Peace Chapel 4

Editor's Introduction

The Juniata community enjoyed a rich series of lectures during the 2004-2005 academic year, many of them focusing upon the year's theme, "Civil Rights: the Movement and the Promise." This theme commemorated the fiftieth anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, the fortieth anniversaries of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the publication of Autobiography of Malcolm X, and of the marches in Selma and Montgomery, Alabama.

First year students enjoyed John Lewis's memoir, Walking With the Wind, as their 2004 summer reading, and were moved by Representative Lewis's address to the College on October 3, 2004. Lewis had been at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, on March 7, 1965, when police brutally assaulted dozens of civil rights advocates. In response to that violence, several Juniata faculty, local ministers, and fifteen students went south to lend their solidarity to the Movement. Fifty years later, Professor Elmer Maas and seven students returned to the campus in March for a two-day reunion, "Living Testimony: Civil Rights Reunion and Renewal." We proudly reproduce part of the panel's reflection on "Why Did We Go?" Professor Maas's return to campus was a testament to his lifelong commitment to progressive activism, and one of his last gifts to the College. Six weeks after the reunion, on May 8, he passed away in his sleep.

The Civil Rights Movement changed our nation in many ways. Dr. Dwight Pitcaithley, chief historian for the National Park Service, this year's Woodrow Wilson Lecturer, addressed how the Park Service has designated numerous places as "sites of conscience" for their transformative value. Pitcaithley stressed the importance of interpretation - and debate - to our ongoing effort to achieve liberty for all citizens of our republic.

This year's Voices contains four contributions that reflect the divergent interests of Juniata Faculty. As the recipient of the Beachley Distinguished Professor Award, Peter Goldstein welcomed students to campus on the first day of class by urging that they question authority, thereby adhering to the critical thinking that is at the heart of the liberal arts tradition. Professor David Sowell shared some of his research on the history of medicine in Mexico in the year's first Bookend Seminar lecture. Potter Jack Troy and artist Sandy McBride explored the relationship between image and text through an exhibition at the College's Museum of Art. Jack opened the exhibit with a poetry reading, which we happily reproduce in Voices. Finally, retiring chemist Ei-Ichiro Ochiai closed this year's Bookend Seminar with a reflection on Japan's experiment with sustainability during the Edo period.

The College community enjoyed the presence of many outside lecturers, several of which we have the pleasure to present in Voices. Dr. John Churchill, chief executive officer of the Phi Beta Kappa academic honor society, addressed the 2004 graduates about what makes their liberal arts education valuable. (Read on to learn why Alexander failed to benefit from his education.) Thomas Mann, of the Brookings Institute, offered us a brilliant reading of the 2004 presidential contest, a lecture that demonstrated his 2005 outstanding analytical foresight. The Deputy Education Editor of the New York Times, Jack Kadden, brought his years of experience to the campus in a discussion of the No Child Left Behind education legislation. His analysis of the promises, and shortcomings, of the legislation demonstrates his lengthy attention to our nation's education system.

We are quite pleased to offer you a wonderful collection of lectures. Enjoy them. Let us know what you think.

David Sowell