A Closer Look

Dr. James Loewen

posted: 02/14/14
Dr. James Loewen
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Dr. James Loewen

Dr. James Loewen is a sociologist, historian, and author, best known for his 1995 book, "Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong," which was republished in 2008. He taught race relations for twenty years at the University of Vermont and previously taught at predominantly black Tougaloo College in Mississippi.

He now lives in Washington, D.C., continuing his research on how Americans remember their past. "Lies Across America: What Our Historic Sites Get Wrong" came out in 1999. His 2006 book "Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of American Racism," explores one of America's well-kept secrets as he unearths the making of sundown towns and discloses the fact that many white neighborhoods and suburbs are the result of years of racism and segregation. White residents of these towns used any means possible -- including the law, harassment, race riots, and even murder -- to keep African Americans and other minority groups out.

Powerful and unprecedented, "Sundown Towns" tells the story of how these towns came into existence, what maintains them, and what to do about them. It also deepens our understanding of the role racism has played and continues to play in our society. In 2012 the American Sociological Association gave Loewen its Cox-Johnson-Frazier Award, for "scholarship in service to social justice." He is the first white person ever to win this award. Also in 2012, the National Council for the Social Studies gave Loewen its "Spirit of America" Award, previously won by, inter alia, Jimmy Carter, Rosa Parks, and Mr. Rogers.

Learn more about Dr. Loewen at his website.

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