Education | National

KVNO: Book shares struggle of Ponca Chief Standing Bear

"This year’s selection for One Book One Nebraska is a story of one of the earliest victories in the struggle for civil rights: a universal story of humanity and courage and a true story – one that took place right here in Nebraska.

“After a while, he turned to the bench and began to speak in a low voice, his words conveyed to the judge and the large crowd by the Omaha Indian poet Bright Eyes. That hand is not the color of yours, but if I pierce it, I shall feel pain. If you pierce your hand, you also feel pain. The blood that will flow from mine will be of the same color as yours. I am a man. The same God made us both.”

That’s an excerpt of I Am a Man: Chief Standing Bear’s Journey for Justice, written by Joe Starita, a professor in the College of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Starita is also a long-time reporter, who’s written Pulitzer Prize-nominated investigative stories. He recently read from his book at the Omaha Public Library in Florence, just a few miles from where much of his story takes place.

“It’s a home grown story that has almost this mythological arc to it,” Starita said. “It’s the classic story of the hero triumphing over all of these obstacles and in the end winning a moral victory against overwhelming forces.”"

Get the Story:
An early civil rights story, set in Nebraska (KVNO 2/27)

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