Established 1885

The Washburn Review

Established 1885

The Washburn Review

Established 1885

The Washburn Review

2023 iREAD focuses on learning from history

Lawrence Goldstone discusses his book ‘Separate No More: The Long Road to Brown v. Board of Education’

Students, faculty and community members came together in White Concert Hall on Sept. 14, 2023 for the 17th annual iREAD Lecture.

This year’s featured speaker was Lawrence Goldstone, writer of “Separate No More: The Long Road to Brown v. Board of Education.” This book was selected for first-year students to read in their WU 101 classes, in light of the upcoming 70th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education.

“When we study history, we are watching this evolution of human behavior, how people react. And what we see here is this amazing change in the way the American population, the American citizenry, began to see racial issues,” Goldstone said.

The lecture began with introductory speeches from Washburn President JuliAnn Mazachek and Alan Bearman, vice president of strategic enrollment management and dean of the Center for Student Success and Retention. They both shared their appreciation of Goldstone’s presence and the iREAD program in general.

Sean Bird, senior associate dean of University Libraries and the Center for Student Success and Retention, who also attended, played a major part in organizing this event.

“This event is – I really want to say, outside of convocation and commencement – the premier academic event of our academic year,” Bird said. “We were trying to tell students from day one at convocation, in WU 101, that they are not alone. They are part of a community of learning. And one of the best ways to illustrate that is to bring people together into a group like this and to experience the same thing and have common conversations.”

Bird illustrates that having a reading program in place for first-year students also gives them an opportunity to improve their literacy and critical thinking skills.

“We really need to focus on literacy skills. We think coming out of the pandemic, that there’s just been a lack of reading and being thoughtful about big topics. We live in a complicated time as well. And so bringing students together to think about something that’s really big – even though it’s in the past, it has implications for today – I think is very, very important,” Bird said.

The topic of Goldstone’s book and lecture hits close to home for Washburn patrons and Topekans, as the Brown v. Board case originated in Topeka in 1951.

“We’ve had multiple books about Topeka and about Kansas,” Bird said. “We want to bring books that talk about the challenge of becoming a member of this society, both as an individual and the challenges that individuals have, but also collectively.”

Goldstone also acknowledged this challenge and how every member of society has a choice to learn from this historic case.

“I divide the world into people who move the process forward, and people who can only look back, and you all have an opportunity to be people who are moving forward. It’s there, all you need to do is to take it,” Goldstone said.

The committee in charge of selecting the iREAD material is already thinking about next year’s program. According to Bird, the committee will be putting out a request for titles sometime in the next few weeks.

Bird is looking forward to next year’s iREAD lecture and all future lectures. When it comes down to it, serving students is what drives his work and is the purpose of this event altogether.

“I believe, first of all, that having the opportunity to come to work every day – to not even come to work – to come to Washburn University, and to engage curious, inquisitive, hardworking, thoughtful students to spend time with amazing faculty members who really are here to help guide and navigate those student pathways is just an opportunity of a lifetime,” Bird said.

To learn more about Goldstone and his work, visit his website. To read about previous iREAD lectures, click here.

Edited by Aja Carter and Regina Cassell

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