Four-part lecture series on U.S. social movements opens March 10 at WSU Vancouver

All events are free and open to the public

VANCOUVER — Washington State University Vancouver will present a four-part lecture series on the history of U.S. social movements this spring. All events are free and open to the public.

The four lectures are:

Sherman Henry, “Labor Rights and Civil Rights Since the 1968 Memphis Sanitation Workers Strike”

Noon – 1:15 p.m. March 10, Engineering and Computer Science Building, Room 105

Henry will discuss the importance of the 1968 strike in launching public worker unions across the country, even as Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated for advocating for low-wage workers. He is a career instructor at the University of Oregon’s Labor Education and Research Center and the former executive director of AFSCME Local 1184, where he represented 9,000 support workers in Miami-Dade County, Fla., the nation’s fourth-largest school system.

Before Henry’s talk, participants are encouraged to view the film “At the River I Stand: The Climax of the Civil Rights Movement” (available through WSU Vancouver Library on Kanopy).

Gloria Brown and Donna Sinclair, “Black Woman in Green: Gloria Brown and the Unmarked Trail to Forest Service Leadership”

5:45 – 6:45 p.m. April 2, Multimedia Classroom Building, Room 1

Brown began working for the USDA Forest Service in Washington, D.C., in 1974. She became the first African-American woman to attain the rank of forest supervisor at the Forest Service. Sinclair is an adjunct history professor at WSU Vancouver and a public historian. The two will tell the story of Brown’s unfolding career against the backdrop of a changing government agency and a changing society, and the ways that African Americans have carved out roles in the outdoors and in the fields of environmental policy and public lands management. 

Josué Q. Estrada, “A History of the Latina/o Voting Rights Movement in Washington State”

Noon – 1:15 p.m. April 7, Library Building, Room 265

While many people are familiar with African-American struggles for equal voting rights, which ultimately led to the 1965 Voting Rights Act, history tends to overlook that Latinos/as were also denied the ballot. Estrada, a doctoral candidate in history at the University of Washington and a WSU graduate, will discuss the hidden history of how Latinos/as resisted and organized to demand their voting rights and how this social movement affected people in Washington state. 

Samantha Jaurequi Edgerton, “The Battered Women’s Movement in the Pacific Northwest, 1975 – 1994”

6:30 – 7:30 p.m. April 9, Library Building, Room 265

Edgerton is a doctoral student in the Department of History at WSU Pullman and a graduate of WSU Vancouver. Her research focuses on women and gender, race and ethnicity, social movements and popular culture in the postwar United States. Edgerton will examine how the battered women’s movement transformed public consciousness in the Pacific Northwest about “intimate partner violence” (IPV) by creating shelters, pursuing anti-domestic violence legislation, changing public perception of survivors of IPV, and how activists responded to political backlash in the early 1980s.

For more information about the series, contact Laurie Mercier, Claudius O. and Mary W. Johnson Distinguished Professor of History, at

About WSU Vancouver

WSU Vancouver is located at 14204 N.E. Salmon Creek Ave. in Vancouver, east of the 134th Street exit from either I-5 or I-205, or via C-TRAN bus service. Parking is available at meters and in the Blue Daily Pay lot for $4 per day, $2 after 5 p.m., free after 7 p.m.  

As one of six campuses of the WSU system, WSU Vancouver offers big-school resources in a small-school environment. The university provides affordable, high-quality baccalaureate- and graduate-level education to benefit the people and communities it serves. As the only four-year research university in Southwest Washington, WSU Vancouver helps drive economic growth through relationships with local businesses and industries, schools and nonprofit organizations. 

Information provided by WSU Vancouver Communications.