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 'Lies My Teacher Told Me' author offers historical truths at SRU 




September 26, 2008

Contact: K.E. Schwab  



'Lies My Teacher Told Me' author offers historical truths at SRU


SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - James W. Loewen, sociologist and award-winning author of "Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your High School History Textbook Got Wrong" and "Lies Across America: What Our Historic Sties Get Wrong" among others, will lecture at 3 p.m. Oct. 8 in Slippery Rock University's Advanced Technology and Science Hall.

            Loewen spent two years at the Smithsonian Institution surveying 12 leading American history high school textbooks only to find an embarrassing blend of bland optimism, blind nationalism and plain misinformation. His "Lies My Teacher Told Me" has sold more than 800,000 copies. 

            He is also a researcher who discovered that in many states communities were "Sundown Towns" that kept out blacks (and sometimes other groups) for decades. He used his research to write "Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of American Racism." 

            His other books include "Mississippi: Conflict and Change," which won the Lillian Smith Award for Best Southern Nonfiction. The book was rejected for public school text use by the state of Mississippi, leading to the path-breaking Constitutional first amendment lawsuit, Loewen v. Turnipseed. He also wrote "The Mississippi Chinese: Between Black and White, Social Science in the Courtroom, and The Truth About Columbus. 

            Loewen earned his doctorate in sociology at Harvard University and taught race relations for 20 years at the University of Vermont. He also taught at Tougaloo College. He now lives in Washington, D.C., where he continues research on how Americans remember their past. 

            His awards include the first Spivack Award of the American Sociological Association for sociological research applied to the field of intergroup relations; the American Book Award for "Lies My Teacher Told Me"; and the Oliver Cromwell Cox Award for Distinguished Anti-Racist Scholarship. The Gustavus Myers Foundation named his "Sundown Towns" a "Distinguished Book of 2005." He is also distinguished lecturer for the Organization of American Historians. 

            Loewen will sign some of his books which will be offered for sale by the SGA Bookstore in the lobby following his address.

            The lecture is sponsored by College of Health Environment and Science, SRU's department of history and psychology, the President's Commission for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues, the President's Commission for Racial/Ethnic Diversity and the Office of Intercultural Programs.

            Loewen will also be the speaker for SRU's Professional Development Day Oct. 7 There are no day or evening classes at SRU Oct. 6-7 during fall semester break.


Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.



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