New York Times highlights documentary on James Reeb ’50

St. Olaf College - Fri, 03/06/2015 - 5:30pm

A photo of James Reeb ’50 as shown in the documentary by filmmaker Andrew Beck Grace.

As St. Olaf College begins hosting a series of events to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the voting rights marches, the New York Times has published a moving documentary about the role alumnus James Reeb ’50 played in the civil rights movement.

Reeb, a Boston minister who had answered Martin Luther King Jr.’s call for clergy to march with him in Selma, was one of three clergy members attacked by white supremacists as they were leaving a diner. He died of his injuries two days later.

In the documentary, the Rev. Clark Olsen, one of the two ministers who was with Reeb during the attack, shares his memories of what happened that day — and how it shaped the course of history.

“Thousands of people gathered in various cities — Washington, Chicago, New York, Boston, San Francisco — and it made headlines all across the country about this attack on a white clergyman,” Olsen says.

“I began to realize that we were the center of attention — that this was a big event.”

On March 15, 1965, four days after Reeb’s death, President Lyndon Johnson invoked his memory — “that good man” — as he introduced the Voting Rights Act to a joint session of Congress.

“I believe that Johnson was moved by the attack on us and by Jim Reeb’s death,” Olsen says. “The president realized that this was the moment to urge passage of the voting rights bill.”

St. Olaf is hosting a series of events, A Long walk Home: 50 Years of Climbing the Hill to Freedom, that pays tribute to the role Reeb and other alumni played in the civil rights movement.

The events include:

  • An art exhibit that documents the Selma-to-Montgomery marches through 45 photographs from the archives of Stephen Somerstein.
  • A discussion with St. Olaf alumni Jeff Strate ’66 and Sheryl Anderson Renslo ’66, the producers of a documentary film titled Alabama Return that chronicles the experiences of 65 St. Olaf students who volunteered for the Tuskegee Institute Summer Education Program in the summer of 1965.
  • Screenings of the Academy Award–nominated film Selma.
Categories: Colleges

Men’s basketball bustled out of playoffs: Oles unable to hold onto half-time lead against Royals

Manitou Messenger - Fri, 03/06/2015 - 5:10pm

There is something special about basketball. There is something musical about the squeaks of shoes that glide across glossy hardwood. There is something war-like in the cheers of fans, almost like the ancient Romans filling a colosseum and chanting for their chosen victor. The atmosphere it creates is unlike any other sporting event.

The St. Olaf versus Bethel MIAC Semi-Final game on Feb. 27 began with that atmosphere. The game began with a team of Oles, each looking prepared and, without a doubt, hungry, for another victory that could take them one step closer to another MIAC championship. The crowd, all adorned in white, seemed to have an unearthly glow; united, they stood to cheer for the Oles.

The pace of the game at first was lively and quick. Each play was made with precision, and the Royals seemed to sit by and watch as the Oles made shot after shot. At the end of the first half, the Oles were up 37-35, but something had changed. Going into the second half, spectators were hoping to see a bigger gap between the scores and as the second half commenced, the gap began to emerge, but not in St. Olaf’s favor.

The second half was not played nearly as smoothly as the first. The Oles made some crucial mistakes. Bethel, becoming more aggressive, bulldozed its way to the basket and began taking more and more advantage of some of the Oles’ sloppier passes. While the Oles did take advantage of Bethel’s mistakes, it was not enough to overcome the Oles’ transitions. The first half of the game, St. Olaf did a great job of quickly transitioning from offense to defense, but during the second half, the transitions were not as sharp. The team lagged slightly behind, making a 75-67 win for Bethel possible.

While the team was defeated by Bethel, St. Olaf has been selected to play in the NCAA Division III tournament. The Oles will battle with Ohio Wesleyan in their first game on Friday, March 6.


Categories: Colleges

Unconscious racial bias still pervades

Manitou Messenger - Fri, 03/06/2015 - 5:03pm

I would like to believe that I am always in control of my subconscious, but the sad truth is that I am not. As a matter of fact, no one is always aware of their subconscious thoughts.

