Taking a Stand Lecture Series

Starting in May and continuing through August, the Lewes Public Library and Topical Seminars are co-hosting “Taking A Stand” – a series of free public lectures and interviews featuring prominent thinkers, authors, and leaders, many of whom have taken a stance regarding important issues of our time.

All of the lectures begin at 6:00 PM at the Lewes Public Library and are free of charge and open to the public.
Registration is requested for each lecture. Sign up online, by calling the library at 302-645-2733, or stopping by the Circulation Desk. Walk-ins are welcome.

Friday, May 3, 6:00 PM
Steven Pressman – Interview with film maker and author of 50 Children: One Ordinary American Couple’s Extraordinary Rescue Mission into the Heart of Nazi Germany
Steven Pressman will be interviewed about his HBO documentary and book. In the spring of 1939, Gilbert and Eleanor Kraus, a Jewish couple from Philadelphia embarked on a risky and unlikely mission. Traveling into the heart of Nazi Germany, they rescued 50 Jewish children from Vienna and brought them to the United States.
Paperback copies of Mr. Pressman’s book will be on sale by Browseabout Books. Mr. Pressman has agreed to sign copies.
This lecture also is co-hosted by the History Book Festival.
Online registration.


Wednesday, June 26, 6:00 PM
Judge Thomas Ambro — A Conversation: The Life & Legacy of Justice Holmes
Presentation by Federal Court of Appeals Judge Thomas Ambro. Judge Thomas Ambro joined the Third Circuit in 1999, as a Clinton appointee. A graduate of Georgetown University for both undergrad and law school, he previously worked in the law firm of Richards, Layton & Finger for 34 years. In private practice, Ambro focused on bankruptcy and business law. Judge Ambro will engage in a conversation about Justice Holmes with Ron Collins, editor of The Fundamental Holmes: A Free Speech Chronicle and Reader.
Online registration.


Saturday, June 29, 6:00 PM
Shon Hopwood — Crime & Redemption: The Bank Robber Who Won a Supreme Court Case Then Became a Law Professor
Shon Hopwood was a good kid from a good Nebraskan family. Those who knew him well would never have imagined that, as a young man, he’d be adrift with few prospects and plotting to rob a bank. But he did, committing five armed bank robberies before being apprehended. Serving ten years in federal prison, Shon feared his life was over. He wasn’t sure if he could survive a cell block, but he was determined to try. Hopwood pumped-up in the prison gym to defend himself and earned respect on the basketball court. He reconnected with the girl of his dreams from high school through letters and prison visits; and, crucially, he talked his way into a job in the prison law library. Hopwood slowly taught himself criminal law and began to help fellow inmates rather than himself. He wrote one petition to the Supreme Court, which was chosen to be heard from over 7,000 other petitions submitted by the greater legal community that year. The Justices voted 9-0 in favor of Hopwood’s petition when the case was finally heard. What might have been considered luck by some, was dispelled when a second petition from him was selected to be heard by the Supreme Court. He didn’t grasp it yet, but Shon’s legal work was the start of a new life. Shon works on policy reform, and he is a cofounder of PrisonProfessors.com. He strives to improve outcomes of America’s prison system, and he tells his amazing story in his book, Law Man: Memoir of a Jailhouse Lawyer.
Online registration.


Saturday, July 13, 6:00 PM
Robert Corn-Revere — The Lawyer Who Defended the Comedian Lenny Bruce and won a Posthumous Victory
Prominent First-Amendment attorney Robert Corn-Revere will discuss his successful defense of Lenny Bruce and how it led New York state to posthumously pardon Bruce. Corn-Revere has extensive experience in First Amendment law and communications, media, and information technology law. He regularly counsels clients and serves as litigation counsel in First Amendment, communications, and internet-related matters. Bob speaks and writes extensively on First Amendment and communications policy issues.
Online registration.


Saturday, July 20, 6:00 PM
Susan Cohen — Reproductive Rights: Past, Present & Future
Presentation by Susan A. Cohen, former Vice President for Public Policy at the Guttmacher Institute in Washington, DC. Ms. Cohen jointly directed the Institute’s public policy efforts, focusing on both U.S. federal policy as well as global sexual and reproductive health and rights. Beginning in 2013, she also served as the Editor in Chief of the Guttmacher Policy Review. During her 38 years at the Guttmacher Institute, Ms. Cohen made lasting contributions to the Institute and to the field of sexual and reproductive health more broadly. Joining Ms. Cohen is Morgan Keller, Communications Manager for the ACLU of Delaware. Ms. Keller also was a founding board member of Action Together NEPA and has worked in the fields of victims’ services and publication.
The Guttmacher Institute was founded in 1968 as the Center for Family Planning Program Development. By integrating nonpartisan social science research, policy analysis and public education, the Center hopes to provide a factual basis for the development of sound governmental policies and for public consideration of the sensitive issues involved in the promotion of reproductive health and rights.
Online registration.


