LARNED — The Larned Correctional Mental Health Facility had the honor and privilege of hearing Gretchen Eick, who gave presentations to both staff and inmates in recognition of the Civil Rights Movement recently at the facility.
Eick’s educational presentation, Celebrating the Civil Rights Movement – 50 years ago and what it teaches us, began with Martin Luther King’s Six Principals of Nonviolence.
She spoke of the importance freedom songs were to the movement; the songs were often sung during protests or marches related to the movement.
Eick spoke of the first successful student led sit-in in the U.S., which happened in Wichita during 1958, where students, aged 15-21, spent months preparing for the sit-in which occurred at the Dockum Drug Store and lasted three weeks.
She shared interesting facts on how Kansas was involved during the Civil Rights Movement. The presentation ended with a recording of the freedom song, “Woke Up This Morning.”
Eick is the author of “Dissent in Wichita, The Civil Right Movement in the Midwest, 1954-72.”
She has received numerous awards and recognitions, including the Byron Caldwell Smith Book Prize, 2003; the William Rockhill Nelson Award for non-fiction given by the Writers Place and The Kansas City Star, 2003; and the Richard L. Wentworth Prize in American History, 2002.
Eick, a professor of history-Emeritus, at Friends University, and Fulbright Fellow, studied in West Africa at a university in Sierra Leone. She worked on Capitol Hill for 14 years as a director for National IMPACT, interreligious advocacy coalition from 1987-1991. She worked as a foreign and military policy advocate for the United Church of Christ Office for Church in Society from 1977-1987.