Theo Witsell – "Following Nuttall: A Bicentenary Interpretation of Thomas Nuttall’s Exploration of the Arkansas Territory”
Wednesday, October 2 at 6 p.m. (Sturgis Hall)
The year 2019 marks the 200th anniversary of the great botanist and naturalist Thomas Nuttall’s year-long journey of discovery through the Arkansas Territory, present day Arkansas and Oklahoma. He would be the first trained naturalist to record observations and collect specimens in most of the territory. His first-hand account of this trip, later published as “A Journal of Travels into the Arkansas Territory in the Year 1819,” provides some of the earliest reliable information on the natural history of the region. These observations and his surviving botanical specimens are central to our understanding of what the region was like before it was forever altered by the ravages of human progress.
To commemorate the bicentennial of Nuttall’s trip, Theo Witsell, Ecologist and Chief of Research for the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission and the Curator of the ANHC Herbarium, worked for the past several years on a “200 years later” reinterpretation of all the natural history observations he made in Arkansas Territory. This included retracing his route using both historical and modern geospatial datasets, updating the nomenclature and taxonomy of all the plants and animals he mentions, and weaving his own observations gained over the past 24 years conducting field work for the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission. The aim is to provide a fairly detailed interpretation of Nuttall’s natural history observations, and discuss changes in the landscape since his trip, specifically as they relate to ecological and biological diversity.
Ibram X. Kendi – “How to Be an Antiracist”
Monday, October 7 at 6 p.m. (Mosaic Templars Cultural Center)
*Book signing to follow
*In partnership with Philander Smith College
Ibram X. Kendi is one of America’s foremost historians and leading antiracist voices. He is a New York Times-bestselling author and the Founding Director of The Antiracist Research & Policy Center at American University in Washington, D.C. A professor of history and international relations, Kendi is an ideas columnist at The Atlantic. He is the author of “The Black Campus Movement,” which won the W.E.B. Du Bois Book Prize, and “Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America,” which won the National Book Award for Nonfiction.
His recently released book, “How to be an Antiracist,” weaves an electrifying combination of ethics, history, law, and science with his own personal story of awakening to antiracism. This is an essential work for anyone who wants to go beyond the awareness of racism to the next step: contributing to the formation of a just and equitable society.
Kendi takes readers through a widening circle of antiracist ideas—from the most basic concepts to visionary possibilities—that will help readers see all forms of racism clearly, understand their poisonous consequences, and work to oppose them in our systems and in ourselves.
This event is in partnership with JusticeCon 2019 and the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center. JusticeCon is organized by the Social Justice Institute at Philander Smith College, which brings together students, activists, thought-leaders, knowledge-seekers and renowned speakers to share ideas and inspire one another in the pursuit of social justice.
Tuesday, October 8 at 9 a.m. (Robinson Center)
*In partnership with Philander Smith College
Activist, author, professor, and 2019 inductee into the Women’s Hall of Fame, Angela Davis was born in Birmingham, Ala., in 1944. Active at an early age in the Black Panthers and the Communist Party, Davis also formed an interracial study group and volunteered for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee while still in high school.
Davis became an assistant professor at UCSD, her connections with the Panthers and the Communist Party led to her removal. Davis worked to free the Soledad Prison Brothers and befriended an inmate, George Jackson. In August of 1970, Jackson and several other inmates attempted to escape from the Marin County Courthouse, and a judge and three others were killed. Davis was quickly put on the FBI’s most wanted list, despite the fact that she was not at the crime scene, and was apprehended in New York.
After spending eighteen months in jail during her trial, Davis was acquitted in 1972. While in prison, Davis wrote her first book, “If They Come in the Morning: Voices of Resistance,” entirely by hand. She was later hired by San Francisco State University, where she stayed for another twelve years.
Davis toured across the United States and the world lecturing on prison reform, and served on the advisory board of the Prison Activist Resource Center. Davis also co-founded the Committees of Correspondence, an organization that seeks to unite all socialist groups in the United States
This event is part of JusticeCon 2019 and requires a registration to attend. JusticeCon 2019 is organized by the Social Justice Institute at Philander Smith College, which brings together students, activists, thought-leaders, knowledge-seekers and renowned speakers to share ideas and inspire one another in the pursuit of social justice.
Wednesday, October 9 at 6 p.m. (Sturgis Hall)
Tim Rabolt is the Executive Director for the Association of Recovery in Higher Education (ARHE). In his role with ARHE, Rabolt oversees all operations, including but not limited to: the national conference, membership, external relations, partnerships and collaborations.