Unconscious bias is inevitable. It nests in the deepest valleys of our mind and is the product of a prejudice-infested world that nurtures the minds of all. It is a bully cloaked in invisibility that persistently influences our everyday actions. I can keep going, but I think you already get the idea.

Unconscious biases can come from anywhere and everywhere. Our experiences and environments continue to reinforce them, but we are often blinded and unaware of the biases we harbor.

Much research consistently supports the theory of unconscious biases, proof that we are more biased than we presume. A recent New York Times op-ed on the issue of unconscious bias included research showing that unconscious racial and gender bias systematically benefits white men.

One of the examples that stood out to me was one that employed the use of fictitious resumés and names to determine if the name on a resumé can influence how employable a person is. Resumés with stereotypical white names such as Allison, Jill, Greg, Brad and stereotypical African American names such as Ebony, Tanisha, Darnell and Tyrone were sent to various potential employers. These 24 pages of extensive research reveal the influence of unconscious bias in the labor market and shows an astonishing degree of discrimination. Their results showed that resumés with names that appeared white received 50 percent more callbacks than those that appeared African American.

In another experiment conducted by North Carolina State University, male professors claimed to be female, while female professors claimed to be male in an online course. Students taking these online courses were instructed to rate the professors on a scale of one to five. The results showed that students rated the professors they assumed to be male more highly, but when that same professor was assumed to be female, they received a much lower rating. It is possible that the students might not have even been aware of their biases while making the associations between gender and rating, but in the face of this alarming evidence of unconscious bias, policies like the affirmative action become ineffective.

No law can successfully eliminate bias. Whether male, female, white, black, Hispanic, Asian, straight, gay, lesbian, old, young … everyone to some extent is afflicted by the plague of prejudice. The tough question we all face is, what can we do about it? What we can do is acknowledge the existence of discrimination and privilege in our society, and then work toward making an effort to obliterate this discrimination by being honest with ourselves.

One cannot change all the bigots in the world, but it is possible to change one’s own biases. We have to be the change we want to see in the world, as Gandhi said, so that these unconscious biases can become conscious, allowing us to address them or even crush them like annoying pests.

Kafayat Akindele ’17 ( is from St. Paul, Minn. She majors in psychology.

Categories: Colleges

Indie film fest stops at St. Olaf

Manitou Messenger - Fri, 03/06/2015 - 4:49pm

On Tuesday, Feb. 24 and Wednesday, Feb. 25, films from the 52nd Ann Arbor Film Festival were shown in Viking Theater.

Founded in 1963 by University of Michigan professor George Manupelli, the Ann Arbor Film Festival is the oldest experimental film festival in North America. Many of the film industry’s most famous directors and cinematographers have had their works featured at the festival, including Andy Warhol and George Lucas.

The event that came to St. Olaf was a stop on the festival’s annual tour that brings that year’s best films to over 35 locations, including small cinemas, museums and universities. The stop was organized by Linda Mokdad, Associate Professor of English and Film Studies. Mokdad is a graduate of the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and worked as a staff member of the film fest for a time.

As with all stops on the tour, the event was split into two evenings. The first night, or “Part A,” lasted 81 minutes, and “Part B” on the second night lasted 86 minutes.

Though all were short films, entries varied in length. The longest film was Jim Finn’s 21-minute 1990s-style communist self-help video, “Encounters With Your Inner Trotsky Child.” The shortest film, “Division” by Johan Rijpma, ran for only one minute.

The festival featured filmmakers of many different nationalities and covered a variety of subject matter. Some were intensely personal, such as Wojciech Bakowski’s abstract confessional “Dry Standpipe.” Others were more politically minded, such as “Broken Tongue” by Mónica Savirón, which features poet Tracie Morris reciting her poem, “Afrika.”

