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Dissent in Wichita
Gretchen Cassel Eick

"Dissent in Wichita: Race and Social Revolution in the Heartland"
Special Events

Wed., Sep. 24, 2003, 7:30pm
Location: Spencer Museum of Art
Gretchen Cassel Eick, associate professor of history at Friends University in Wichita, has won the 2003 Byron Caldwell Smith Book Prize, awarded by the Hall Center for the Humanities, for her book, Dissent in Wichita: The Civil Rights Movement in the Midwest, 1954-72. Her book was published in 2001 by the University of Illinois Press.

The Byron Caldwell Smith Award was established at the bequest of Kate Stephens, a former KU student and one of KU?s first women professors. As an undergraduate, Kate Stephens learned to love the study of Greek language and literature from Professor Byron Caldwell Smith. In his name, she established this award, given biennially to an individual who lives or is employed in Kansas, and who has written an outstanding book in the humanities. This year?s award committee considered books published in 2001 and 2002.

Eick completed her Ph.D. in American Studies at the University of Kansas in 1997. Her Ph.D. dissertation was supervised by Bill Tuttle, professor of history and American studies at KU. She wrote the final revision of the manuscript while in Riga, Latvia, teaching on a Fulbright Fellowship. To her research, she brought fourteen years of public policy work in Washington and a keen interest in the process of social change.

The prize committee?s citation
"Eick?s book, well-written and expertly researched, begins with the story of the first successful student sit-in at a whites-only lunch counter, not in Greensboro, North Carolina, but in Wichita, Kansas. Based in oral as well as documentary sources, the book illuminates the civil rights movement by weaving the story of individuals with the local, state, and national stories. The author writes not the history of a mid-sized Midwestern city during the Civil Rights era (a feat that would have been important in its own right), but rather explains how the larger story of the movement cannot be understood without the one she tells about Wichita. Her characters are vivid (especially Chester I. Lewis), her settings made real, and her conclusions interesting.

We believe the volume best meets the Byron Caldwell Smith award's standards of 'originality and superiority in conception and execution' as well as 'outstanding scholarship.'"

This event is free and open to the public.

September 24, 2003
7:30 p.m.
Spencer Museum of Art
Wk Su M T W Th F Sa

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