I am very excited to have a full page ad in US News & World Report this week with an image of my 2004 book Notre Dame vs the Klan (Loyola Press). The ad refers to a free speech controversy that raged on an Indiana college campus last year, when a student-employee was found guilty of racial harassment merely for reading my book. I know that's hard to believe, but it really happened. Here's an article in NUVO, Indianapolis's alternative paper, who really broke the story, although it ended up being covered by the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Associated Press, and many other outlets.
The ad was created by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, an advocacy group that fights for freedom of speech on campus, and helped this particular student clear his name. It took a lot of work - for a time the school's administration was determined to admit no wrongdoing.
This book has had a lot of staying power, especially for a book that came out over five years ago. I think it speaks to the power of this story, set in 1924, when the state of Indiana, and the Notre Dame campus, was besieged by the Klan and anti-Catholic hatred.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
While I was in the area for the August 20 event at Carmichael's Bookstore in Louisville, my good friend and unpaid publicist Doug Bennett helped me line up a great morning at Scribner Junior High, in New Albany, Indiana. Not only is this the school where Doug's son, Trent, is a seventh grader: it's where I attended Junior High roughly one thousand years ago. It could not have been more enjoyable. I spoke to the entire group of seventh graders, about 300 in all, about reading and creative writing. I am picture above with head librarian Pamela Poe, and the two great kids who introduced me to their class.
Carmichael's Bookstore, Louisville Kentucky's greatest independent bookstore. Jeff Howington, who coordinates events at Carmichael's, had the foresight to pair me with Jason Howard, an activist and author/editor of two interesting books: Something's Rising and We All Live Downstream. Jason brought with him several contributors, including a couple of very impressive musicians. My thanks to Carol Besse, owner of Carmichael's, Jeff Howington, and my friend Doug Bennett, who lined up a couple of really interesting days in the Louisville area. (See the next post about Scribner Junior High).