As experimental films, many of the entries pushed the boundries of conventional filmmaking. Rather than following a protagonist, Lois Patiño’s “Mountain In Shadow” highlights the insignificance of humans as they ski down dark, snow-covered mountains. In “Misterio,” Chema García Ibarra depicts a long line of middle-aged women attempting to hear the voice of the Virgin Mary coming from the back of a young man’s neck. However, not every film shown was as bizarre or surreal. Kevin Jerome Everson blurred the lines between experimental and documentary film while following illegal work in a poor area of Cleveland in “Fe26.”

A major highlight from the festival was the film “Cut,” by German filmmakers Matthias Müller and Christopher Giradet. A compilation of lacerations, incisions and surgeries from popular films and television programs, the film was visually enamoring but horrifying in the same instance. The film was a compilation of lacerations, incisions and surgeries from popular films and television programs. According to the event’s program, Müller and Giradet decribe their film as “a body as a wound that never heals.”

Another eye-catching film was “Lagos Island,” which won the 52nd AAFF Ken Burns Award for Best of the Festival. That film used the perspective from a handmade laborer’s carts to document migrants’ homes on the island’s coast. The Lagos government is currently in the process of destroying these homes in an effort to “clean up the city.”

The 53rd Ann Arbor Film Festival will take place on March 24 through March 29 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Categories: Colleges

Horoscopes: March 6, 2015

Manitou Messenger - Fri, 03/06/2015 - 4:42pm

Welcome to horoscopes. These aren’t your parents’ horoscopes, which means I won’t sugarcoat things and simply tell you what’s going to happen to you. No, you have to work for everything in this world, horoscopes included. So check your rearview mirror because Loki is barreling down on you at 90 semi-psychotic words per second. Change lanes or take the exit ramp because these horoscopes will cause some major whiplash. Follow my instructions and your life will get, at best, weirder and at worst, more jaily. Giddy up.


Pisces (Feb. 19 – March 20)

Help a friend. Scare the dickens out of them, like seriously, exorcise Charles Dickens from their body. He’s a sneaky sneak with a mean ghostly streak. Compel him with the power of Christ before he puts your friend through an Ebenezer Scrouge-esque existential crisis. Now remember, The Christmas Carol was semi-autobiographical, so make sure to exorcise the past, present and future forms of Dicken’s ghost.


Aries (March 21 – April 19)

March is here, which means it’s time to spring clean your brain. Convince a good number of Oles to donate their wisdom teeth to you. Then grind up the wisdom teeth and form a paste-like substance with them. Then use this knowledge-filled paste as shampoo for the next week. The wisdom from these useless teeth will seep into your cranium, making you the smartest person on this campus. However, make sure the teeth come from good people or else you’ll use your newfound knowledge for evil instead of good.

Taurus (April 20 – May 20)

You and your classmates deserve a break from your hardest class. Don’t shampoo your hair for a week. During this time collect your dandruff in a large garbage bag. Collect it at least three times a day. Then, once you have a full bag of your dead head skin, go to your professor’s house and sprinkle the dandruff outside his bedroom window. He will wake up and think there is a blizzard, causing him to cancel class. Collect a small token of appreciation from everyone in your class. Then wash your hair.

Gemini (May 21 – June 20)

Loki can see those wrinkles already setting in. Reverse the aging process this week. Start doing things such as yakking and fleeking on things. Loki is too old to know what these things are, exactly, so for “yakking” just throw up on your campus crush. This makes the most sense. Loki can only assume fleek is a mixture between flammable and geek so go around and douse any and all geeks with a fire extinguisher. Burning geeks is one epidemic we can stop.

Cancer (June 21 – July 22)

It’s time for you to get a pet for your whole dorm or house. Unfortuantely, all the cool pets are not allowed in these places of residence. Therefore, it’s on you to get scale implants and become a loveable alligator. Turn to a diet of small reptiles and unsuspecting music majors. People will love you because they fear you.

Leo (July 23 – Aug. 22)

March Madness is right around the corner and this is your year to win your friend pool. Studying numbers and watching games is too easy and generic, so you need something bigger to give you the edge. Print out statistics on the 100 best teams in the country. Then melt them into sharp, papery contacts. Insert the contacts directly into your beady little eyeballs. You will be literally blinded by basketball knowledge. Everyone knows the best basketball oracles are blind so remember to tip Loki when you win that cool 50 bucks.


