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Renowned historian Douglas Brinkley, author of a widely acclaimed biography of civil rights activist Rosa Parks, will speak at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 1, in the auditorium of Lafayette’s Kirby Hall of Civil Rights.

Open to the public free of charge, Brinkley’s talk, entitled “Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, and the Freedom Movement,” will be the first event in Lafayette’s new Presidential Speaker Series.

Lafayette President Arthur J. Rothkopf ’55 says, “Douglas Brinkley, a distinguished historian of the 20th century, is a most appropriate speaker to inaugurate this series, which is designed to encourage intellectual discourse on diversity. With his biography of Rosa Parks he has added to our understanding of the civil rights movement, one of the defining events of our time.”

Brinkley is Distinguished Professor of History at the University of New Orleans and director of UNO’s Eisenhower Center for American Studies, dedicated to the study and preservation of American history and leadership. His areas of special interest and expertise include 20th-century diplomatic and political history.

He is a prolific author and editor. His latest book, published this year by Viking Press in its “Penguin Lives” series, is a biography of Rosa Parks, whose arrest in 1955 for refusing to relinquish her seat to a white man on a segregated public bus in Montgomery, Ala., precipitated a bus boycott that helped spark the U.S. civil rights movement. Brinkley has also published major volumes on Dean Acheson, Jimmy Carter, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, James Forrestal, Jean Monnet, and Theodore Roosevelt. He is author of the recent American Heritage History of the United States.

Brinkley, who holds a Ph.D. from Georgetown University, is a familiar and respected television commentator on a wide range of historical, news, and documentary programs, including A Biography of America, a 26-part TV series and telecourse spearheaded by Donald L. Miller, Lafayette’s John Henry MacCracken Professor of History, that is currently airing on PBS stations nationwide.

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