Tag Archives: STANFORD UNIVERSITY

Stanford’s Company of Authors: Butterflies Talk!

On April 24, 2021, Leslie Friedman presented a talk about her latest book, The Story of Our Butterflies: Mourning Cloaks in Mountain View, on Stanford’s program, Company of Authors.

The speakers for the program were in groups of 3 or 4 speakers. The recording of the talks shows all 3 speakers in Leslie’s group.  Professor Paul Robinson introduces the first speaker; she speaks for about 4 min. 8 seconds. Then Prof. Robinson introduces Leslie. Her talk is about 8 minutes long (each speaker was allowed 10 minutes). After Leslie’s talk, Prof. Robinson makes a few comments praising her talk. Then, he introduces the final speaker, Professor Peter Stansky who talks about his most recent book, Twenty Years On, on modern British History. Prof. Stansky is the founder of Company of Authors.

Here is the link:     https://vimeo.com/546631058

Thank you for your interest!

 

Stanford’s Company of Authors presents Leslie Friedman

Congratulations to Leslie Friedman, Artistic Director of The Lively Foundation!  Stanford University’s distinguished program, Company of Authors, honored her by inviting her to talk about her book, The Dancer’s Garden. Company of Authors presents Stanford related writers to talk about recent publication. The program took place over Zoom on October 24. There were 17 speakers all from a wide variety of fields. Leslie received her Ph.D. in History from Stanford. The event was free and open to the public; only pre-registration was required in order to receive the Zoom code.

The Dancer’s Garden, published in 2019, is available from The Lively Foundation and the Stanford Bookstore.

Response to Leslie’s talk was so positive that she immediately received an invitation to present her new book, The Story of Our Butterflies: Mourning Cloaks in Mountain View, in the next Company of Authors, April 24, 2021. This year’s Company of Authors was originally scheduled for May 2, 2020. It would have been live, in person, and on campus at the Stanford Center for the Humanities. The Stanford campus closed because of the pandemic, the Authors’ program, postponed, became a virtual event. With each author appearing individually from his or her home, the relationship of speaker to listeners became even more personal. The hugely successful event was created by History Professor, Peter Stansky. He serves as the moderator of the program. Professor Stansky gave Leslie an exceptionally generous introduction. Christina Fajardo of Stanford’s Continuing Studies coordinated the program and managed the technical direction.  It was a wonderful experience, and we are looking forward to April 24th next year!

SENATOR CORY BOOKER EXPERIENCED POLICE PREJUDICE

Senator Cory Booker, US Senator from New Jersey, wrote a courageous letter to his followers about the search for social justice and the blockades against achieving it. In his letter, he includes the op-ed he wrote for the Stanford Daily, the student newspaper. He was a columnist in the Daily. His op-ed recounts the life threatening situation he endured in Palo Alto while a senior at Stanford. He was an extraordinary student then as he is an extraordinary national leader now. A stellar student, he was also a star athlete on Stanford’s football team. He was a Rhodes Scholar (Queen’s College, Oxford), received an MA at Stanford and his law degree at Yale.

He wrote the article after the Rodney King verdict ignited protests, especially in the Los Angeles area. Please read it. It gives an immediate, personal description of the emotional turmoil felt by this outstanding man as a student and conveys the fear that he was forced to experience as he was surrounded by Palo Alto police holding guns on him.  I will transcribe it below. The italics are from the article.

Cory Booker: “Why have I lost control?”

1992: Cory Booker: Why have I lost control?

How can I write when I have lost control of my emotions. Not Guilty…Not Guilty…Not Guilty…Not Guilty. Not shocked–Why Not?

“TURN OFF THE ENGINE! PUT YOUR KEYS, DRIVER’S LICENSE, REGISTRATION, AND INSURANCE ON THE HOOD. NOW! PUT YOUR HANDS ON THE STEERING WHEEL AND DON’T EVEN THINK OF MOVING!”

Five police cars. Six officers surrounded my car, guns ready. Thirty minutes I sat, praying and shaking, only interrupted by the command, “I SAID, DON’T MOVE!” Finally, “Everything check out, you can go.” Sheepishly, I asked why. “Oh, you fit the description of a car thief.”

Not Guilty…Not Shocked–Why Not?

In the jewelry store, they lock the case when I walk in. In the shoe store, they help the white man who walks in after me. In the shopping mall they follow me — in the Stanford shopping mall. Last month I turned and faced their surreptitious security: “Catch any thieves today?”

Not Guilty…Not Shocked–Why Not?

September 1991, Tressider Union, back patio. A woman was struggling with her bags. “Can I help you, ma’am?” “Oh, yes, please…WAIT! You’re black!” She hurried away.

Not Guilty…Not Shocked.

I’m a black man. I am 6 feet 3 inches tall and 230 pounds, just like King. Do I scare you? am I a threat? Does your fear justify your actions? Twelve people believed it did.

Black male: Guilty until proven innocent.

Reactions to my kind are justified. Scrutiny is justified. Surveillance is justified. Search is justified. Fifty-six blows…Justified.

Justice? Dear God…

I graduated from Stanford last June–I was elated. I was one of four presidents of my class–I was proud. In the fall, I received a Rhodes Scholarship–I approached arrogance. But late one night, as I walked the streets of Palo Alto, as the police car slowed down while passing me, as his steely gaze met me, I realized that to him, and to so many others I am and always may be a Nigger: guilty till proven innocent.

I’m struggling to be articulate, loquacious, positive, constructive, but for the first time in so long, I have lost control of my emotions. Rage, Frustration, Bitterness, Animosity, Exasperation, Sadness. Emotions once suppressed, emotions once channeled, now are let lose. Why?

Not Guilty…Not Shocked.

The violence did not surprise me. If I were the powers that be, it would not have taken me three days to call the National Guard. But maybe when you’re disconnected from reality you move slowly.

Poverty, alienation, estrangement, continuously aggravated by racism, overt and institutional. Can you leave your neighborhood without being stopped? Can you get a loan from your bank? Can you be trusted at your local store?

Can you get an ambulance dispatched to your neighborhood? Can you get the police to come to your house? Can you get an education in your school? Can you get a job? Can you stay alive past 25? Can you get respect? Can you be heard?

NO! Not until someone catches on video one small glimpse of your everyday reality and even then, can you get justice?

Our inner cities are stacks of dry leaves and lumber, waiting for a spark. This is but a mere campfire compared to the potential inferno awaiting us. Conditions are worsening and the Rodney King verdict is certainly not the most egregious injustice in our midst.

Why have I lost control of my emotions? Why do my hands shake as I write? Tonight, I have no answers.

Dear God…help us to help ourselves before we become our own undoing.