Virgo (Aug. 23 – Sept. 22)

HOLY CHICKEN NUGGETS KEVIN GARNETT HAS COME HOME! Stalk him, and collect his nail clippings, stray hairs and old gum. Make a shrine to him in your room, where you attempt to build a replica Kevin Garnett out of your collectings. Pray to his deformed and incomplete body every night and maybe just maybe the Timberwolves will actually win a game.


Libra (Sept. 23 – Oct. 22)

Loki knows you’re bummed about the holiday lull. Find a way to tide yourself over until St. Patrick’s Day. Create a national holiday called “Iron Stomach Day.” This is where everyone gets the day off and instead has to fill up on 26 bag lunches and then run around the track until they yik yak everywhere.

Scorpio (Oct. 23 – Nov. 21)

The theater department is looking for new talent. Now is your time to shine. Produce, write and star in the one person production titled My Life as a Residence Hall Door. Perform an interprative dance in the cafeteria demonstrating your displeasure with the oppression of being locked both physically and emotionally every day.


Sagittarius (Nov. 22 – Dec. 21)

It’s time to generate some buzz for yourself. Create a Buzzfeed quiz about how much people love you. Don’t give them a negative option on the quiz. If they refuse to take the quiz, then train a dog to slap them.


Capricorn (Dec. 22 – Jan. 19)

Bring more fun to your life. Create a hopscotch board by taping down hundreds of butterscotch candies to the sidewalks in the quad with scotch tape. However, you do run the risk of no one playing with you because everyone hates butterscotch.

Aquarius (Jan. 20 – Feb. 18)

Everyone has a Loki in their life. Treat them well this week.

Categories: Colleges

Allen Receives a Grant from the CHS Foundation

Carleton College News - Fri, 03/06/2015 - 4:35pm
Barbara Allen, Ada M. Harrison Distinguished Teaching Professor of the Social Sciences, received a $15,000 grant from the CHS Foundation for her documentary film, “Actual World, Possible Future-A Documentary about the Lives and Work of Elinor and Vincent Ostrom.” The CHS grant will support Barbara’s March 2015 research trip to South Korea, on which she will interview and film important figures in the Korean cooperative movement and conduct research at coops and other social enterprises, including fisheries and fish markets, eco-tourism, and water resources. This opportunity is especially important to the documentary and to the cause of the coop movement because the movement in South Korea has both wrought enormous positive social change and provided a successful contrast to the North Korean model of state control.
Categories: Colleges

Zabin Awarded Competitive Fellowships Regarding Boston Massacre

Carleton College News - Fri, 03/06/2015 - 4:28pm
Serena Zabin, Associate Professor of History, has been awarded an American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Fellowship in addition to a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) fellowship to finish her book on the Boston Massacre, Occupying Boston: An Intimate History of the Boston Massacre. Zabin's book uncovers the extensive personal interactions between troops and their families and townspeople, and challenges the political spin put on the "massacre" that created its iconic place on the road to the American Revolution. In addition to deep archival and documentary research, Zabin and Carleton students used digital tools to map the personal networks in colonial Boston that, she argues, help to explain the Massacre's origins and effects. Notably, Zabin's awards come in funding cycles when the NEH funded only 7.5% and the ACLS funded less than 7% of the fellowship proposals received.
Categories: Colleges

Gross Receives Funding from the US Department of Energy SBIR Program

Carleton College News - Fri, 03/06/2015 - 4:23pm
Deborah Gross, Professor of Chemistry, has received funding from the U.S. Department of Energy Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program through a subaward from the MSP Corporation. The project, led by Dr. Amir Naqwi at MSP, brings together a team of leading aerosol experts to develop a cutting-edge technology for investigating the chemistry of airborne particles, which is critical for the understanding of climate change. The resulting instrument will also be an advanced tool for monitoring and controlling air pollution.
Categories: Colleges

McSparron, Grow & England Pick Up MIAC Basketball Awards

Carleton Sports - Fri, 03/06/2015 - 2:46pm

The ability to impact the game at both ends of the court earned Carleton College senior Shane McSparron a spot on both the 2014-15 MIAC Men’s Basketball All-Conference Team and the All-Defensive Team. The conference coaches also voted Carleton’s rookie forward Kevin Grow to the MIAC’s All-First Year Team.

