with an introduction by Leslie G. Kelen of the Center for Documentary Arts. The event is cosponsored by Calvary Baptist Church, Center for Documentary Arts, KUED, SLC Film Center, Tanner Humanities Center of the University of Utah, The King's English Bookshop, and The City Library.
About Freedom Riders:
From May until November 1961, more than 400 black and white Americans risked their lives—many endured savage beatings and imprisonment—for simply traveling together on buses and trains as they journeyed through the Deep South. Deliberately violating Jim Crow laws, the Freedom Riders’ belief in non-violent activism was greatly tested as mob violence and bitter racism greeted them along the way.
About Professor Raymond Arsenault:
Raymond Arsenault is the John Hope Franklin Professor of Southern History and Program Advisor of the Florida Studies Program at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, where he has taught since 1980. A specialist in the political, social, and environmental history of the American South, he has also taught at the University of Minnesota, Brandeis University, and at the Universite d’Angers, in France, where he was a Fulbright Lecturer in 1984-85. From 1980 to 1987, he was the co-director of the Fulbright Commission’s Summer Institute on American Studies at the University of Minnesota; he has served as a consultant for numerous museums and public institutions, including the National Park Service, the National Civil Rights Museum, the Rosa Parks Museum, and the United States Information Agency; and he has lectured on American history and culture in a number of countries, including France, Great Britain, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Norway, Turkey, and Jordan.
Arsenault was educated at Princeton University (B.A. 1969) and Brandeis University, where he received his Ph.D. in 1981. He is the author of two prize-winning books–The Wild Ass of the Ozarks: Jeff Davis and the Social Bases of Southern Politics (1984, pbk 1988) and St. Petersburg and the Florida Dream, 1888-1950 (1988, pbk. 1998), and of “The End of the Long Hot Summer: The Air Conditioner and Southern Culture,” Journal of Southern History (1984), which won the Southern Historical Association’s Green-Ramsdell Prize. An edited volume, Crucible of Liberty: 200 Years of the Bill of Rights, was published during the 1991 Bicentennial of the Bill of Rights. His recent publications include Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice (Oxford University Press, 2006), Paradise Lost? (2005) an anthology (co-edited with Jack Davis) on the environmental history of Florida, The Changing South of Gene Patterson: Journalism and Civil Rights, 1960-1968 (2002), co-edited with Roy Peter Clark, and “The Public Storm: Hurricanes and the State in Twentieth-Century America,” in Wendy Gamber, et al. eds., American Public Life and the Historical Imagination (2003). He is currently working on Landmarks of American Sports, co-edited with Randall Miller. Since 1996 he and USF history colleague Gary Mormino have served as the co-editors of the University Press of Florida’s highly acclaimed “Florida History and Culture” book series. An active member of the Florida affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union since the early 1980s, he served two terms as state president (1998-2000) and received the Nelson Poynter Civil Liberties Award in 2003.
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