Long Struggle for Racial Equality in Indiana to be Topic of UE Fiddick Lecture

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James H. Madison, Thomas and Kathryn Miller Professor Emeritus of History at Indiana University, Bloomington, will be the speaker for this year’s University of Evansville Thomas C. Fiddick Memorial Lecture. The event is planned for Friday, November 3. at 7:00 p.m. in Room 170 (Smythe Lecture Hall) in the Schroeder School of Business Building. This is the 16th year for the lecture, which is free and open to the public.

Madison will be delivering an illustrated lecture on “Hoosiers and the Long Struggle for Racial Equality.”

For over two centuries the people of Indiana have struggled with challenges of race. There were times when African American Hoosiers could not vote, when the danger of lynching was real, when the Ku Klux Klan seemed right and necessary, when segregationists created schools, restaurants, and basketball tournaments for whites only. Beginning in the1950s, Indiana reformers began a push toward equality that we know as the great civil rights movement. Madison’s lecture will focus on several flash points of challenge and change to spark thinking about race and about where we have been, where we are, and where we want to go as citizens in a changing world.

 

Madison is without doubt one of the most distinguished scholars to work in the field of Indiana history. An award winning teacher for over four decades at IU, he is the author of several books, including Eli Lilly: A Life; A Lynching in the Heartland: Race and Memory in America; and Slinging Doughnuts for the Boys: An American Woman in World War II. He has taught as a Fulbright professor in Japan and England and has served on the boards of Indiana Humanities and the Indiana Historical Society, as well as being a member of the Indiana Bicentennial Commission. Madison’s most recent book is the highly acclaimed bicentennial history, Hoosiers: A New History of Indiana; it is the basis for an Emmy-awarded PBS documentary on Indiana’s history.

“Professor Jim Madison is an extremely eminent scholar of Indiana History and we are absolutely thrilled to bring him to the University of Evansville to deliver the Fiddick Lecture and interact with students in class,” said James MacLeod, UE professor of history and director of the Fiddick Memorial Lecture Series.

“As recent events have catapulted race relations back into the center of public discourse,” MacLeod added, “this is a perfect time to educate ourselves about the history of racial equality in our home state. There can be few better-qualified people to tell this story than Professor Madison. It is especially appropriate given Tom Fiddick’s lifelong passion for many of the key issues discussed by Jim Madison, especially Civil Rights.”

Thomas C. Fiddick, for whom the Fiddick Memorial Lecture is named, served as professor of history at the University of Evansville from 1963 to 2002. In his 39 years at the University, he was a dedicated teacher, a productive scholar, and a tireless fighter in the cause of justice. His untimely death on the day of his retirement in 2002 stunned the UE community, especially his many former students. It was from the former students’ efforts in particular, with the support of Fiddick’s friends and the University, that the annual Thomas C. Fiddick Memorial Lecture was established.

“The Fiddick Lecture is one of the best events of the year, as we get to celebrate the career of a truly outstanding faculty member here at UE,” MacLeod said. “Tom Fiddick was a brilliant scholar and an incredible teacher who made a life-transforming impact on generations of students.”

For more information, please contact the UE Department of History at 812-488-2963.

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