Categories: Colleges

Tsutsui Named to All-MIAC Team Again; Steinstra Also Honored

Carleton Sports - Fri, 03/06/2015 - 2:40pm

Carleton College’s Skylar Tsutsui was honored by the conference women’s basketball coaches for the fourth consecutive season as the senior guard was voted to the 2014-15 MIAC Women's Basketball All-Conference Team.

Categories: Colleges

Emma Grisanzio Picks Up All-MIAC Honorable Mention in the Pentathlon

Carleton Sports - Thu, 03/05/2015 - 11:38pm

Sophomores Emma Grisanzio and Zoe Peterson finished fourth and ninth place, respectively, in the pentathlon at the MIAC Women’s Indoor Track and Field Championships.

Categories: Colleges

Colby Seyferth Leads MIAC Heptathlon After Day 1

Carleton Sports - Thu, 03/05/2015 - 11:11pm

After the first day of competition at the MIAC Heptathlon, members of the Carleton College men’s track and field team hold down three of the top four spots in the standings. Senior Colby Seyferth posted the top results of the day in the 60-meter dash, long jump, and shot put en route to 2,747 points, most in the 18-man field.

Categories: Colleges

Bring Passenger Rail to Northfield!

Help connect Northfield to the Twin Cities by submitting a comment here

Categories: Colleges

St. Olaf commemorates legacy of slain civil rights activist

St. Olaf College - Thu, 03/05/2015 - 9:17am

St. Olaf alumnus James Reeb ’50

In one scene in the Academy Award-nominated film Selma, St. Olaf College alumnus James Reeb ’50 is shown lying on a dark street, having been beaten by white supremacists.

He would die from his injuries two days later.

A Boston minister who had answered the call of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to come to Selma and raise his voice in protest, Reeb’s death became an important milestone in the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

As part of the national celebration marking the 50th anniversary of that legislation, St. Olaf will host a daylong commemoration of Reeb’s legacy March 12. His daughter Anne and granddaughter Leah will be on campus to speak about the role he played in the voting rights movement and how they honor the legacy of his work toward civil and human rights today.

The Rev. Gilbert Caldwell, an activist who traveled with Reeb to Selma, will also be on campus to speak about their experiences and the continuing struggle for inclusive civil rights.

‘We must substitute courage for caution’
James Reeb was a Unitarian Universalist minister working to improve housing opportunities for low-income black residents in Boston when he turned on the TV on the evening of March 7, 1965, and saw the coverage of Selma’s “Bloody Sunday.”

As someone who had spoken out for civil rights, desegregation, and an end to Jim Crow laws, Reeb was inflamed by what had happened in Selma. So when Martin Luther King Jr. called on clergy of all denominations to join him for a peaceful march in the city, Reeb left Boston and headed south.

James Reeb’s murder garnered national media attention and inspired a wave of protests, memorial services, and calls for federal action.

That Tuesday, Reeb and the other marchers — led by King — started over the Edmund Pettus Bridge and stopped at the site of the Bloody Sunday attack. There they knelt, prayed, and sang “We Shall Overcome” before retreating to Selma.

That evening, Reeb and two other ministers visited a diner run by local black citizens. As they were leaving, four white men attacked them on the street with clubs. One of the attackers hit Reeb in the head, fracturing his skull. Reeb died from his injuries in a Birmingham hospital two days later.

Reeb’s death inspired a wave of nationwide protests, memorial services, and calls for federal action, helping to create the political groundswell that President Lyndon Johnson needed to introduce new voting rights legislation — a fact referenced in the film Selma.

