Pulitzer Prize-winning author visited campus to speak about historical events

Angelo Gargaro

Leon Litwack wants to make history come alive.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author spoke in the Kiva yesterday about African Americans in World War II. Litwack, a history professor at the University of Berkeley in California, has received awards for his studies on African Americans, including the John Oak Franklin and the American Book awards.

“We are in for a treat tonight,” said Kevin Adams, assistant professor of history at Kent State. “Litwack invites us to ‘Walk in the shoes of those who have lived in the past.’ One of his main goals is to make students and readers not simply learn historical facts, but to feel them.”

Litwack’s speech started off with a story about Richard Wright, a 17-year-old who “moved away from his native Mississippi, plainly called the most racist of all American states.” Wright, a black man, left Mississippi to get away from the racism, only to come back 15 years later to see if anything had changed.

“He thought the first two hours after his return to the south told him everything he needed to know,” Litwack said. “He discovered that the only thing that really had changed was him.”

Freshman exploratory major Brad Pucci was in attendance.

“I went to this for extra credit in my history class,” Pucci said. “I am glad I came though. He said a lot of interesting things.”

Contact College of the Arts and Sciences reporter Angelo Gargaro at [email protected].