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WIU Alumnus to Deliver Thurgood Marshall Lecture

September 29, 2017

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MACOMB, IL – Western Illinois University alumnus Robert E. Weems, Jr. will deliver the annual Thurgood Marshall Lecture, "Celebrating the Life, Legacy and 50th Anniversary of His Appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court," at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 11 in the Multicultural Center.

Weems is the Willard W. Garvey Distinguished Professor of Business History at Wichita State University. He received his bachelor's degree in history from Western in 1973.

"We are so happy to have Dr. Weems, a Western Illinois University alum, come back to our campus and deliver this lecture," said Rick Hardy, director of the Centennial Honors College. "Normally, we host our law school symposium during the spring semester but since adding our medical school symposium we decided to move the law school symposium to the fall. This transition left a gap semester without our signature events. Dr. (F. Erik) Brooks, our associate director, came up with the idea of having this event to honor Thurgood Marshall's appointment to the High Court. It was a great idea to bridge the gap. Maybe this can become an annual event in the Centennial Honors College."

Weems was a professor of history at the University of Missouri, Columbia from 1999-2011. A native of Chicago, Weems received his Ph.D. in history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His areas of specialization include African American history, African American business history and U.S. history.

Weems is the author of three books, co-editor of another and has published almost three dozen journal articles and encyclopedia entries. His most recent book is "Business in Black and White: American Presidents and Black Entrepreneurs in the Twentieth Century" (New York University Press, 2009). His current research project is a biographical study of Anthony Overton, an important African American businessman in early twentieth-century Chicago.

"It has been 50 years since being the first African American appointed to the Supreme Court and almost 25 years since his death," said Brooks. "Marshall is still one of America's greatest legal minds. His work as on the Supreme Court and with the NAACP changed the arch of history and left an indelible mark on our country's judicial system."

This event, open free to the public, is co-sponsored by the Centennial Honors College, College of Fine Arts and Communication, Malpass Library and the departments of History, Political Science and Liberal Arts. 

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