On March 15, 1965, four days after Reeb’s death, Johnson invoked his memory — “that good man” — as he introduced the Voting Rights Act to a joint session of Congress.

At Reeb’s memorial service, held in Selma that same day, King delivered the eulogy.

President David R. Anderson ’74 and students traveling through Alabama as part of a history course gathered in Selma in January to lay a wreath at the memorial to James Reeb ’50.

“In his death, James Reeb says something to each of us, black and white alike — that we must substitute courage for caution, that we must be concerned not merely about who murdered him, but about the system, the way of life, the philosophy which produced the murder,” King told mourners.

“His death says to us that we must work passionately, unrelentingly, to make the American dream a reality, so he did not die in vain.”

A campuswide commemoration
In addition to the celebration of Reeb’s legacy, St. Olaf is hosting a series of events to commemorate the role alumni and others played in the civil rights movement.

The events — collectively titled A Long Walk Home: 50 Years of Climbing the Hill to Freedom — include:

  • An art exhibit that documents the Selma-to-Montgomery marches through 45 photographs from the archives of Stephen Somerstein.
  • A discussion with St. Olaf alumni Jeff Strate ’66 and Sheryl Anderson Renslo ’66, the producers of a documentary film titled Alabama Return that chronicles the experiences of 65 St. Olaf students who volunteered for the Tuskegee Institute Summer Education Program in the summer of 1965.
  • Screenings of the Academy Award–nominated film Selma.
Categories: Colleges

2015 MIAC Indoor Track & Field Championships Preview

Carleton Sports - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 7:43pm

The MIAC Indoor Track & Field Championships will be held March 5-7 at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn.Full event information and team previews can be found by clicking the link above.

Categories: Colleges

Zoe Peterson Captures First Career MIAC Athlete-of-the-Week Honor

Carleton Sports - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 7:19pm

Carleton College sophomore Zoe Peterson is hitting her stride in the jumping events at the perfect time. Peterson took home a pair of first-place finishes in the long and triple jump on Friday night at the Ole Open Qualifier, setting one new school record in the process in her final tune-up before the conference championships. For her performance, Peterson was honored on Wednesday with the season's final MIAC Women's Indoor Field Athlete-of-the-Week award.

Categories: Colleges

Colby Seyferth Runs Away With Final MIAC Indoor Track Athlete-of-the-Week Award

Carleton Sports - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 6:54pm

Carleton College senior Colby Seyferth has had an incredible indoor track and field season, and his success continued in a big way during his final outing to prepare for the 2015 MIAC Championships. Seyferth starred at Friday's Ole Open Qualifierwith wins in both the 200- and 400-meter dashes and the MIAC's top time this season for both events. For his performance, Seyferth was honored Wednesday with his third MIAC Men's Indoor Track Athlete-of-the-Week award of 2015.

Categories: Colleges

Knights Earn both Regional and National Rankings

Carleton Sports - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 2:47pm

The Carleton College Women’s Tennis team is no stranger to the national spotlight, earning national rankings in each of the last five years. There is no difference in that this year with the Knights ranked No. 26 in the nation by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA). 

Categories: Colleges

Social Science Conference confronts inequality

Manitou Messenger - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 12:07pm

Multiple prominent thinkers in the fields of political science and economics descended upon Northfield on Feb. 20 and 21, as part of the 2015 St. Olaf Social Science Conference. The Conference featured Professor Casey Mulligan from The University of Chicago, Professor Steven Fazzari from Washington University in St. Louis and Theda Skocpol from Harvard University.

The conference was funded by several sources, including the newly-created Institute for Freedom and Community. Despite concerns over the use of “freedom” in the name, which some believe conveys a right-wing bias, the conference was able to attract self-professed liberals like Skocpol.

The main goal of the Social Science Conference this year was to address the existence and ramifications of income inequality in all facets of the social sciences. The invited professors represented different fields; Mulligan and Fazzari are professors of economics, while Skocpol is a professor of political science. Together, they offered a multidisciplinary analysis of the complex issue.

