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Release: April 13, 1999

(EDITORS: Kozol will be available to meet with the media at 5 p.m. April 22 in the North Room of the IMU.)

Writer, activist Jonathan Kozol to speak at UI April 22

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Jonathan Kozol, a writer and activist for underprivileged children, will speak at the University of Iowa Thursday, April 22 at 8 p.m. in the Main Lounge of the Iowa Memorial Union. His lecture, "Savage Inequalities: Institutional Racism in Public Education," is sponsored by the UI Lecture Committee. Kozol is the Lecture Committee's 1999 Distinguished Lecturer.

Kozol has written several books about disadvantaged children, beginning with "Death At An Early Age," which described his experience teaching fourth grade in an inner city school. He was fired from that job in 1967 for reading a Langston Hughes poem to his class. That book won the 1968 National Book Award in Science, Philosophy and Religion and is now regarded as a classic by educators. Since then, Kozol has waged a national campaign to combat adult illiteracy and explore progressive ways of teaching at-risk youth.

His first narrative work, "Rachel and Her Children: Homeless Families in America," and his most recent book, "Amazing Grace: The Lives of Children and the Conscience of a Nation, " both trace the lives of impoverished Americans. "Rachel and Her Children" was honored with the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award of the American Society of Journalists and Authors.

"Savage Inequalities," written in 1991, marked Kozol's return visit to America’s schools 22 years after he first worked as a teacher. His evaluation of the state of education in both rich and poor communities won the New England Book Award in non-fiction.

Born in Boston, Kozol graduated from Harvard University Summa Cum Laude in 1958 and was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to Magdalen College, Oxford. He has since held two Guggenheim Fellowships, has twice been a fellow of the Rockefeller Foundation, and has received fellowships from the Field and Ford Foundations.

For more information, contact Matt McDermott, UI Lecture Committee, at (319) 335-3255 or (319) 339-1745.