Saturday, July 27, 6:00 PM
Dr. Richard Pazdur — Treating Cancer: What We Do and Do Not Know
Dr. Richard Pazdur, the Director of the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s Oncology Center of Excellence, will speak on the state of cancer research in America. In his role as director of the OCE, Dr. Pazdur is responsible for leading the effort to develop and execute an integrated regulatory approach to enhance the cross-center coordination of oncology product clinical review. Dr. Srujitha Murukutla of Beebe Healthcare’s Tunnell Cancer Center will facilitate the discussion.
Online registration.


Saturday, August 3, 6:00 PM
John Leland — author of Happiness Is a Choice You Make: Lessons from a Year Among the Oldest Old
Author and New York Times reporter John Leland will be interviewed about his book Happiness is a Choice You Make: Lessons From a Year Among the Oldest Old. In 2015, when the award-winning journalist John Leland set out on behalf of The New York Times to meet members of America’s fastest-growing age group, he anticipated learning of challenges, of loneliness, and of the deterioration of body, mind, and quality of life. But the elders he met took him in an entirely different direction. Despite disparate backgrounds and circumstances, they each lived with a surprising lightness and contentment. The reality Leland encountered upended contemporary notions of aging, revealing the late stages of life as unexpectedly rich and the elderly as incomparably wise. His book is an enduring collection of lessons that emphasizes, above all, the extraordinary influence we wield over the quality of our lives. With humility, heart, and wit, Leland has crafted a sophisticated and necessary reflection on how to “live better”―informed by those who have mastered the art.
Online registration.


Saturday, August 10, 6:00 PM
Ronald Collins and David Skover – authors of The People v. Ferlinghetti: The Fight to Publish Allen Ginsberg’s HOWL
A conversation between Ronald Collins and David Skover, co-authors of The People v. Ferlinghetti: The Fight to Publish Allen Ginsberg’s HOWL. Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s name does not appear in any First Amendment treatise or casebook. And yet when the best-selling poet and proprietor of City Lights Books was indicted under California law for publishing and selling Allen Ginsberg’s poem, Howl, Ferglinghetti buttressed the tradition of dissident expression and ended an era when minds were still closed, candid literature still taboo, and when selling banned books was considered a crime.
The People v. Ferlinghetti is the story of a rebellious poet, a revolutionary poem, an intrepid book publisher, and a bookseller unintimidated by federal or local officials. There is much color in that story: the bizarre twists of the trial, the swagger of the lead lawyer, the savvy of the young ACLU lawyer, and the surprise verdict of the Sunday school teacher who presided as judge. Noted free speech authorities Ronald K. L. Collins and David Skover tell the true story of an American maverick who refused to play it safe and who in the process gave staying power to freedom of the press in America. The People v. Ferlinghetti will be of interest to anyone interested the history of free speech in America and the history of the Beat poets.
Browseabout Books will have copies of the book available for sale at the event and there will be a signing afterwards.
Online registration.


Saturday, August 17, 6:00 PM
Paul M. Smith – lawyer who in 2003 successfully argued the landmark gay-rights case will discuss the state of LGBTQ rights in America
Paul M. Smith is the Vice President, Litigation and Strategy, at the Campaign Legal Center, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that works to protect and strengthen the U.S. democratic process across all levels of government. He has more than three decades of experience litigating a wide range of cases. He has argued before the U.S. Supreme Court 21 times and secured numerous victories, including in important cases advancing civil liberties. Two examples are Lawrence v. Texas, the landmark gay rights case, and Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association, which established First Amendment rights of those who produce and sell video games.
In addition, Paul has argued a number of important voting rights cases at the Supreme Court, including Vieth v. Jubelirer, involving partisan gerrymandering, LULAC v. Perry, involving the legality of Texas’s mid-decade redrawing of congressional districts and Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, involving the constitutionality of a voter identification law. He will speak about the current state of LGBTQ rights in America.
Online registration.

Topical Seminars is a bi-monthly meeting of members of our community interested in participating in sessions of informed discourse on a variety of topics. The goal is to have a shared learning experience that will improve the social capital of our community.