The growing divide between rich and poor is an important topic that has been the subject countless documentaries, books and hours of expert analysis in the past few years. Each of the speakers latched onto a specific aspect of the economic inequality issue that they intended to discuss and address.

Professor Hofrenning, Associate Dean of the Social Sciences at St. Olaf, spoke about the choice of topic for this year’s conference.

“In recent years, we have focused on healthcare, immigration, human rights and families. This year the normal sources of funding were supplemented with new support from the new public affairs program, the Institute for Freedom and Community,” Hofrenning said.

Skocpol, the most well-known of the three speakers, divided America’s economic history in terms of economic inequality into two segments.

“If you look at [income growth] between the end of World War II and 1979, that’s the cutoff I prefer, although you can quibble. A rising tide was raising all boats… since 1979 there’s been volatile but extreme upward growth only for the 1%,” Skocpol said.

The income inequality growth has been so significant since the 1970s that Skocpol has utilized her fellow professionals’ allegorical countries to repepresent this growing divide.

“My colleagues Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson call the early world Broadistan… shared prosperity and then we moved into [Richistan], a new world where the top is pulling away,” Skocpol said.

After the keynote lecture of each speaker, the audience was given the chance to ask questions of the speakers. The debate and discussion were not purely limited to students, though; plenty of faculty members and other adults were able to submit questions.

The speakers themselves questioned each others claims. Skocpol and Mulligan sparred over the controversial implementation and economic effects of Obamacare. Mulligan opposes the ACA while Skocpol believed it to be a “step in the right direction” for the combat of income inequality.

A student panel, moderated by Erik Springer ’15 and SGA President Rachel Palermo, discussed economic inequality on Saturday afternoon. Many of these students were double majors, straddling multiple disciplines of the social sciences. The lenses of economics, political science, sociology, anthropology and social work were used to discuss economic inequality. This panel was part of the initiative to allow students to engage with the issues facing the public today.

The speakers and students not only discussed the cause and ramifications of economic inequality but also possible economic and political solutions to these problems.


Categories: Colleges

History professor talks to national media about civil rights landmark

St. Olaf College - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 11:48am

St. Olaf College Professor of History Michael Fitzgerald

St. Olaf College Professor of History Michael Fitzgerald tells the Associated Press that the Edmund Pettus Bridge, a landmark synonymous with the civil rights movement, is undoubtedly named for a white supremacist.

As the 50th anniversary of the Selma-to-Montgomery marches approaches this month, the story about the bridge’s namesake — and a petition by Selma students to rename the landmark — has been featured in outlets ranging from NBC News to Business Insider.

Voting rights marchers crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge were violently beaten by law enforcement officers on March 7, 1965, in what became known as “Bloody Sunday.”

The following Tuesday, Martin Luther King Jr. led thousands of clergy members — including St. Olaf alumnus James Reeb — onto the bridge, where they knelt, prayed, and sang “We Shall Overcome” before retreating to Selma. Several weeks later, marchers crossed the bridge as they began a successful 50-mile march to Montgomery to protest voting laws.

Because of that history, a group of students in Selma would like to see the bridge renamed. Built in 1940, the bridge is named for Edmund Winston Pettus, a Confederate general and U.S. senator who lived in Selma after the Civil War.

Fitzgerald, who is researching a book on Reconstruction-era Alabama, tells the AP that he hasn’t found “persuasive evidence” that Pettus was a Ku Klux Klan officer or even member. But, he says, Pettus was “almost certainly” involved with the White League, a later terrorist organization.

“What I would say is Edmund Pettus is definitely a strong white supremacist,” Fitzgerald says.

Fitzgerald specializes in southern history, teaching courses on African American history and the Civil War era as well as topical seminars on slavery, civil rights, and related topics. This January, his Experiencing Southern History course examined how Alabama’s official sites of memory — museums, monuments, and memorials — reflect the competing demands of politics, public attitudes, schools, and tourism.

Categories: Colleges

Bookmark and Share

Syndicate content