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12th Annual Henry Steele Commager Lecture: William C. Newman, Esq. presents “Let Me Comment: The News, The Law, and You”

Posted on Tuesday October 22nd 2013

Please join us for the GCC Foundation’s 12th Annual Henry Steele Commager Lecture presented Wednesday, November 20 at 12pm in the Stinchfield Lecture Hall.

The Commager Lecture series commemorates Henry Steele Commager, one of the country’s pre-eminent historians and a long-time professor at Amherst College, and focuses on themes of democracy, civil liberties, and civil rights. Commager was a strong supporter of community colleges and donated many of his books to GCC. The College used funds from the sale of the books to create the lecture series and Commager’s widow, Mary Commager, serves on the committee that chooses each year’s speaker. This year’s speaker is William C. Newman, Esq., of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts. He will be introduced by Buz Eisenberg, Criminal Justice faculty member at GCC and a member of the Commager Lecture committee.

William Newman has practiced law since the mid ‘70s, focusing on protecting the rights of workers and union members, the injured, the criminally accused, and those whose civil rights and civil liberties have been abridged or denied. Mr. Newman has served as the Director of the Western Regional Law Office of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts since 1987; worked as co-counsel on behalf of a Guantanamo detainee (repatriated relatively early in the Guantanamo litigation process); defended a man on Georgia’s death row (habeas granted, ultimately sentenced to life with the possibility of parole); represented an inmate at Cedar Junction (securing his release notwithstanding the client’s already- imposed sentences of life without parole plus 230 years); and represented the mother in Bezio v. Patenaude (the first Massachusetts gay custody case). These cases speak to his commitment to human rights.

About Henry Steele Commager

Born in Pittsburg in 1902, Henry Steele Commager received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1928 and taught history at New York University (1926—38) and Columbia (1938— 56). In 1956, he was appointed professor at Amherst College. His writings, often in collaboration with other historians, are extensive. Among them are The Growth of the American Republic (with Samuel E. Morison), Theodore Parker, Our Nation (with Eugene C. Barker, 1941), Majority Rule and Minority Rights (1943), The American Mind (1950), Freedom, Loyalty, and Dissent (1954), and The Era of Reform (1960).

Commager Lecture Series Committee

Dovi Afesi, Tim Blagg, Mary Commager, Regina Curtis, Buz Eisenberg, Clare Higgins, Leo Hwang

Sponsored by the GCC Foundation with funding from the Henry Steele Commager Endowment Fund, established in his honor by Mary Commager 


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