Prior to joining ARHE, Rabolt worked in the D.C. area as a Project Manager with Altarum, a public health research and consulting organization. He graduated from The George Washington University in 2015 with his bachelor’s degree in business administration, and then again in 2017 with his master’s degree in education and human development. He’s been in recovery since April of 2011 during his senior year of high school in Wilmington, Del. He currently resides in Minneapolis, Minn.
Brandon R. Brown – “Inside Apollo: Forgotten Stories and Important Lessons”
Thursday, October 17 at Noon (Sturgis Hall)
*Book signing to follow
In celebrating the 50th anniversary of Apollo, the nation's attention returned to the minute-to-minute missions, the brave astronauts, and the political machinery that launched the program. We can also pause to ask: How exactly did the engineers solve so many daunting problems from scratch – from unstable engines and extreme temperatures to the many unknowns of regions beyond Earth’s orbit? This presentation will crawl into Apollo's chariot, revisiting some fascinating and lesser known engineering stories, informed at every step by interviews with the Apollo-era engineers. Importantly, what did we learn and what are we still learning from America's first moon missions?
Brandon R. Brown is Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of San Francisco, where he has also served as department chair, associate dean for sciences, and director of external affairs. His research work has spanned high-temperature superconductivity and sensory biophysics. His writing for non-physicists includes two books, “Planck” (2015) and “The Apollo Chronicles” (2019), as well as columns and articles in Scientific American, Smithsonian, Slate and other outlets. He completed a bachelor’s degree in physics at Rice University, a Ph.D. in condensed matter physics at Oregon State University, and post-doctoral training in science communication at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Susan Herman – “A Democrat and a Republican Walk into a Bar: Civil Liberties and Non-Partisanship”
Thursday, October 24 at 6 p.m. (Ron Robinson Theater)
Susan N. Herman was elected President of the American Civil Liberties Union in October 2008, after having served on the ACLU National Board of Directors, as a member of the Executive Committee, and as General Counsel.
Herman holds a chair as Centennial Professor of Law at Brooklyn Law School, where she teaches courses in Constitutional Law and Criminal Procedure, and seminars on Law and Literature, and Terrorism and Civil Liberties
She writes extensively on constitutional and criminal procedure topics for scholarly and other publications, ranging from law reviews and books to periodicals and online publications. Her most recent book, “Taking Liberties: The War on Terror and the Erosion of American Democracy,” is the winner of the 2012 Roy C. Palmer Civil Liberties Prize.
Nick and Mike Fiorito – The Thousand Blanket Journey
Friday, October 25 at 6 p.m. (Sturgis Hall)
Blankets of Hope started two years ago as a simple family project. As brothers Mike and Nick Fiorito were commuting to their unfulfilling jobs, they passed by the same homeless people freezing on the streets of New York City. But day after day, they did nothing about it. Their endless to-do lists would take over, and they were always "too busy" to help.
Finally, during a sleepless night, Nick came to Mike with an idea that was both practical and thoughtful: "What if we just gave them blankets?" The next day, they set up a simple GoFundMe page telling their story. They raised enough money from friends and family to purchase 100 purple blankets. They chose purple because the color represented royalty. To add a personal touch, they attached a handwritten note to every blanket, each with a simple but powerful message: "We believe in you."
Fred Burton – “Beirut Rules”
Wednesday, October 30 at Noon (Sturgis Hall)
*Book signing to follow
From the New York Times bestselling co-authors of “Under Fire” comes the riveting story of the kidnapping and murder of CIA Station Chief William Buckley.
After a deadly terrorist bombing at the American embassy in Lebanon in 1983, only one man inside the CIA possessed the courage and skills to rebuild the networks destroyed in the blast: William Buckley. But the new Beirut station chief quickly became the target of a young terrorist named Imad Mughniyeh.
“Beirut Rules” is the pulse-by-pulse account of Buckley’s abduction, torture, and murder at the hands of Hezbollah terrorists. Drawing on never-before-seen government documents as well as interviews with Buckley’s co-workers, friends and family, Burton and Katz reveal how the relentless search for Buckley in the wake of his kidnapping ignited a war against terror that continues to shape the Middle East to this day.
The Clinton School Speaker Series not only enhances the education of Clinton School students, but also provides a venue for the public to engage in intellectual discussions on the issues of the day.