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'Lies' Author to Meet with Educators, Students as Part of Civil Rights Seminar

James W. Loewen, award-winning author of the popular “Lies My Teacher Told Me” books, will visit the North Country to deliver the keynote address at a day-long seminar on the Civil Rights Movement.

Loewen’s talk, which is free and open to the public, will take place from 10 a.m. to noon, Friday, Oct. 14, in E. Glenn Giltz Auditorium in Hawkins Hall at the SUNY Plattsburgh campus.

His address is part of the seminar, “The Civil Rights Movement: Bringing Its Lessons into Our Classrooms, Communities and Conversations,’ which runs from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. that day, with sessions taking place in the Cardinal Lounge, Angell College Center.

The seminar is open to anyone but is tailored to meet the needs of all educators — from those who teach elementary right up through college — as well as librarians, civil rights advocates, student teachers and teaching artists. In addition to Loewen’s talk, the event will include plenary sessions and workshops, all at a cost of $85 per person, which includes admission to conference sessions, lunch, and resource materials.

“The lessons from the past are not past lessons,” said Michael Morgan, dean of Education, Health and Human Services. “As a community, it is our responsibility to ensure social justice for everyone, and I am excited to bring the voices of nationally acclaimed authors and speakers to share their perspectives with our learning community.”

Known for his retelling of U.S. history, Loewen has worked to inspire teachers across the country to get students to challenge, rather than memorize, their textbooks. His best-selling title, “Lies My Teacher Told Me:  Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong,” has sold more than 1.25 million copies.

Currently residing in Washington, D.C., Loewen taught race relations for 20 years at the University of Vermont and previously at the predominantly black Tougaloo College in Mississippi. He has been an expert witness in more than 50 civil rights, voting rights, and employment cases and is also a distinguished lecturer for the Organization of American Historians, a visiting professor of sociology at Catholic University in Washington, D.C., and a visiting professor of African-American Studies at the University of Illinois in Urbana/Champaign.

Other participants in the day-long seminar include:  
- Kim and Reggie Harris, folksingers and interpreters of the music from the modern civil rights movement, presenting their “Everyone Sings Freedom” educational program developed in conjunction with the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on the music that helped change U.S. history.
- Tracy Garrison-Feinberg, senior program associate of Facing History and Ourselves, a non-profit organization helping classrooms and communities link the past to moral choices today.
- Mark Levy, civil rights veteran and director of Meridian Freedom School in Mississippi in the summer of 1964.
- Deborah Menkert, executive director of D.C.-based Teaching for Change and co-author of Putting the Movement Back into Civil Rights Teaching.

The seminar is sponsored by the freedom education project John Brown Lives!; SUNY Plattsburgh’s Division of Education, Health and Human Services; and the college’s Center for Diversity Plurarlism and Inclusion.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with SUNY Plattsburgh to host such a timely and critical conversation that brings together visiting historians, civil rights veterans and dedicated educators,” said Martha Swan, director of John Brown Lives! “While it promises intellectual nourishment for teachers, it’s our students who will ultimately benefit the most.”

Contact Kate Chilton, conference and event services, at [email protected] or 518-564-3054 with questions about registration.

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